Facing Reality With Bobby & Whitney
Sister 2 Sister, July 2004
A Jamie Foster Brown Interview
When I arrived in Atlanta for an interview with Bobby Brown and his mother,
Carol Brown, uncertainty grew as I discovered that his mommy had been
hospitalized with chest pains and Bobby would be preoccupied with that
Although I had flown in at the last minute accompanied by
my own camera crew and assistants, I too was distressed about Moms illness.
She and I go way back.
Fortunately all was well enough as I soon learned from Bobby himself when he
and Whitney arrived for lunch at the Westin Hotel's Palm Restaurant in
Atlanta's upscale Buckhead section. The couple was smiling and in good
spirits. They also brought along Bobby's brother and manager Tommy, several
children and a camera crew of their own.
The cameras, microphones and crew were all a part
of the production team that was taping segments for Bobby's new reality
In the midst of what could have been a catastrophe, a
pleasant and downright fun-filled afternoon magically occurred as all the
production people worked in complete harmony and I sat down face to face
with the Princess of Pop Whitney Houston, and the original King of R&B Bobby
Brown. Let's talk and let's eat lobster.
Jamie: Ralph Tresvant told me that you, Bobby, are the kind of huy
that "if he's your friend he aint gonna let nobody mess with you". That's
the kind of thing that people don't know about you. And they don't know that
you really helped me re-launch my magazine by giving me that exclusive
interview back in 1995. (At the time, Bobby was being offered as much as 6
figures to talk, but he did S2S for free.) You're one of the few artists
that has asked, "How are you doing?" It's not just "me, me, me." They don't
Bobby: Well, I don't think they ever gonna understand. I'mma be more
complex now, I think. They ain't gonna be able to read me. For me, I don't
know whether I'mma snap or just remain pleasant. I'm in a great state of
mind right now. I'm happy/
Jamie: Why are you happy?
Bobby: I think mostly because I' not using anymore.
Jamie: When did you stop?
Bobby: I stopped maybe a year and a half ago. So it's been a long
Jamie: How did you just do that, Bobby?
Bobby: Just feeling unhappy. I'm the type of person that I need to
smile. I need to see people smile. So when I'm not smiling no more, i knew
something was wrong.
Jamie: This whole things about being bipolar, when did that start?
Bobby: I found that out maybe three, four years ago. When I checked
myself into Betty Ford, I was wondering what was wrong with me. I was trying
to figure out why was I going through these different changes. I mean, I
could be happy one moment and then the next minute, I'm like angry. Totally.
Full of fire and rage. And I didn't know what was wrong. I went to the
doctor and they talked to me and they did all these kinds of tests on my
brain and on my mental stability and they came up with the diagnosis that
I'm bipolar. When I was younger I was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit
Disorder), so I know that bipolar and ADD is basically the same thing.
Jamie: I want to know about Mom and the family. People just deal with
you and Whitney, but I wanna know about the support of your family. Tell me
about the Brown family. What's that family like?
Bobby: That family is crazy. We're all a bunch of nuts. We love to
laugh. Anytime we're together it's just a laugh at my mom, but for the most
part we're all supportive of each other. Unfortunately, I have sisters that
have had problems with addiction also.
And we're a proud family, so for one of us to get help and not the other,
it's strange. So all of us at one time are clean, you know - finally in one
year of our lives. In one year all of us became clean.
Jamie: How did you all start on drugs?
Bobby: Well, being from where we're from...
Jamie: In Boston? The projects?
Bobby: In Roxbury. The government put drugs into the inner cities a
long time ago around the year I was born in '69. That's all that's in the
'hood. I mean, you can't even walk outside your door without someone being
in the hallway smoking weed or drinking wine. It had nothing to do with our
parents. Our parents were great parents. They gave us everything we could
ever want and even more, but we just fell into traps where we wanted to be
popular.. My sisters wanted to be popular. I was always searching for
attention anyway. No matter what it was, I was searching for it.
Jamie: So when you were with New Edition, were you doing drugs then?
When you were 12, 13 years old?
Bobby: Well, when you smoke weed, you smoke weed.
Jamie: Around that time I think Ralph told me that you weren't
getting any money. Tell me about that time. I saw one contract where you all
got like 2 cents a record.
Bobby: But that's still a lot of money, 2 cents a record. We still
didn't see the money. It's just like, for us to do all that work and to be
at such a young age and for our government to allow us to work that way and
not make sure that we're financially straight by the time we're.... Like
just like any of these child actors, these young kids always get into
trouble and that's because the government, they don't look out for us.
Jamie: How would you say that we can avoid that now? For instance if
your children go into music, how would you protect them, Bobby? What would
you do to keep your kids from falling into drugs?
Bobby: My kids know better.
Jamie: What do you mean, they know better?
Bobby: 'Cause I will hurt on of them. That's just strictly for real.
My boys know that the first time I even hear of them, I'mma hurt 'em. I've
never hidden anything from my children. When I was smoking weed, I'd tell
them they gotta go downstairs 'cause Daddy's about to smoke. And they'd go
downstairs, you know? And that's basically how far it got. My kids take my
cigarettes and break 'em. They take the beer and pour it down the sink.
That's what really helped me to clean up my act. I talk straightforward to
them and they talk straightforward to me. They tell me what they don't want
to see me doing no more. And it helps. It helps for your kids to know
exactly what you're doing.
Jamie: Bobby Kris is like that?
Bobby: Oh, Bobbi Kris will tear you up! Like God says, "Out of the
mouths of babes."
Jamie: But you have always been a good father.
Bobby: I make sure they right. And I love them dearly. I love them so
Jamie: Tell me about Tommy. (Tommy is sitting next to Bobby in the
chair Whitney just left.)
Bobby: Tommy's a nut.
Jamie: He's your older brother.
Bobby: Yeah, my older brother. He's a throwback nut....one of them
old time nuts. One of them ones that'll wear a nylon sweat suit with some
dress shoes with white socks. He's the type that'll get up and walk out of
his house with pyjamas on and spend the whole day with just his pyjamas on
outside playing and doing everything that he has to do. You know, going to
the club with his pyjamas on. That's how crazy my brother is. He's been my
pain in the ass for many years, but you know everybody needs that person
that is not scared of them and that will kick you in a minute when he sees
you falling off track. He's that one that I can allow to grab my collar and
I won't fight him.
Jamie: Bobby, do you like to fight?
Bobby: I used to.
Tommy: We were both in the same boxing club.
Bobby: Tommy, you gotta get up. My wife sits there.
Tommy: I know. I was just sitting there, but I'm up now.
Bobby: Hey Tommy, go get Kris (Bobbi Kris, Whitney and Bobby's
Jamie: She's not gonna come?
Whitney: She's not in a public mood.
Bobby: She told my producers, "Call me when y'all wrap up."
Jamie: That's what she said? How old is Bobbi Kris?
Whitney: Eleven/ Can I tell you what she told Brandy when we were
doing Cinderella? Brandy said, "Krissy, you gotta sit so and so and so and
so." Krissy must've been 5. She said "Excuse me. You're not the boss of
anything. My mother is." (Laughing)
Jamie: (laughing) Where'd she get that from? Sounds like Whitney.
Bobby: Sounds just like her mother/
Jamie: You two are amazing. Bobby just did "Dateline". Why did you do
Bobby: I did "Dateline" because my mother wanted me to do "Dateline".
The one thing that bothered me about all the bad press that I've been
getting... I mean, I can take it, but it's really hard on her because she
raised a gentleman. The man that she raised is not what the public is
seeing, but I'm still the man she raised. I felt bad once I got out of jail.
I went straight back and I had promised my mother that....
Jamie: Tell me about jail. What is it like when you're in jail? How
do they treat you?
Bobby: Well, they treat me like any other inmate.
Jamie: They do? You're in with the population?
Jamie: How does the population treat you?
Bobby: Well, in jail you either survive or you don't.
Jamie: When I went to see Tupac in prison, they treated him like a
star. I mean, the population took care of him like a star. They were asking
for autographs. There was no danger.
Bobby: I didn't sign autographs, the whole time I was there because
the sheriff asked me not to. i was a trustee, so I was cleaning showers and
mopping floors and I was doing a lot of work that I had never done in my
life. I was stripping floors with the big machine, waxing floors.
Jamie: Did you feel like you are Bobby Brown and that you
didn't have to?
Bobby: No. That never entered my mind. My thing was this-as much as I
could do while I'm in here, it makes the time go by faster. It's better to
be able to get out of that cell and just do something 'cause the 24-hour
lock down, that's hell. It's like being in the bathroom for 24 hours.
Jamie: Were you reading?
Bobby: I was reading, writing, meditating.
Jamie: Were you wondering, "Why am I here?" or "How did I get here?"
Bobby: I knew why I was there. I know that there had been a little
bit of misunderstanding on the part of the government and myself. I'm still
not completely cured from being in prison.
Jamie: What does that mean cured? Mike Tyson told me you can't really
come back from something like that.
Bobby: Once I got out, every day I wanted to see the sun. I want to
Whitney: Here is Bobby Brown, who's never been told what to do, how
to do it, where to go- dealing with a situation that keeps him confined.
Bobby: And I'm not one that likes to be confined.
Whitney: And I prayed every night that he would just maintain his
Jamie: Were you able to go see him?
Whitney: It was difficult because we couldn't have contact except for
the last two times. And the glass is very difficult for me...
Jamie: You can't touch him.
Whitney: Oh my god!
Jamie: You know you two are amazing because after "Dateline"...
Bobby: Well, they chopped that interview up so bad.
Whitney: They chopped it up really badly.
Bobby: So bad. I was so hurt by that interview.
Whitney: I told you.
Bobby: They used this. I said this, "It's not like I got high like
this (hitting his fist in his hand repeatedly to signify "constantly")"...
Jamie:...meaning all the time?
Bobby: Get high, get high, get high, get high. It wasn't like I got
high like that. And they just chopped the first part off and it said, "I get
high, get high, get high, get high." So for me that's like a slap in the
face. And you're doing this for my mother? A week before Mother's Day? My
mother saw it. I still haven't talked to her about it. But I know how my
mother is. She knew that I was just doing it for her.
Jamie: Did Whitney want to do "Dateline" or did she say no?
Bobby: It really wasn't up to anybody else/
Jamie: People felt that you brought your mom onto "Dateline", but
your mom actually brought you onto "Dateline"?
Jamie: Are you all in marriage counselling now?
Bobby: Yes, we are.
Jamie: Really?! Because I was gonna pay for it if you all weren't.
Bobby: Oh no, we are. And we're doing really good. i think we're
having better times now than we've had in a long time.
Jamie: When did you all decide to go?
Bobby: After that night in December...after the cops were called.
Jamie: Now my understanding of that was that Whitney wanted you to
take your bipolar medicine and you didn't want to take it.
Bobby: I didn't want to take that
Wellbutrin. It's supposed to help you stop smoking.
Jamie: Why didn't you want to take it?
Bobby: Because it made me manic.
Jamie: I was told that you didn't want to be dependent on any kind of
drugs.. Is that what you said?
Bobby: Once I quit, I didn't want to have to keep taking pills every
day. I was trying to get myself off of the pills. Come to find out
Wellbutrin just got sued for lots of money because it made somebody commit
Jamie: What are you taking now?
Bobby: I'm taking Depakote. I take it everyday, once a day. It's a
pill that just relaxes me.
Jamie: With the counselling, do you go to it separate or together?
Jamie: Why did you all decide so late to do it? What is it? 10 years
Jamie: Which is amazing because you know I was at the wedding and
they were talking crap then (about how long it would last).
Whitney: Yeah. They gave us 6 minutes and we went 12 years.
Jamie: They were taking bets. They were eating your food and drinking
your champagne and taking bets about how long the marriage would last. But
anyway you showed them all up.
Bobby: I think I got the longest. I bet on us, too.
Whitney: We had our own bets. We won a lot of money.
Bobby: I was trying to marry my wife again this year. We're gonna try
to give a big ol' party again.
Jamie: I try to tell everybody about your parties. I said Whitney
gave him a birthday party and people were walking out with lobsters and Dom
Bobby: Cristal. They had Cristal.
Whitney: It was free and everything.
Bobby: Nobody knew about Cristal until our wedding. We had a bottle
on each table.
Jamie: I know you and Whitney are very playful. You used to tell me
that she would hit you.
Bobby: She still does.
Jamie: The slap boxing and stuff...Let me get this straight.
Bobby: Now wait a minute. She's good!
Jamie: I know she is, but wait. She was trying to just threaten you
with the 911?
Whitney: I was really trying to scare you, right? But they called
back and my niece picked up the phone and.... All they have is me saying,
"Yes ma'am, I'm at 92..." That's all they could play 'cause that's all they
have. They'd play more if I reported more. Of course they would.
Bobby: But this is all I'm saying. The police lady that was at the
house called me and said, "I need you to come back to the house." I'm
thinking my wife is playing. I'm on my way to the airport, so I'm thinking
my wife is joking; she just wants me to come back home. I'm like, "Yo, stop
playing." And I hang up the phone. Now I wanna see if they play that.
Jamie: (Bobby is perspiring and this interview is being filmed, so I
reach to wipe his brow.) You gon have to let me touch him this time,
Whitney: No you go 'head. Just don't be touching.....
Jamie: Because I have not touched him in so long!
Whitney: I know.
Jamie: Bobby, you used to tell me "Jamie, they treat me like a
statue. They think they can come up and pull on me." You told me (the
paparazzi) almost knocked Bobbi Kris out of your hand one time when she was
a little baby. And you're not the type of guy to let that happen.
Bobby: Uh huh. I protect my kids and my wife with everything that I
can possibly protect them with. Violence for me, hopefully, is gone out of
my life. But please don't push me to the brink- anybody.
Jamie: You all are locked in the house, in the sense that you like to
go out and have fun and stuff, but every time you go out something happens?
Whitney: Somebody wants to test you.
Bobby: And I'm not one for somebody testing me. She's not one for a
girl to come up....She's ghetto.
Whitney: I can be. The lady said last night, "Oh, she's crazier than
Bobby: She is the crazy one.
Whitney: That's right. I got a lot to protect, and my family....
Jamie: (To Whitney) You told me a long time ago, you said, "Jamie,
people are mad at me because I married a Black man, and I'm the American
Princess and I'm not supposed to marry a Black man."
Whitney: "I was supposed to do what Diana (Ross) did, do what Diahann
Carroll did... I was supposed to go that route, but I didn't because this is
my heart. That's my heart (pointing to Bobby).
Bobby: I just wooed her.
Jamie: Wait a minute! How did that happen? Everybody tells a
different story about how you all got together.
Whitney: I was going with Eddie (Murphy) at the time.
Bobby: Yeah, Eddie couldn't handle it.
Whitney: Noooo. Shut Up, Bobby. I saw Bobby at a "Soul Train Awards"
show.. I'll never forget it. I was sitting there and I had on Indian red.
It's like suede...
Bobby: Yep, you still have the outfit too.
Whitney: Yep, I do. I was sitting there and what impressed me about
Bobby was he was the one who came out and sang live. Everybody else
lip-synched. He comes onstage with an all-cream, jersey knit suit on and I
said, "He is fly." He and I clicked and you know what I said to myself? I
bet he's a good friend. I wanted to be his friend because I hadn't....
Jamie: You hadn't had one?
Whitney: Yeah. Even Eddie...
Jamie: I didn't think that you liked Eddie. I thought that was just
something they were trying to put together.
Whitney: Eddie and I dated for about two years.
Bobby: That's enough about Eddie.
Jamie: Don't be getting jealous! So what
happened after that?
Bobby: I took her.
Whitney: He was attentive.
Jamie: After the show, did you go back to see him?
Whitney: I went over there to see the Winans with my friends. He was
sitting in the front row with them. And as I walked over I was hugging them
so much that I was bumping him.
Bobby: She was bumping me up on purpose.
Whitney: I was not!
Bobby: Yes she was. You was trying to get me.
Whitney: I was trying to get the chick you
were sitting with.
Bobby: Yeah, I bet.
Whitney: I didnt care who the hell she was. I wanted his attention.
Jamie: Do you all talk about this in counselling? Because this is
good to remember what it was like.
Bobby: We more so try to remember all of the good things. There's a
lot more good times.
Whitney: We laugh about it now. We laugh. We have a good time.
Jamie: So Whitney, you were bumping up against him?
Whitney: Uh huh, and he turned around and I said, "Bobby, I'm so
sorry I'm hitting you in the head." He said, "As long as it's you it's
alright." And that was it. He had rap. He had game that I could not believe
for a young man. And me, I'm looking and dealing with these people and I'm
going, god, he's more real than they come. He's real.
Jamie: I thought Bobby was extremely protective. He's gonna protect
his wife and you needed that.
Whitney: Yes, I did.
Bobby: And still to this day.
Whitney: I come from a family of protectors. My brother protected me,
my father, my mother. I come from that, so when I felt his strength and him
saying, "Hey, I got this," that comfort soothed me. We kept it quiet for a
Jamie: Just like Janet and Jermaine. People don't understand it, but
I understand it because Jermaine is a man's man in the sense that....
Whitney: ...he lets her be herself.
Jamie: Right! He told me. "I don't have no problem living with my
momma." You know a lot of guys are like, I aint gon' be living with my
momma. He said, "I got a house; I still go over there and live with my
momma." He's very secure in who he is. I fight with people over Jermaine and
Bobby because they're different people. People don't understand.
Whitney: They don't get that relationship.
Jamie: But Bobby, you made it really hard with all that mess you were
getting into with Babyface. Why were you talking about Babyface? Babyface
came up to me and said, "What did I do to Bobby? Would you find out what I
did to him?" That's when you went on television and said the he didn't write
real songs. Were you on an up or down?
Bobby: I was on an up. I was feeling like Bobby. Basically I have no
problem with Babyface. He had a problem with me with the last recordings we
did.. The "Humping Around" recordings. He didn't want to be in the studio
with me while I was recording. And I was asking L.A. why he didn't want to
be in there. But I have no problems with anybody.
Whitney: Let me tell you something. You would sing the songs that he
wrote that he wanted to sing himself, but knew that only you could do it.
Whitney: I've heard this with my own ears. That's that bottom line.
Bobby: So he was just jealous of me?
Whitney: Just jealous.
Jamie: People want you back Bobby.
Bobby: I want to be back.
Jamie: You gotta know that. I know you want to be back because I saw
you out here New Year's Eve when you were with New Edition. (To Whitney)
There was something just pouring out of him. He had to stand out there on
that stage.. Whitney, you weren't there?
Whitney: I was busy. I was in Jersey with my daddy.
Jamie: Which is a good thing. You spent a week with him, right?
Whitney: At his gravesite; that's where I was. Daddy had passed
already and I hadn't been there since the funeral.
Jamie: But you spent a week with him before he passed and you all had
Whitney: Yes ma'am.
Jamie: That was a blessing.
Whitney: Yes. it was.
Jamie: And Bobby was there performing. What did it feel like onstage
that night with New Edition? And they knew you were gonna clown like that.
They love you.
Whitney: The funniest thing I heard was that he said, "Yo, we got
Will Downing here."
Bobby: I said, "You're lucky I didn't get here when Will Downing was
here. I would've took over his stage too." I don't know, man. Me and
performing just get along. I was like anticipating this day, this New Year's
Eve. Being onstage with them again... I thought we was gon' get like two
rehearsals before, but we didn't get a chance to rehearse. I think I got to
the rehearsal late and they had already left. But I thought I was gonna get
a chance to sing my songs. But I had a good time that night. I was feeling
so good. Sobriety to me, man, it's just been good to me.
Jamie: Whitney, people say that you go onstage all the time high.
Whitney: They are so wrong.
Bobby: It's too much energy in my body before I hit the stage... My
heart would bust if I was to get high and go onstage. I would lose my mind.
When I'm high I like being alone. I don't want nobody around me.
Jamie: And Whitney, how did you handle it when he just wanted to be
Whitney: I wouldn't. I just look at him.
Bobby: She's stayed there and watched me.
Whitney: No, I bring up points. "Bobby, do you remember when we...?"
Bobby: That's her time to ask me the questions that she's been
wanting to ask.
Whitney: He creates beats, he writes sometimes. When he's like that I
get his attention, so I say, "Bobby, do you know so and so and so and so?"
Jamie: He just said to me, "Look at my baby. Doesn't she look
beautiful?" I thought Whitney was a little teenager coming down the stairs.
I didn't know that was her.
Whitney: Well, one thing; at 40 that's a good thing. I'm so happy I'm
out of my 30's I don't know what to do.
Bobby: I'm not. I wanna get old but I wanna stay young.
Jamie: Okay, tell me about the reality show. (A film crew follows
Bobby everywhere. They are taping this interview.)
Bobby: The show is going really good. I wanted to do reality
television before reality television was even on. I used to tell my wife,
"They talk so much about us, why don't we just get some cameras and film out
Whitney: That was six, seven, eight years ago.
Bobby: ...and let's show ourselves how we are, I said, because we
have nothing to hide from the public.
Jamie: But you were hiding the drugs?
Whitney: It wasn't about hiding, it was a personal thing.
Bobby: It was a personal thing. Nobody needs to know....
Whitney: If I had gone onstage high, it would have been more
ridiculous than you would have ever imagined. That's why I won't ever do it.
I'd cancel a show before I go on because I can't give my all.
Jamie: How did you start, Whitney? Bobby told me how he started; he
was in the 'hood and stuff like that. Was it the pressure of the career?
Bobby: I didn't do coke in the 'hood.
Jamie: Not coke but marijuana
Bobby: Yeah, yeah.
Jamie: You did coke later?
Bobby: Later on in my life.
Whitney: I started in the 'hood.
Jamie: You did?
Whitney: Yeah, man. I'm what you call a functioning junkie.
Jamie: That's amazing because the way they put you out there, you had
to keep this (American Princess) persona the whole time.
Whitney: I was pressured by that. That's why you would never know.
Everybody was like, "What? Not her. Noooo."
Jamie: I know because you used to curse me ass out every
time I talked to you (Bobby laughing). Are you all good for each
Whitney: Yes ma'am.
Jamie: Were you good for each other in the beginning?
Whitney: Yes ma'am.
Jamie: But there's a different "good" now than it was before.
Whitney: It's stronger.
Bobby: That's the one thing I'm grateful for. I have a wife that I
continue to grow to love. In our relationship we still ain't been to the
peak. We still ain't got to the point where we know each other fully yet. I
think we know everything about each other; we can finish each others
sentences, (but) there's still room to grow.
Jamie: People feel that you asked for a divorce and that you all were
Whitney: You know how many times I've asked for a divorce? (Laughing)
Bobby: You know how many times we've both asked for a divorce? I mean
I've asked 6 or 7 times. She must've asked 20 times.
Jamie: So after you've asked for a divorce, how do you all get back
together? Who calls who? How do you apologize?
Whitney: We just be there.
Bobby: We just end up seeing each other again.
Jamie: But everybody can't do that. They'll be mad at each other for
days, for weeks. You all don't even last a day.
Whitney: Because it's silly....
Bobby: That's 'cause she want me! (laughing)
Jamie: Whitney, you said that you were pregnant... or people thought
you said you were pregnant...
Whitney: People didn't say shit about me being pregnant.
Jamie: Whitney, when you all were in Dimona (getting baptized),
people said, "Well look at her; she looks like she's crazy." And I said I
think she's listening to CeCe's album.
Whitney: It was John P.Kee. John P. will make you Holy Ghost crazy.
Jamie: Did it help you at all?
Whitney: It was part of my journey.
Jamie: Well I told people, "They're seeking something. Let them try
and find themselves."
Whitney: I only wish I could take them people like Michael, like
Kobe, Mary J. Blige...
Bobby: We've seen it and we've felt it. We know that God is real.
Right after we got out of the water it started raining salt tears.
Jamie: Are you gonna have another baby?
Whitney: We're working on it.
Jamie: Can y'all hurry up? Bobby, I wrote in this last issue that
Whitney only trusts you. Do you think that's true?
Bobby: I think that she trusts me, but mostly she trusts the fact
that I love God and that's important.
Whitney: I know no matter what, we'll make it through because he
protects me as best he can.
Jamie: Now you are feisty when people talk about your husband.
Whitney: Ooouu, ooouu, yes.
Jamie: And (Bobby) you said something about Whitney's family not
liking you on "Dateline". Has that changed?
Bobby: See that was taken out of context. He said, "Well what about
the people that say that you're not good for Whitney?" I said, "Well, as
long as her mother doesn't think so...." So he switched it to say, "Well,
who is it that dislikes you?" He made it seem like I was saying her mother
when it was "I love her mother." Me and her mother get along.
Whitney: My mother loves Bobby.
Jamie: What is it that you all have in common?
Bobby: I can say one; our love for God. Also, we love what we do.
We're both entertainers. There's nothing more she loves to do than sing.
There's nothing more I love to do than sing, and I'm learning how to sing
through her. She's learning how to dance through me.
Jamie: Well, what's happening with the career, Whitney? You're
performing now and then, right?
Whitney: Um hum.
Jamie: Bobby, why did you give up your career for the marriage? Why
was it necessary?
Bobby: It was necessary for me because for me being on the road all
those years (with) New Edition, the Bobby Brown "Don't Be Cruel" tour, the
"Humping Around" tour, the Bobby tour, I had spent so much time just
travelling, just being out there and living out of hotels that I haven't got
a chance to really understand myself, understand my ways, what don't I like?
I didn't know whether I like living in a house or whether I like living in
an apartment. So i was just trying to find out exactly what (I like)!
Jamie: And that was a good time to do that?
Bobby: Yes, 'cause I read in the Bible that once a man is married, he
should immediately leave his mother and cling to the bosom of his wife. So
for seven years of my marriage, that's what I had to do. I had to go by the
Book. I had to look in the Bible and say this is what God asks of me. So I
don't want to disappoint God in any way and I hope I haven't. So I took that
time to just pay attention to her and be there for her.
Whitney: Plus, we have enough money to live, off Okay? We're gonna
Jamie: But a lot of men would not be able to take a back seat to
their wife.. Especially Bobby, who loves the limelight...
Whitney: If they knew the encouragement that he gave me, the love,
the push. "Baby, come on. You got a hit record out now. Let's do this shit."
He is a business kind of man when it comes down to performance. It wasn't
personal. We had our fights and arguments but we got over that. But it was
about business. So he took and supported me and my child 'cause I was
quitting on the film...
Jamie: Yeah, it was too much for you at the time. Weren't you
Whitney: I got pregnant...
Jamie: She was doing the film, she had to do the photo shoots, the
Whitney:..and the album and the whole thing. I went in the room and I
said, Bobby, I'm quitting today. I cried. I said Bobby I can't do it. I
said, "It's not like my music, I get on stage, I do my thing, I'm going
home. (But) This everyday thing, the Hollywood positions, this one wants
this from me, that one...I just can't handle it." He said, "You gonna do it
because God have you the (chance) to do it. You gonna do this thing."
Jamie: Bobby, they said you got jealous because she was kissing Kevin
Bobby: Oh, I get jealous when she's kissing my son (laughing). You
know I beat up Mickey Mouse at Disney World?
Whitney: He did. Mickey hugged me and he got mad.
Bobby: We were acting silly. We were in Japan.
Jamie: What would you all not do again?
Bobby: I wouldn't have did the Stone Phillips interview.
Whitney: Isn't that something?
Bobby: I don't know. For me, it didn't do what I needed. For me to be
sober so long and for him to make that interview out to be like it was about
drugs...it wasn't. It was supposed to be about me being home, me coming
home, and he was supposed to show the good side of Bobby Brown. This is what
he was saying he wanted to do, and he thinks that I got a bad rap and this
and that. I don't know. I expected something different from the interview.
What did you think about the interview, Jamie?
Jamie: I didn't see the interview. I have to tell you that. I read a
transcript of it (Classic Whitney I Bet). Because I didn't see the gestures
and how he was delivering it, I thought that the sincerity came out, and I
think that's the most important thing. He didn't have to do it. He didn't
have a project out. He wasn't trying to promote himself with anything. The
sincerity came out. So that was really good. What happened with you are
Wendy Williams, Whitney? Why did they put you on the air with her?
Whitney: Wendy spins my records in New York. She's the DK who spins
my records the most. She was on my caller list. She didn't think I was going
to call her, but I did because I wanted to speak
to her and thank her for spinning my records. I got into this conversation
with her, and I wasn't quite sure if she would be ready for me or not but I
talked. And the thing that I wanted to relay to her was that my parents were
off limits. She said my father and my mother had been cut off, which is
untrue. My father was in a hospital room for $2,000 a week, which I took
care of. I thought it was very disrespectful for Wendy to say anything about
my mother and father. So when you get to my family and you heat me up, then
I'mma fight you. I wanna all out fuckin'
girl-fight but we didn't do that and I said, well let me call her.
Jamie: Oh, she said that on the radio?
Whitney: Yes! I had fired staff people because I didn't need them
anymore and she thought it included my mother and father, but it doesn't. It
doesn't include my parents. I need my mother and father. My father was very
ill at the time and I kinda got sick of the shit. Wendy talks all the time.
Me and Bobby, this and that, blah. blah, blah... You can talk about me but
don't talk about my mother, my father and my baby, because I might come
visit you. And that's the real deal. We can take this to the streets. So
what I told her is don't do that anymore. It's disrespectful. Do I talk
about you or how mean you are? If you talk about people, you talk about them
in the context of what they are and what they do, you don't talk about them!
You talk of them. There's a difference. She talks about the,. About my
father. About my mother. About my husband. About me. About my daughter.
That's no joke cause my daughter gotta go to school.
Jamie: That's what I was going to ask you. How is this affecting her?
Whitney: I'm this kind of mother: when Krissy has to go back to
school I got a list of all the parents. I found a lady who knows all the
parents and I said what do they do? Krissy had a clip (that said) "Your
mother's a pill taking so and so and your father's a so and so and your
grandmother's a so and so..." That's unfair. I'm on TV every day! They (try)
to get a level over you. So what I did was I went to the PTA and I found out
things about their mother and father so she can say "Well I know your mother
does so and so and so and so." So back off my daughter. A long time she had
that confrontation, and that was it.
Jamie: How is it that Bobby helps his kids in school?
Whitney: Their mother is Kimmy and I commend Kim on a lot of things
because she pretexts the children.
Jamie: Do you see the oldest baby, Landon?
Whitney: I haven't seen Landon in a long time. I talked to him...he's
doing records now. The boy's got a voice. I heard some stuff and he's really
Jamie: He's beautiful. He's tall. He asked me, when I was at the
"Soul Train Awards," if Bobby was coming out there.
Whitney: Not this time, maybe next year. When they honor him, which
they should do...him and New Edition.
Jamie: Are they gonna honor him?
Whitney: They should! They should.
Jamie: Is Mommy out of surgery yet? I wanna see her.
Whitney: She needs to rest.
Jamie: Bobby, the family as gone through a lot. Tommy knows. I've
been calling about it because its about 8 or 9 people in the last 2 years
(that have passed) .
Whitney: We've had 7 deaths in like 6 months.
Jamie: And Papa, with his fine self, daddy Houston. Is there anything
else that you wanna say?
Bobby: I just want people to understand that we're human and we make
mistakes. We're not exempt from God's love. As long as we keep getting up. I
don't wish anybody to think that I'm not going to, one day, pick up a drink.
Jamie: Bobby, do you drink now?
Bobby: Yes I do. I drink beer every now and then.
Jamie: Whitney, what's happening with your career? Are you going back
into the studio soon or what?
Whitney: Clive (Davis) is back (at Whitney's record label, Arista) .
It's not what's happening with my career. It's what's happening with them.
I've been at Arista. I haven't left. I haven't changed. I haven't done
anything. It's them who have to decide what they're gonna do. At this point
I can take a check and leave.
Bobby: At this point, I think with my wife's career... If she doesn't
mind me speaking on it.
Whitney: Go 'head, baby.
Bobby: I think right now, Whitney can do anything as long as it's
good work.. I'm expecting to do a movie with her and just show the bad girl
in her. You gotta show the tough side of her. Then they'll be able to
understand our relationship a lot better because the only way for them to
really accept us as "The Married Black Couple" of the decade is if they see
us the way we are. I think the show that we're doing right now, "My
Reality", will show that our relatiohship is a lot deeper and a lot tighter
than people think.
Jamie: People say that Bobby doesn't have money, that Whitney is the
one who pays for everything. But she just finished telling me how you
Whitney: Forget about the stigma of America. Forget about where you were
raised at. He's for me. I'm for him. It doesn't matter. When you take that
vow, you're one. I don't care what it is, it doesn't matter. It's ours.
Bobby: I think I've sold enough records to have taken that long off.
Whitney: We took 8 years. You think you can take 8 years without
being broke, without any income? We took 8 years off to raise our children
and to get to know each other better.
Jamie: Did you close down your office because you didn't need that?
Jamie: You weren't working as much during that time, right?
Jamie: When I ask you all questions like that, its to bring out a
mindset, if you will, because I've been married 35 years and there's a give
and take that people don't understand. They don't understand when they say
that Bobby is not working: he was working because he was working to keep his
wife. It was her time. One of the things that I have to tell men is that in
this Western Society, a lot of times, they don't let our men in the door.
They'll let the child in, the woman in, but the man is the last one. But the
thing is whoever gets in there first, you build. My husband builds me. My
husband quit his job.
Whitney: Would Sister 2 Sister be anything without the husband's
Jamie: Hell no. You know my husband's the managing editor, he does
the administration, I'm not there. Who's there to take care of the business?
He works harder than I do.
Whitney: He stayed for 8 years to make sure we maintained a healthy
life. It got tight for a minute because don't forget, it's a $100 million.
You don't get that $100 million off the top; and what the government takes
Bobby: We the government gotta give some money back. We work for this
country. I've sold so many records outside of this country. See, I've come
to find out that my wife and myself, we're like a franchise, we're like
McDonald's. People love to buy us.
Jamie: But, I think for Black men in particular, people are so hung
up on who's the breadwinner and everything, which is not really fair to
Whitney: Lemme tell you this, Jamie, it only aids in degrading our
men: Conquer and destroy. But we overcame.
Bobby: They can't take my pride and that's what they're mad about.
They can't keep me down no matter what they do to me. They put me in prison,
they put me in anywhere, I'm still gonna come out with my head up no matter
Whitney: I've learned something that Nelson Mandela told me. He said
"Every time they wanted to take us out and think
that we're weak, they'd come and get me or my wife. We'd be in the middle of
dinner and they'll snatch me out of my house. And when I was in prison, they
were sure 'nuff trying to get my wife at the same time so our children would
be left with nobody to maintain them." And that's what they do.
Jamie: Whitney, when you were in Israel and met with Prime Minister
Sharon, he wanted to shake your hand first (instead of Bobby's hand first).
How did that happen with Sharon, that you were there?
Whitney: We weren't even supposed to visit him.
Bobby: You know the funny thing about that? We were on a spiritual
Jamie: Did the press know that you were going there?
Bobby: Us staying over there was to show the world that no matter
what we see on television, that aint what it is. Because we went over there
and they were trying to say that it was war and this was going on. (but) I
didn't see none of that. It was the most pleasant country you want to be in.
Whitney: It was so peaceful and so kind to us.
Jamie: That's really interesting. Bobby was was telling me the
"Dateline" special was such a disappointment. How do you feel when you try
to show what you were trying to show in Dimona and it comes out like a joke?
Whitney: And people make a mockery of it? They have to deal with God.
Bobby: They will have to answer to God on that one because the truth
is the truth. God knows what we were there for.
Whitney: You do not mock God. They do and they're gonna pay for it.
Jamie: What do you want God to say to you when you go meet Him?
Whitney: I wanna hear, "Good and faithful servant, well done."
Bobby: Same thing. I just wanna know that I've done right by Him with
anything that I've done. I've lived.
Jamie: How did you get into detox Whitney?
Whitney: My sister Bethy (Bobby's blood sister), before she died,
told me if you ever need help, I'm gonna give this number to you because one
day you gonna need it. And I did.
Jamie: When did you call the program, before Bobby went to jail?
Whitney: It was during that time. I just couldn't take anymore and I
was going overboard. I knew it. My mother came in there and said, "Girl, I'm
not gonna go to your funeral. You gonna do something or I'm gonna do
something.." And she threatened me with my daughter.
Jamie: She said she was gonna take Bobby Kristina?
Whitney: For sure.
Bobby: I was in jail.
Whitney: That wasn't gonna happen if he was here, but the bottom line
is her tactic. It was that she was gonna (take her). I asked her and she
said , "Hell no. I wouldn't do that to y'all. I don't want nobody to do that
to me. I wanted you to realize that it was that serious."
Jamie: What would happen if you or Whitney would go out of each
others life? Who in the world do you all think that you could be with?
Bobby: We discussed that the other night.
Whitney: Nobody could deal with us after each other 'cause all they
would hear about is me or him.
Jamie: Kind of amazing that you all stayed together. A lot of people
could not go through the turmoil that you all have. Because everything you
all do is done in public.
Bobby: So it seems.
Whitney: My aunt put it best: "I don't care what y'all did, y'all did
it together. Good, bad or different, you did it together." She called us
Bogey and Bacall-Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Jamie: When you see pictures of you that are not flattering, do you
look at them?
Bobby: We try not to. For the most part I
know I look better than most of the pictures that they show of me. But it
doesn't bother me that they show me in that light because once people see
me, "Oh, you look a lot better in person!" So, I like the bad pictures
sometimes. That's what makes me look better in person.
Jamie: They had pictures of Whitney when you were pregnant at your
Whitney: I didn't mind. The sneak attacks were ones I minded because
they weren't honest. Like a man jumped out behind the door. I was in labor,
girl, and the dude jumped out behind us, snapped me and ran out.
Jamie: How many children do you have, Bobby?
Bobby: Four children. The kids are amazing. My daughter LaPrincia is
just so sweet. She's the dainty one. She keeps her nails done and she's the
one who likes her hair done all the time. Krissy's the fighter.
Whitney: You see her now, she'll be like "What?" Let me give you an
example. You're gonna laugh at this. A girl had met me and Bobby at this
place, and after she left she starting talking about me. But she didn't know
my daughter was standing outside. Krissy goes, "You know, you a bitch." She
came back and told me, "Mommy. I saw me a bitch outside." I said, "You did?"
She said, "She was talking about you, so I called her a bitch." I said,
Bobby: I don't know where she got that from. See my daughter cursed
one time in front of me and just cried and cried and cried. I said what's
wrong baby girl? She said, "Daddy, I keep saying damn!" And I mean this
little girl just went crazy!
Whitney: One time we were having some spaghetti (laughing) . I was in
recovery and I was cooking because Krissy was in recovery with me.
Jamie: How did she do it with you?
Whitney: Because for women, it reunites you with your children. That
is the motive that keeps mothers clean. It's the motivation that if you look
at your child and you see your child as a meter, it keeps most women clean.
Jamie: So the baby went in with you?
Whitney: For 30 days.
Jamie: She wasn't in the detox, was she?
Whitney: No, I did that on my own.
Jamie: How rough was that?
Whitney: That was rough. The last night, I was like "I'm leaving!" My
mother said, "Sit yo' ass down. You ain't going nowhere. You gonna finish
this.. You only got one more night." And she fought with me.
Jamie: What did they do during the day? Do they talk to you to keep
Whitney: They talk to you. I have a physician who's a psychiatrist
and he talked to me during that day and he was telling me what I was
experiencing. I had no idea but each day he would tell me what I was going
through. I was shaking. And he was telling me what I was experiencing from a
day-to-day basis. Then he'd tell me what the actual drug would do to my mind
and that scared me.
Jamie: You didn't want to go to a prissy place?
Whitney: Nah. I got this from the street.
Jamie: So you had to go back to the street.
Whitney: This wasn't no high society shit. I learned by the streets
where I grew up.
Jamie: And people were saying that you (Bobby) were trying to get her
out of rehab?
Whitney: He was all for it. He was never against that. That's
ridiculous. Bobby was like, "Do this thing." He was in prison. I cried so
hard. I said, "I don't think I can do it without you." He said, "You can do
Bobby: I was coming home the next week.
Jamie: So when you came home did you see a difference in her?
Jamie: What was that like?
Bobby: It was beautiful.
Jamie: Did you see a difference in him, Whitney?
Whitney: I did. I thank God I had taken time with my husband, just
him and God alone... to get Bobby to stand still for a moment is hard, but
God made him stand still just so He could talk to him.
Jamie: That's interesting you said to get Bobby to stand still,
because he was talking about the ADD.
Whitney: Every time I would say Bobby. why didn't you listen to me?
He would say, "I have Attention Deficit Disorder." (laughing)
Jamie: Well, you're going to be alright. When is the reality show
Bobby: This summer.
Jamie: Has it been picked up by anybody?
Bobby: Well, we just turned down ABC, Showtime just placed an order,
VH-1 just did an order...
Jamie: You turned down ABC? Doesn't ABC pay more?
Bobby: They wasn't trying to pay us.
Whitney: ABC/Disney, you know? Maybe we're just a little too heavy,
which we expected.
Jamie: What about the singing?
Whitney: I'm working out my contract now.
Bobby: I'm working out her new contract so she'll be recording soon,
but as far as me, my album is done. It's been done. I'm just waiting to
release it. It's a lot of great material.
Scans of the print interview
Sister 2 Sister - Part 1
Sister 2 Sister - Part 2
Sister 2 Sister - Part 3
Sister 2 Sister - Part 4
Sister 2 Sister - Part 5
Sister 2 Sister - Part 6
Sister 2 Sister - Part 7
Sister 2 Sister - Part 8
Sister 2 Sister - Part 9
Sister 2 Sister - Part 10
Sister 2 Sister - Part 11
Sister 2 Sister - Part 12
Sister 2 Sister - Part 13
Sister 2 Sister - Part 14
5 JUNE 2004