Oprah Winfrey Told Whitney Houston Fans Were ‘Disgusted’ By Her

During an interview with Whitney Houston, Oprah Winfrey discussed a Los Angeles Times article about her music. The article said fans were disgusted by the way Houston’s career evolved. Here’s how Houston responded to this.

Whitney Houston | Steve Rapport/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey quoted a negative review to Whitney Houston

In 2009, Houston released I Look to You, her first album since 2002’s Just Whitney. Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times wrote a review of I Look to You. She said that Houston had an amazing voice but her drug use caused it to lose some of its beauty. However, Powers also noted Houston’s vocal prowess would have diminished with age anyway, even if Houston never used drugs. In addition, Powers said I Look to You didn’t hold up to the music of Houston’s glory days.

According to Oprah.com, Oprah quoted part of the article during her interview with Houston. “There’s a wonderful quote by the L.A. Times,” Oprah said. “They said, ‘The pain, and frankly, disgust that so many pop fans felt during Houston’s decline was caused not so much by her personal distress as by her seemingly careless treatment of the national treasure that happened to reside within her.’”

Oprah said Houston wasn’t like other singers. “You really were given the voice,” she opined. “You were given that treasure. And people felt, how could you not know that that was to be treasured?”

“I Will Always Love You”

How Whitney Houston responded

Houston responded to this by discussing how her fame meant that every aspect of her life now belonged to the world. “When I became ‘Whitney Houston’ and all this other stuff that happened, my life became the world’s,” she said. “My privacy. My business. Who I was with. Who I married. And I was, like, that’s not fair. I wanted to go to the park. I wanted to walk down the street with my husband, hand in hand, without somebody looking at us or having the media always in my business.” Houston wanted just to be normal.

How the public reacted to ‘I Look to You’

Powers said that I Look to You failed to live up to Houston’s previous efforts. This raises questions about how the album performed with the public. I Look to You reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It charted just as highly as some of her previous albums such as Whitney, Whitney Houston, and The Bodyguard

“I Look to You”

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On the other hand, the singles from I Look to You were not nearly as successful. The first single from the album, its title track, only reached No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100. I Look to You‘s second single from the album, “Million Dollar Bill,” reached No. 100 on the same chart. These songs were not nearly as successful as previous Houston hits like “How Will I Know” and “I Will Always Love You.” Houston said she belonged to the world — but the world didn’t always appreciate her work.