Whitney Houston’s Parents were Emily “Cissy” Houston and John Russell Houston. Whitney Houston, born on August 9, 1963, and passed away on February 11, 2012, was a talented American singer and actress.
She earned the moniker “The Voice” and was one of the most successful music artists, having sold over 200 million records globally.
Whitney was a major influence on many contemporary singers, known for her soulful and powerful voice and exceptional ability to improvise while singing.
Who Is Emily “Cissy” Houston?
Emily “Cissy” Houston, born Sep 30, 1933, is a renowned American soul and gospel singer. She has a successful career as a backup singer for notable artists such as Roy Hamilton, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Presley, and Aretha Franklin.
She then pursued a solo career and won two Grammy Awards for her outstanding contributions to the music industry.
Houston is the proud mother of the legendary singer and actress Whitney Houston. She is also the aunt of the talented singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick and a cousin of the acclaimed opera singer Leontyne Price. Her musical legacy and family connections solidify her place in the music industry.
Emily “Cissy” Houston’s Early Life
Born as Emily Drinkard in Newark, New Jersey, she is the youngest of eight siblings – William, Handsome, Nicky, Larry, Lee, Marie, and Anne. Her father, Nicholas, was of Dutch and African-American descent, and her grandfather John Drinkard Jr. was of American descent. Houston’s family once owned a large amount of farmland in Blakely, Georgia, which was a rarity for African-Americans at the time.
Her family moved to New Jersey during the Great Migration, and her parents stressed the importance of education and involvement in the church. Cissy’s mother passed away from a stroke when she was eight, and her father passed away from stomach cancer when she was 18.
She went to live with her sister Lee and her husband Mancel Warrick and was raised alongside their three children. Houston attended South Side High School and became a Christian at age 14.
John Russell Houston’s Union With Cissy Houston And The Upbringing Of Whitney Houston
John Houston tied the knot with Cissy Houston in 1959. The couple stayed together for over three decades and had two children, Whitney and Michael.
Additionally, Gary, Cissy’s child from a previous relationship, was also a part of the Houston family unit.
However, after 31 years of marriage, John and Cissy decided to end their relationship and got a divorce in 1990.
Who Is John Russell?
John Russell was the father of Whitney Houston. John and Cissy were both involved in the entertainment industry, with John owning his own entertainment company.
He was instrumental in helping both Cissy and Whitney with their music careers. Throughout Whitney’s career, John was known to have negotiated deals and managed different aspects of her career.
John Russell Houston’s death
John passed away in February 2003 at 82 after struggling with health issues. Whitney was asked if she had forgiven her father, to which she responded unequivocally, “absolutely.”
She shared that despite some tumultuous times, she always loved her father, and when he became sick, she made amends and reconciled with him.
Whitney decided not to attend her father’s funeral due to the intense media attention. Instead, she held her private memorial service to grieve in peace.
She stated, “I had a memorial the day before the funeral, just for myself. The media was so intrusive, and I couldn’t process my grief with all the attention. So I held my service and then organized one for my father’s friends to attend.”