This rare interview appeared on a "Primetime" special on Whitney Houston Dec. 4, 2002.
Diane Sawyer: You know that as we sit here and talk ...
Whitney Houston: Yeah.
Sawyer: Everybody watching this . . .
Sawyer: Is going to be staring at you, physically.
Sawyer: And they're going to be saying, how thin is she now?
Sawyer: How, how many bones can we see? Is she sick? And how sick is she?
Houston: I'm not sick, Diane. I am not sick. Let's get that straight. I'm not sick. Okay? I've always been a thin girl. I'm not going to be fat, ever. Let's get that straight. Whitney is not going to be fat, ever. Okay?
Sawyer: The Michael Jackson VH-1 appearance. I'm going to show you the picture.
Houston: Well, that's a bad shot.
Sawyer: Well, it may be a bad shot, but this is real. I mean, the, the bones. That's real.
Houston: Yeah, my bones, yeah. I'm, I'm 5'7" and thin. I can understand what you mean.
Sawyer: But that's not just thin.
Houston: No? What is it, Diane, tell me. Do you know?
Sawyer: It's scary thin.
Houston: I can believe what you, what you feel. I can believe that. But do you really know? Do you really know?
Sawyer: No, you know.
Houston: Thank you.
Houston: No way.
Sawyer: They've written it.
Houston: No way.
Houston: No way.
Sawyer: That it's because of drugs.
Houston: No. Mm mm. Now, I'll grant you, I partied. But there were times when I know I was going through a lot of emotional stress and my eating habits were awful.
Sawyer: Whitney dying, crack rehab fails.
Houston: First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. OK? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is whack.
Sawyer:Could you see the reaction on everybody's faces when you sang?
Houston: You know what I used to do, Diane? I would close my eyes like this, and I'd sing. I was so afraid when I'd sing. Then when I would open my eyes, the people would be what we call Holy Ghost fired out. They would be in such, spirit of praise, I think I knew then that it was an infectious thing that God had given me.
Houston: I'll never forget. I sang "Home," the song "Home."
'It Wasn't Always About the Drug'
Houston: No. It wasn't always about the drug. I would stay in my room for days, for days at times, just trying to get it together, to know what my next phase was going to be.
Sawyer: In the mid-'90s, you said "I feel old."
Houston: Yeah, like I've been through a world, a lifetime of stuff.
Sawyer: And that it just wasn't any fun anymore.
Houston: Mm mm. No. I enjoy what I do. I love to sing, but it's just not fun anymore.
Houston: People are different in the industry. It's about the money. It's about, get it fast.
Sawyer: Do you think you're not tough enough for this business?
Houston: Oh, I'm tough enough.
Sawyer: That was a quick answer.
Houston: I mean, I've lasted this long. You've got to be tough.
Sawyer: I want to ask you about the cancellations.
Houston: Did they tell you how many? Do you know how many? Look at my record, see the concerts I've done, and see how many I've canceled in the 17 years of my career, and add it up.
Sawyer: But when you read the articles and people talk as if you're just impossible, 'cause you may show, you may not show.
Houston: Not true. Not true. Not true. Not true.
Sawyer: But there's some high profile things you didn't show for.