This article originally appeared Dec. 4, 2002, as part of a "Primetime" special on Whitney Houston.
After years of mysterious cancellations and erratic behavior, Whitney Houston has admitted using drugs, but says the problem is in the past.
In a rare interview, Houston told Primetime's Diane Sawyer that she has used alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs at different points during her career.
"I partied a lot. Trust me: I partied my tail off," she said, adding, "You get to a point where you know the party's over."
When the singer made a guest appearance at a Michael Jackson tribute concert last year, her bone-thin appearance and unsteady stance provoked audible gasps from the audience, and raised questions about her health. When she failed to show up for a second performance three days later, there were rumors that she was dying — and even that she was dead.
But the days of her self-destructive behavior are over now, she says. "That was a moment in time that happened to me, that I was going through, that I'm over. I'm beyond it. It's past. It's done," she told Sawyer.
Houston said the rumors about her health were wrong. "I am not sick," she said. "Let's get that straight. I am not sick, OK? I've always been a thin girl. I am not going to be fat, ever."
She denied having anorexia or bulimia, but admitted that she sometimes has difficulty eating. "If my nerves are bad, and if I have an emotional stress going on in my life, it's very hard for me to eat and stomach things," she said.
Houston faced a drug possession charge in January 2000 after an airport guard in Hawaii allegedly found marijuana in her handbag, but the charge was later dismissed. In the Primetime interview, she firmly denied tabloid reports that she had used crack cocaine.
"Crack is cheap. I make too much for me to ever smoke crack," she said. "Let's get that straight, OK? I don't do crack. I don't do that. Crack is whack."
‘I Won’t Break’
Today, Houston says, she is determined not to let drugs become a problem in her life again. Asked whether she can control her drug problem now, she said: "I'm not as excited any more about it. … It was new, I partied, and it's done."
And when asked whether she will completely stay off drugs, she said, "Well, I'm not going to tell you that," but added that she is not self-destructive and does not want to die.
"I'm a person who has life, and wants to live," she said. She said she prays every day that she will have the strength to keep off drugs. "I won't break."
In Atlanta — where she lives with her husband, R&B singer Bobby Brown, and their 9-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina — Houston said she is surrounded by a group of "prayer partners," people she thinks of as her form of rehab. One of the most important is Perri Nixon, a friend who is now her pastor, and who she says has taken her "by the hand on a spiritual journey to get back home."
Not too long ago, many wondered if Houston's career and her personal health were in jeopardy. The second Jackson concert was the latest in a string of last-minute no-shows by Houston. In the spring of 2000, organizers canceled her appearance at the Academy Awards, and a few weeks later she failed to show up at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to help induct her mentor and longtime producer, Clive Davis of Arista Records.