Did Whitney Houston Blow Her Fortune Before Death?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eleven number one hits, six Grammy awards and now with her death.

Whitney Houston’s songs have suddenly become big sellers again and sources say Sony Music executives will meet this week to decide how to market her music.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston’s Life Remembered | NJ Remembers Whitney

Houston’s extraordinary voice sold 200 million albums and singles — making her one of the most successful singers of all time.

Yet just before her death, tabloids declared Houston was flat broke and was asking friends for handouts. Her representatives denied she had blown her fortune. The singer had signed a $100 million record deal in 2001.

“We know she made a boatload of money while she was alive. She earned probably a quarter of a billion dollars,” Forbes magazine’s Zack O’Malley Greenburg said. “Whether or not she actually died broke still is kind of being sorted out.”

Six years ago, Houston’s New Jersey mansion was nearly foreclosed on when she failed to pay property taxes. She has admitted to spending lavishly on drugs and partying in the past decade.

“My business is sex, drugs and rock and roll. My friends…we have a good time,” Houston once told ABC’s “Primetime.”

After Houston’s death Saturday, her Greatest Hits album shot to number one on Amazon and her most famous song, “I Will Always Love You,” was the top download on iTunes.

Houston’s estate is expected to take in about $10 million this year. However, since she didn’t write or own her songs, the bulk of royalties go to the songwriter and the publisher. They get about 8 cents every time one of their songs is played on the radio.

Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” in 1973 and has made a fortune on it ever since.

The late Michael Jackson co-wrote and owned most of his music. Just last year, his estate took in $170 million.

“Whitney Houston’s estate is not going to approach Michael Jackson’s estate in terms of postmortem earnings,” said Greenburg. “She didn’t accumulate the kind of assets during her career that Michael Jackson did.”

Last fall, Houston starred in the remake of the film “Sparkle.” It is set to be released in August. Houston recorded two songs for the film — which were her final performances.

  • RoyBoySays

    Millions of dollars worth of cocaine/crack went right up her nose,now her kid is a broke substance abuser herself……………..

  • eric rodriguez

    IT is sad that u are not longer with us in earth but your memories will always lived in our hearts my sweet angel…finnally u are with our lord jesus christ our creator in heaven let heaven be a very nice and loving place for u lovely princess may god bless u every day and protect your baby girl bobbie kristina and bless your family as well too.

    R I P withney elizabeth houston.

  • rob

    she did the best she knew how. i think lots of disgrace sits with the industry.

  • sharon

    i wish all u haters shout the hell up! Does it really matter what she did and how she did it? She is gone now let her rest in peace, and furthermore she is not the first superstar to do drugs and she wont be the last, just think of all the stars who have not came out the closet with their drug use! What do you all have to say about that. Love to you Whitney Houston may you finally rest in peace!

  • JohnW9540

    Now there is something I never knew. Dolly Parton wrote the song?

  • Joanie Joy Thompson

    This is actually my first time saying something about Whitney. I will always love you Whitney. Please tell Michael Jackson I say hi. Please say hi to God for me. It appears that God rebaptize you again before you depart earth. I was seeing angels in a choir and a young lady walking in front. I thought it was me, but now I know that it was you Whitney. I know you find peace with God, because He already shows it to me. RIP nice angel. You are one in a million. No one would ever understand each person’s connection with God. Enjoy Heaven. The tour will be wonderful. The ship will allow a smooth ride. You will meet your other angels. Enjoy your perfect peace forever. See you later Whitney.

  • Chippy55

    I believe I just read that her daughter was photographed doing coke, some people can’t handle fame and the people in her life should be ashamed of themselves. She also almost had her house taken for not paying real estate taxes even after signing a $100 million contract in 2001, which is just staggering to most people.

  • Beverly Hills

    Whiteny…..we loved you…..RIP……

  • RIP Whitney Always Love U

    She wasn’t a philanthropist it seems. If she had invested the money in Africa, feeding the starving children, she might still be alive. All the drug dealers, enablers, and hanger ons really did her in this time. There’s a super hot place in hell for drug dealers.


    No she didn’t since she sang the songs, but she didn’t have the rights. She was a celeb and she lived large!!!. That said, those who were smiling/laughing all the way to the bank and continue to profit off of her death are the publishers, directors and writers.

    RIP.. WHITNEY……Thank you for the wonderful memories.

    • huh?

      did the publishers, directors and writers kill her? why are you blaming them?

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