Richard Young/Startraks, Peter Kramer/AP
Brian Orloff
September 14, 2009 05:55 PM

Jealousy and emotional abuse derailed Whitney Houston’s once-happy marriage to Bobby Brown, the R&B diva revealed during an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Telling the talk show host about her post-Bodyguard career highs, Houston says her then-husband couldn’t handle her success. “I think somewhere inside, something happens to a man when a woman has that much control or has that much fame,” the singer said during her much-hyped appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show that aired Monday. (Part two of the interview will air on Tuesday).

Asked if Brown was jealous of her, Houston, 46, told Winfrey, “he’s not going to like this, but yes.”

Tried to Make Him Happy

But Houston said she tried to play down her fame, referring to herself as “Mrs. Brown” and even agreeing to appear in the now-parodied Being Bobby Brown reality show to make him happy. “I did it for him,” Houston said. “How could you do a reality show – and I’m your wife – and not have [me] in it?”

Another reason for appearing on the show: Houston wanted to prove a skeptical public wrong – to show that their union was strong.

“I wasn’t happy with the marriage. I was losing it,” she said. “[But] I was determined to prove [my critics] all wrong.”

“After a while you start to lose the real concept of the love [we shared],” she continued. “I was trying to make a statement: ‘You guys aren’t going to win. We have a family and I’m just not going to let you do that to us.'”

Drugs & Abuse

More troubling, though, were Houston’s revelations that Brown was abusive. “Emotionally he was abusive,” she said. “Physically, no way. I was raised with two [brothers] and I would fight you back with anything I could find.”

While the R&B superstar said her ex-husband “slapped [her] once,” she retaliated and hit back. Houston also revealed that after The Bodyguard, she and Brown began to do more drugs – specifically cocaine and marijuana. “That’s it,” she said, adding, “He liked to drink.”

And when Brown would drink, she revealed, things would get particularly nasty. One extremely low point occurred on a night she threw him a birthday party in Atlanta.

“When we got back to the house,” Houston said, “he spit on me. He spit on me. He actually spit on me. And my daughter was coming down the stairs and she saw it. That was pretty intense. I didn’t grow up with that and I didn’t understand why that occurred – [why] he had such a hate for me because I loved him so much.”

Downward Spiral

She continued to love him, she says, even as he was unfaithful. “Holy matrimony was a very serious thing for me. I was going to keep my vow. I never cheated,” she says. “The only thing I did was the drugs. . . . He was too promiscuous, dragging dirt into my home. It disturbed me.”

Her drugs of choice were marijuana and rock cocaine. “I was trying to hide the pain,” she says.

Along the way, Houston says, she gave up on her career. “I had totally forgotten about that life,” she says. “I had so much money by that point. I wasn’t thinking about any of that.”

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