Whitney Houston's Words: 20 Memorable Quotes From the Late Pop Icon

Late R&B star gave several revealing interviews during her career.

Feb. 15, 2012 — -- intro: Her music made her immortal, but her words made her human.

Over the years, Whitney Houston gave several revealing interviews, offering a glimpse of both her boundless ambition and her personal demons. Scroll through to read some of her most memorable quotes.

Watch "One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston," a two-hour "20/20" special, Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

quicklist: 1 url: title: 'I Am Not a Person Who Wants to Die'

text: "I can tell you that I am not self-destructive. I'm not a person who wants to die. I'm a person who has life, who wants to live. And I always have. And I wouldn't mistake it for anything else other than that."

-- interview with Diane Sawyer, "Primetime," 2002

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quicklist: 2 url: title: Houston's Other Career Aspirations

text: "I wanted to be a teacher. I love children, so I wanted to deal with children. Then I wanted to be a veterinarian. But by the age of 10 or 11, when I opened my mouth and said, 'Oh God, what's this?' I kind of knew teaching and being a veterinarian were going to have to wait. What's in your soul is in your soul."

-- Rolling Stone, 1993

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quicklist: 3 url: title: Being a Lonely Child

text: ''In grammar school some of the girls had problems with me. My face was too light. My hair was too long. It was the black-consciousness period, and I felt really bad. I finally faced the fact that it isn't a crime not having friends. Being alone means you have fewer problems. When I decided to be a singer, my mother warned me I'd be alone a lot. Basically we all are. Loneliness comes with life."

-- Time Magazine, 1987

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quicklist: 4 url: title: Her Strict Upbringing

text: "Cracking gum or sitting with your legs open were considered unacceptable ... and I'd better not come back from the yard with scratched knees."

-- Time Magazine, 1987

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quicklist: 5 url: title: Her Candid Relationship With Her Mother

text: "You learn, you grow up, and you become your own woman. But we're still very close. When other people are talking s**t to my ear, I know my mother won't blow smoke up my a**, and I know she'll tell me the truth. She's honest with me."

-- Rolling Stone, 1993

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quicklist: 6 url: title: Her Solo Singing Debut in Church at Age 11

text: "I was scared to death... I was aware of people staring at me. No one moved. They seemed almost in a trance. I just stared at the clock in the center of the church. When I finished, eveyone clapped and started crying. From then on, I knew God had blessed me."

-- Time Magazine, 1987

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quicklist: 7 url: title: Her Love of Being Photographed

text: "From the beginning, the camera and I were great friends. I know the eye of the camera is on me -- eye to eye. It loves me, and I love it."

-- Time Magazine, 1987

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quicklist: 8 url: title: Her Relationship With Music Executive Clive Davis

text: "[C]ritics would say that Clive told me what to do and how to do it, because that's all bulls**t. I don't like it when they see me as this little person who doesn't know what to do with herself -- like I have no idea what I want, like I'm just a puppet and Clive's got the strings. That's bullsh*t. That's demeaning to me, because that ain't how it is, and it never was. And never will be. I wouldn't be with anybody who didn't respect my opinion. Nobody makes me do anything I don't want to do... Clive and I work well together... We get on each other's nerves sometimes, but we've been together 10 years now. Anybody can get on anybody's nerves over that long a time."

-- Rolling Stone, 1993

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quicklist: 9 url: title: On Persistent Rumors of a Lesbian Relationship With Friend Robyn Crawford

text: "I am so tired of this. I'm really sick of it... You mean to tell me that if I have a woman friend, I have to have a lesbian relationship with her? That's bullsh*t. There are so many, many female artists who have women as their confidantes, and nobody questions that. So I realize that it's like, 'Whitney Houston -- she's popular, let's f**k with her.' I have denied it over and over again, and nobody's accepted it. Or the media hasn't."

-- Rolling Stone, 1993

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quicklist: 10 url: title: Responding to Criticism of Marriage to Bobby Brown

text: "I'm like an American princess. White America wanted me to marry someone white. They don't understand why I'd want a strong black man."

-- As told by Sister 2 Sister publisher Jamie Foster Brown to Redbook Magazine, 1996

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quicklist: 11 url: title: On Bobby Brown's Alleged Womanizing, 1993

text: "I don't think that my husband womanized anybody, because I know that if he wanted them, they definitely wanted him, you know. I don't think, you know, it was about womanizing. I think boys will be boys, and they have their fun and they play. When they really become smart and they find a good woman, they marry her. And that's what he did."

-- interview with Barbara Walters, 1993

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quicklist: 12 url: title: Her Miscarriage

text: "I had a miscarriage during the filming of 'The Bodyguard.' It was very painful, emotionally and physically... I was back on the set the next day. And it's over. But I had Bobbi Kristina one year later, and I am blessed."

-- interview with Barbara Walters, 1993

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quicklist: 13 url: title: Her Opinion of the Media

text: "They're devils to me ... and they're out to eat my flesh."

-- Redbook Magazine, 1996

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quicklist: 14 url: title: On Becoming a Rebel

text: "My business is sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. You know? I mean, my friends, we have a good time. But as you get older, you get wiser. You know? You stop a lot of the kid stuff. I had no time to grow up, had no time to party. I didn't even date in my, date in my 20s. It was rough... I think I kind of reverted back as I got older. And I said, 'Well, I'm just gonna party, you know?' It was kind of a rebel in me, you know?"

-- interview with Diane Sawyer, "Primetime," 2002

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quicklist: 15 url: title: On Drug Use, 2002

text: "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."

-- interview with Diane Sawyer, "Primetime," 2002

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quicklist: 16 url: title: On Drug Use During Her Marriage, 2009

text: "There were some times we'd laugh our tails off. We had a ball. Sometimes you do have a good time. But when it gets to the point where you're sitting in your home and you're just trying to cover what you don't want people to know. It's painful. And then you want more just so that you don't let anybody see you cry. Or anybody to see we're not happy."

-- interview with Oprah Winfrey, 2009, oprah.com

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quicklist: 17 url: title: Her Fear of Facing Michael Jackson's Fate: 'This Can't Happen (to) Both of Us'

text: "I have so many good memories of spending time with him. I've known his family for so many years. For at least 20. I thought: 'This can't be true. This can't be true.' I knew he was on painkillers at one time. I didn't know how far and how deep it was. I just remember doing the anniversary special, the 30th anniversary, and I remember looking at Michael ... and then looking at myself going: 'No, I don't want this to be like this. This can't happen. Not both of us.'"

-- interview with Oprah Winfrey, 2009, oprah.com

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quicklist: 18 url: title: Her Escapist Fantasy With Her Daughter

text: Houston said she considered, "(g)rowing organic fruit with my daughter on a little island on the beach and everything, living the simple life. You have to understand, I have been all around the world ... and I'd done it all at that point in time, or I thought. However, I wasn't remembering the gift that God had given me. I had totally put all that aside. And my daughter was growing up before my eyes, and I just wanted to grab hold of that."

-- interview with Oprah Winfrey, 2009, oprah.com

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quicklist: 19 url: title: On the End of Her Marriage and Bobby Brown's Alleged Infidelity

text: "I just knew. I was like, 'You don't smell right. You don't look right. Something's going on.' And then all this other stuff started coming out about him being with this one or that one or being too promiscuous. Dragging dirt into my home... We had a big, big giant portrait of me and him and my child. He cut my head off the picture. Stuff like that. And I thought, 'This is really strange.' So I figured, cutting my head off a picture, that was a little much for me."

-- interview with Oprah Winfrey, 2009, oprah.com

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quicklist: 20 url: title: 'The Biggest Devil Is Me'

text: "Nobody makes me do anything I don't want to do. It's my decision. So the biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy. And that's how I have to deal with it."

-- interview with Diane Sawyer, "Primetime," 2002

Watch "One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston," a two-hour "20/20" special, Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

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