Whitney Houston, who died in February 2012, would have turned 50 on Aug. 9. Join us in remembering the legendary singer with a look at her through the years.
November 1981: Before she focused on becoming a professional singer, Houston, born Aug. 9, 1963, in Newark, N.J., was an aspiring model. At the age of 17, she became one of the first black models to grace the cover of Seventeen magazine. She also appeared in the pages of Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Young Miss, and in a commercial for Canada Dry ginger ale, literally singing the praises of the drink.
Feb. 14, 1985: Houston burst onto the scene with the release of her self-titled debut album. The album eventually topped the Billboard 200 chart for 14 weeks and produced the smash singles "Saving All My Love," "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love of All," all three of which hit No. 1, making it the first debut album and the first album by a female artist to achieve that feat.
June 2, 1987: Her second album, "Whitney," saw its first four singles -- "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" -- all peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first female artist to achieve that feat.
March 2, 1988: Houston poses with her Grammy after being named Best Pop Vocal Performer-Female at the 30th annual Grammy Awards. Houston won more awards than any other female artist, including two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards. She had a rocky personal life once she married Bobby Brown the year after this photo was taken.
Nov. 6, 1990: "I'm Your Baby Tonight," Houston's third album, debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 chart. In its second week, it leaped to No. 5 and the following week reached its peak position at No. 3. The license plate on the album cover features Houston's childhood nickname "Nippy," which was also the name she used for her management company, Nippy Inc.
Jan. 27, 1991: Houston performs "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Fla. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, her version of the song was re-released and proceeds were donated to 9/11 first responders.
Nov. 25, 1992: Houston made her film debut in "The Bodyguard" opposite Kevin Costner, and sang several songs on the soundtrack, including her smash hit version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." The soundtrack sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and became the best-selling soundtrack of all time. It also won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and topped the charts in 17 countries.
Nov. 23, 1992: Houston and her husband Bobby Brown arrive at the premiere of "The Bodyguard" in Los Angeles, Calif. The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, on March 4, 1993.
Dec. 8, 1993: Houston poses with husband Bobby Brown at the 1993 Billboard Music Awards. Houston received 11 awards at the ceremony, including No. 1 World Single for "I Will Always Love You."
May 4, 1994: Houston smiles as she receives one of the six awards she won at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo.
Sept. 7, 1995: Houston and Brown appear at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York City.
Dec. 19, 1995: Houston arrives for the premiere of the movie "Waiting to Exhale" with husband Bobby Brown in New York City.
Dec. 22, 1995: "Waiting to Exhale," which was Houston's second movie role, also starred Loretta Devine, Angela Bassett and Lela Rochon. Houston also contributed three songs to the film's soundtrack, which reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart, including the No. 1 hit song "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)."
April 6, 1996: Houston holds the Image Award she received for Outstanding Female Recording Artist at the 27th NAACP's Image Awards.
Dec. 13, 1996: Houston starred opposite Denzel Washington and Courtney B. Vance in "The Preacher's Wife," a remake of the 1947 film "The Bishop's Wife." She won an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress for her role in the film.
Oct. 27, 1997: Houston and Brown pose for photographers as they arrive for the East Coast premiere of the made-for-television adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" in New York City. Houston played the Fairy Godmother in the TV movie.
Nov. 2, 1997: Houston as the Fairy Godmother in "Cinderella" with Brandy as Cinderella. The show also starred Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber and Jason Alexander.
Nov. 17, 1998: Houston's fourth album "My Love Is Your Love," came eight years after "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.
Nov. 19, 1998: Houston poses with Arista Records chief Clive Davis during an album signing appearance at the Virgin Mega Store in New York City.
Nov. 13, 1999: Houston displays her Bambi 1999 media award in Berlin, Germany.
April 11, 2000: Houston performs at the Arista Records 25th anniversary television special in Los Angeles. Houston had canceled her performance at the Academy Awards just weeks earlier. The years 2000-2005, Houston later acknowledged, were marked by substance abuse and a volatile relationship with her husband, chronicled, in part, in the reality show "Being Bobby Brown."
June 14, 2001: Whitney Houston is seen here with her cousin, fellow singer Dionne Warwick, at the 32nd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame awards ceremony in Manhattan, N.Y.
Sept. 7, 2001: Houston participates in Michael Jackson's "30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" at New York's Madison Square Garden. Three days later, Houston failed to show up at Jackson's second concert, sparking a fast-spreading rumor that she had died. Her publicist released a statement saying Houston was "perfectly fine" and at home with her family in New Jersey.
Nov. 14, 2002: Houston performs during the MTV Europe Music Awards ceremony at Palau Sant Jordi pavillion in Barcelona, Spain.
Dec: 10, 2002: "Just Whitney..." was Houston's fifth album and her first since signing a new $100 million Arista Records contract in 2001.
May 22, 2003: Houston and Brown perform together during the "VH1 Divas Duets" concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
May 28, 2003: Houston and Brown pose at the Damascus Gate as they visit Jerusalem's Old City.
May 30, 2003: Houston is photographed in the swimming pool of a hotel near the Dead Sea. She was in Israel with her husband, Bobby Brown, to visit "friends and family" among the Black Hebrews, an African-American community that moved to Israel in 1969 and settled in the southern town of Dimona.
Aug. 7, 2004: Houston poses with Brown and their daughter Bobbi before the premiere of the film "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Houston served as a producer on the film.
Oct. 26, 2005: Houston speaks at the taping of "25 Strong: The BET Silver Anniversary Celebration" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Sept. 12, 2006: In 2006, Houston began her comeback. She appears here with Clive Davis, founder of J Records, arriving at the 15th annual Society of Singers ELLA Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Feb. 10, 2007: Houston attends the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills, Calif. In 2007, Houston divorced Bobby Brown and got custody of their daughter Bobbi.
Feb. 9, 2008: Houston gestures at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Feb. 7, 2009: Houston waves at the crowd next to Clive Davis at the conclusion of her performance at the 2009 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons event, honoring Davis in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Aug. 28, 2009: Houston releases the album "I Look to You," her first album in six years. The album entered the U.S. Billboard 200 at No. 1, with Houston's best opening-week sales of 305,000 copies, marking Houston's first No. 1 album since "The Bodyguard" soundtrack and her first studio album to reach No. 1 since 1987's "Whitney."
Nov. 22, 2009: Houston performs "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" at the 2009 American Music Awards.
Jan. 16, 2010: Houston reacts after receiving the BET Honors for Entertainment in Washington, D.C. In 2009, she received some harsh critical reviews, particularly for a poorly performed concert in Australia, but she went on to win International Artist of the Year at the 2009 American Music Awards in November and then was honored at this event just a couple months later.
Feb. 12, 2011: Houston performs at the Pre-Grammy Gala & Salute to Industry Icons in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Feb. 11, 2012: Houston was found dead in her guest room at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 48. The official coroner's report later showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.
Feb. 12, 2012: Houston's death on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards resulted in an emotional ceremony with many stars paying tribute to the singer. Here, Jennifer Hudson reacts after performing "I Will Always Love You" as a tribute to Houston at the awards ceremony.
Feb. 18, 2012: Pall-bearers carry Houston's casket to a hearse following her funeral service at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.
Aug. 17, 2012: The movie "Sparkle" marked Houston's fifth and final feature film role. Filming on the movie, which also stars Jordin Sparks, wrapped up three months before Houston's death.