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Happy Birthday, Kris!

Kris Aquino turns 41.

Kris Aquino celebrates her 41st birthday today. And what better gift can I offer to a star whose shows I have grown up watching than to write a little tribute to the life and career of a start that to this day remains unmatched in the industry. She began as a bankable movie actress in the 1990s, eventually parlaying her popularity and wits into becoming a successful talk show and game show host. In the early 2000s, she emerged as a critically acclaimed actress plus earning the monicker Horror Queen of Philippine Cinema. She also enjoys considerable success in the recording and publishing industries, as well as with her line of kitchen collections.

Happy Birthday, Krissy!

Birth, Childhood and Education

Kristina Bernadette Cojuangco Aquino was born on Feb. 14, 1972, the youngest daughter of Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Corazon Cojuangco, scions of powerful and landed families in Tarlac. Her father was a former senator and presidential aspirant who was martyred in 1983 at the height of the Marcos Regime. Her mother was the 11th and first female president of the Republic of the Philippines, while her brother, Benigno Aquino III was elected 15th president in 2010. Together with her family, she spent her early years in Boston, where her family was exiled during the Martial Law era.

Movie Star

After a bloodless revolution that toppled then-President Ferdinand Marcos and installed her mother as president, teenager Aquino was put to limelight. Her forays in show business began with guest stints in talk shows, television dramas, and comedies. She made her film debut in 1990, where she was cast opposite comedian Rene Requiestas in the colossally successful comedy film, Pido Dida. The film was the highest-grossing movie in the Philippines at the time, breaking existing box-office records that year. In 1991, she was crowned the country's box-office queen. The film spawned two successful sequels, Pido Dida: Kasal Na and Pido Dida: May Kambal Na. She solidified her bankability with a slew of commercially-successful true-to-life massacre films, popular during the early 1990s, such as Vizconde Massacre (1993), The Elsa Castillo Story: Ang Katotohanan, Myrna Diones Story, and Fatima Buen Story (all 1994), the last film earning her a Gawad Urian nomination. However, critics panned her acting as stiff and mechanical. But with her enormous success in this genre, Aquino was hailed by the press as Massacre Queen.

Talk Show Queen

Aquino's undeniable hosting wit landed her a talk show in ABS-CBN. In 1996, Today with Kris Aquino was launched, which went on air weekdays until 2001. The show was the first interactive talk show in Philippine TV and was touted as the country's response to America's The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1999, she joined the Sunday afternoon celebrity talk show The Buzz, where she co-hosted with Boy Abunda until 2007, when she took maternity leave. She made her come back in 2008 but eventually left the show in 2008 after her brother was elected president.

Aquino was also host to several more talk shows: Morning Girls (2002-2004), Good Morning, Kris (2004), Boy & Kris (2007-2009), and SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon (2009-2010). In 2011, Aquino returned to daytime talk show via KrisTV, a spinoff to her 1996 talk show.

Forays in Primetime TV

Kris also appeared in a number of top rating prime time soap operas: Hiram (2004-2005), Sineserye Presents Panayin sa Sindak si Barbara (2008) and Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo (2010).

Award Winning Actress

2002 was a banner year for Aquino's film career. After a long absence (she made her last film that time in 1995), she made a successful comeback via the family drama Mano Po, the first series of the long-running movie franchise. Her role as a submissive and weak-willed scion of a wealthy Chinese family earned her Best Supporting Actress awards in the Metro Manila Film Festival, Pasado Award, PMPC Star Awards for Movies, FAMAS Award, and KAPPT Award. She also appeared in two more Mano Po installments, Mano Po 2: My Home (2003) and Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love (2009).

Horror Queen

In 2004, Kris began starring in a movie genre where she shines the most—horror. In 2004, she was cast in Feng Shui, a film that featured Chinese influences and omen, the country's reply to the wave of Asian horrors that was very popular in the early 2000s. It earned P137 million, making it the highest-grossing Filipino movie in 2004. Her success earned her her second crown as Box-Office Queen. In 2006, she co-starred with Claudine Barretto in Sukob (2006), which depicted the Filipino superstition that one should not marry within a year when an immediate relative dies or gets married. With Sukob, Kris Aquino yet again broke box-office records—the film grossed a whooping P203 million, the first Filipino film to reach the elusive P200-million mark as well as the highest-grossing film that time. In 2007, she shared her third Box-Office Queen crown with Claudine Barretto. Aquino's succeeding horror flicks were big winners at the box-office as well. Dalaw (2010), which grossed P125 million, was the third biggest moneymaker during the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, while Segunda Mano (2011) was earned P126.6 million, earning the film the second spot during the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival.

Game Show Queen

In 2001, Kris made her prime time debut via her first—and most memorable—game show, Game KNB, where her tagline, “korek,” which she quipped after a contestant made the right answer, became a popular expression among the Filipinos to this day. The game show evolved through the years and many other hosts followed Aquino, although her stint is considered the “golden era” of Game KNB. Aquino also made impact with another game show Kapamilya Deal or No Deal, the country's franchise for the famous American game show. The show's extreme popularity was the main reason why it was extended for several times until it had to be ended prior to Aquino's maternity leave. Aquino also hosted the Philippine version of Wheel of Fortune, Pinoy Bingo Night, and The Price is Right. She also hosted the noontime variety show, Pilipinas Win na Win, but had to left the show after two months per decision of the management.

Celebrity Endorser

Kris is the face of dozens of products. In fact, her endorsements alone rake her tens of millions of pesos. Since 2009, she has held the record of being the country's number one celebrity endorser, lending her name and image to some of the most recognizable products like Pantene, Olay Total Effects, Maggi Magic Sarap, Nido, and Safeguard.

Recording Artist

Kris Aquino's inspirational compilation albums, feature different singers, were also top-selling at the time of their released. Her five albums, Songs of Love and Healing, Love and Inspiration, The Greatest Love, Blessings of Love, and My Heart's Journey, all registered platinum status.

Magazine Editor

In 2007, K Magazine, where Kris is the Executive Editor, was launched. It contained snippets of everything about Kris Aquino, her love, family, passion, and inspiring stories. The magazine remains the biggest selling celebrity magazine.

K Everyday

In 2009, Kris launched K Everyday in partnership with ABS-CBN Licensing. The collection showcased cooking collection, kitchen collection, plastic collection, and stationeries, each hand-picked by her which she thought are helpful in making everyday life comfortable.

As the Queen of All-Media graces her 41st year, her star remains shimmering as ever and there's no sign of stopping.

Personal Life

Aquino was the domestic partner of actor Philip Salvador. They had a son, Joshua. In 2005 she married basketball player James Yap. In 2007, she gave birth to a son, James “Bimby” Aquino Yap, now a highly in-demand child product endorser. In 2010, she and Yap were separated, their marriage officially annulled just recently.  

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Valentine's Day Treat Movie Review: The Most Memorable Parts of The Notebook

The Notebook is hailed one of the best romance flicks of its time. Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Nicholas Sparks, and directed by Nick Cassavetes, the film stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as two lovers in the 1940s. Their story told by an elderly man to a fellow nursing home resident.

Enjoy the Best, Most Romantic Clips


In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke (James Garner) begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient (Gena Rowlands).

The story begins in 1940. At a carnival in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) sees seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) for the first time and is immediately smitten. She continuously refuses his persistent advances until their well-meaning friends lure them together; they then get to know each other on a midnight walk through empty Seabrook.

Noah and Allie spend an idyllic summer together. One night, a week before Allie is to leave town, she and Noah go up to an abandoned house called The Windsor Plantation. Noah tells her that he hopes to buy the house, and Allie makes him promise that the house will be white, with blue shutters, a walk-around porch, and a room that overlooks the creek so she can paint. They intend to make love for the first time, but are interrupted by Noah's friend Fin (Kevin Connolly) with the news that Allie's parents have the police out looking for her. When Allie returns home, her disapproving parents ban her from seeing Noah again. Allie fights with Noah outside and the two decide to break up. Allie immediately regrets the decision but Noah drives away. The next morning, Allie's mother reveals that they are going home that morning. Allie frantically tries to find Noah, but is forced to leave without saying good-bye. The Hamiltons then send Allie to New York, where she begins attending Sarah Lawrence College.

Noah, devastated by his separation from Allie, writes her one letter a day for a year, only to get no reply as Allie's mother keeps the letters from her. Noah and Allie have no choice but to move on with their lives. Allie continues to attend school, while Noah and Fin enlist to fight in World War II. Fin is killed in battle.

Allie becomes a nurse for wounded soldiers. There, she meets the wealthy Lon Hammond, Jr. (James Marsden), a well-connected young lawyer who is handsome, sophisticated, charming and comes from old Southern money. The two eventually become engaged, to the joy of Allie's parents, although Allie sees Noah's face when Lon asks her to marry him.

When Noah returns home, he discovers his father has sold their home so that Noah can go ahead and buy The Windsor Plantation. While visiting Charleston to file some paper work, Noah witnesses Allie and Lon kissing at a restaurant, causing Noah to go a little crazy, convincing himself that if he fixes up the house, Allie will come back to him.

While trying on her wedding dress in the 1940s, Allie is startled to read about Noah completing the house in the style section of a Raleigh newspaper and faints. She visits Noah in Seabrook and he invites her to dinner, during which Allie tells Noah about her engagement. Noah questions whether Allie's future husband is a good man and she reassures Noah that he is. Later in the evening, Noah invites Allie to come back tomorrow.
In the present, it is made clear that the elderly woman is Allie suffering from dementia, which has stolen her memories, and also that Noah is her husband. Allie does not recognize their grown children and grandchildren, who beg Noah to come home with them. He insists on staying with Allie.
The next morning, Allie and Noah go rowing on a nearby lake and begin to reminisce about their summer together. As a rain storm starts Noah rows to shore, where Allie demands to know why Noah never wrote to her. After the revelation that Noah had indeed written to Allie, they share a passionate kiss, before making love into the night.

The next day, Allies mother appears on Noahs doorstep, telling Allie that Lon has followed her to Seabrook after Allie's father told him about Noah. Her mother takes Allie out for a drive to show her that there had been a time in her life when she could relate to Allie's present situation. On returning to Noah's, she hands her daughter the bundle of 365 letters that Noah had written to her. When alone, Noah asks Allie what she is going to do; Allie is confused and confesses that she doesnt know. Noah asks her to just stay with him, admitting it is going to be really hard, but he is willing to go through anything because he wants to be with her. Confused as ever, Allie drives off.

Allie drives to the hotel and confesses to Lon, who is angry but admits that he still loves her. He tells her that he does not want to convince his fiancée that she should be with him, but Allie tells him he does not have to, because she already knows she should be with him.

The film goes back to the elderly couple, and Duke asks Allie who she chose. She soon realizes the answer herself; young Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, having left Lon at the hotel and chosen Noah. They embrace in reunion.

Elderly Allie suddenly remembers her past before she and Noah/Duke joyfully spend a brief intimate moment together; after originally finding out about her illness, she had herself written their story in the notebook with the instructions for Noah to "Read this to me, and I'll come back to you." But soon Allie relapses, losing her memories of Noah yet again. She panics, and has to be sedated by the attending physician. This proves to be too difficult for Noah to watch and he breaks down. The next morning, Noah is found unconscious in bed and he is rushed to the hospital; he later returns to the nursing home's intensive care ward. He goes to Allie's room later that night, and Allie remembers again. The next morning, a nurse finds them in bed together, having both died peacefully holding each other's hands. The last scene shows a flock of birds flying away.


The film starred Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, with a stellar supporting cast headed by James Garner, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, David Thornton, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly and Gena Rowlands.

Critical Response

The film was rated 52 percent, out of 149 voters, in review aggregate Rotten Tomato. Critics agreed that the film is admirable for its its unabashed sentimentality, although it was “too clumsily manipulative to rise above its melodramatic clichés.” MetaCritic rated the film 8.4 out of 10.

Rex Reed of The New York Observer praised: “How rare to see a film that says there is still a value system out there, that being thoughtful and caring is not uncool.”

Ann Hornaday of Washington Post wrote: “This is a movie that isn't ashamed to wring each teardrop by any means necessary,” while Toronto Star's Susan Walker quipped: “Our resistance is broken down, and the hankies are out.”

And although the film was “one hundred percent sap,” in the words of Desson Thomson of Washington Post, still he praised Rachel McAdams for her “persuasive performances.”

“A lovely surprise. Ripe with feeling and lush with physical beauty, it's a love story that swings confidently between age and youth, and, like the young Tiger Woods of old, avoids every trap along the way,” critiqued Joe Morgenstern of Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, wrote completely the opposite saying that he completely felt “allergic reaction to this open faucet of tear-jerking swill as I do to the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel that inspired it.”

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My Cactus Heart, Movie Review and Trailer

My Cactus Heart is the pre-valentine offer of Star Cinema for the young and young-at-heart who want to feel the spirit of love and romance even before Cupid starts shooting arrows. 

The film is top billed by real-life sweethearts Maja Salvador and Matteo Guidicelli, introducing Xiam Lim, in his firm moving outing fresh from his My Binondo Girl success. It premiered Jan. 25, 2012.

Synopsis reveals that the story's plot “revolves around the life of Sandy, a culinary student whose real passion in life is illustrating. Sandy grew up watching her mother (played by Rosanna Roces) pine after her father (Ricky Davao) who decided to separate from their family when she was still a little girl. Jaded by love, Sandy vowed to never let anyone hurt her heart like that again and she ends up continually turning down every guy who tries to court her, thus earning her the moniker, 'Cactus Heart.' That is until she meets the hardworking Carlo who applies for a job at her mom’s catering business as a waiter. Sparks immediately fly but Sandy tries to continually resist feeling anything for Carlo, who is also a singer in a band trying to make ends meet despite his father’s penchant for betting on horse races. Xian Lim comes into the story as the dashing Bene, Sandy’s boss at the production company she applies for in order to pursue her dream of continuing her passion for illustrating.”


The film stars Maja Salvador, Matteo Guidicelli, and Xian Lim, who proved there versatility in acting. My Cactus Heart also stars Ricky Davao Bettina Carlos, Ramon Christopher, Joy Viado, Lemuel Pelayo, Pinky Amador, and Rosanna Roces, with cameo performances of Karylle, JM De Guzman and Pinoy Big Brother season 1 alumni Franzen Fajardo. My Cactus Heart is directed by Enrico Santos for Star Cinema and Skylight films.

Enjoy the film's Trailer!

Critical Response

Oggs Cruz of wrote, that Maja Salvador (who played the role of an “uninteresting, unconvincing, and unromantic” lady) “attempts to add color to the hopelessly color-less character by giving an authentically earnest performance, which only does so much,” However, he noted that the role was “lazily written,” citing issues with extreme triteness which resulted to “romance too dry to really matter.”

As for the Maja-Matteo tandem, Cruz panned their “unbalanced romantic team,” which called “more awkward than awe-inspiring.” Nevertheless, Starmometer find the couple to portray “their role as if they’re not acting.” praised the movie for two factors that set it apart from the average romantic comedies. First, “the narrative style made the movie more interesting than it should be.” Second, “the pairing of Matteo and Maja just simply works flawlessly.” Matteo himself was noticed for his versatility, as well as for his improved fluency in Tagalog.

Philbert Ortiz Dy of summed: “My Cactus Heart feels like a collection of gimmicks wrapped around a pretty conventional love story. One can easily see the potential there, but the approach is backwards. If the studio is willing to experiment, they might be better served just telling unconventional stories: ones unfettered by the demands of formula. This film tries to project the image of being youthful and edgy, but its core is as stodgy and creaky as it’s ever been. You can put an old man in skinny jeans and a hip t-shirt, and it’ll be funny for a while. It probably isn’t going to cure his arthritis.”


Whitney Houston Drowned in Tub?

Autopsy regarding Whitney Houston's death is complete although results of the actual cause of her death is not yet released pending toxicology report, according to TMZ.

Whitney Houston, disheveled, in her photo taken during the banquet for Grammy Awards.
Sources revealed that cause of death cannot be determined until the toxicology results, which usually takes 4-6 weeks.

As TMZ first reported, “Although the cause of death is unknown, it is increasingly looking like Whitney may have fallen asleep or lapsed into unconsciousness in the bathtub and drowned.”

Informants for TMZ told that Whitney “had been drinking the night before and authorities believe a combination of Xanax and alcohol could have fatally sedated her,” although it is too unsure to draw any firm conclusions surrounding the singer's death.  


Whitney Houston, Dead at 48

Cause of death still unknown.

Rest in peace, Whitney Houston, whose news of her death was announced by Associated Press, 8:10 PM Eastern Time. Houston was one of the best-selling singers of her time. Guiness World Record named her the Most Awarded Singer in history.

Sources for informed that a member of Whitney's entourage had found her in her room at the Beverly Hilton hotel. Hotel security was immediately called, who then dialed 911. When paramedics arrived Houston was found unresponsive. Police arrived to the scene within minutes and fire was already there on an unrelated call. Furthermore, sources reported that paramedics performed CPR but it did not work and she was pronounced dead at 3:55 PM. There were no obvious signs of foul play, but BH PD detectives have begun a full investigation.

Houston's death came on the eve of music's biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It's a showcase where she once reigned, and her death is sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday's ceremony.

News of her death elicited a flood of reaction from fans and fellow celebrities alike, reports CNN.

Singer Aretha Franklin: "I just can't talk about it now. It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy (Houston's mother), her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby (Brown)."

Dolly Parton, (who wrote I Will Always Love You): "Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, 'Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.'"

Quincy Jones: "[I was] absolutely heartbroken... She was a true original and a talent beyond compare."

News of her death by Associated Press read:

Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singerBobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston's death came on the eve of music's biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It's a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to cast a heavy pall on Sunday's ceremony. Houston's longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale."

She had the perfect voice and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.

She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.
"The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.

It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.

She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter ofgospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.

"The time that I first saw her singing in her mother's act in a club ... it was such a stunning impact," Davis told "Good Morning America."

"To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine," he added.

Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with "Whitney Houston," which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. "Saving All My Love for You" brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. "How Will I Know," ''You Give Good Love" and "The Greatest Love of All" also became hit singles.

Another multiplatinum album, "Whitney," came out in 1987 and included hits like "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

The New York Times wrote that Houston "possesses one of her generation's most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity."

Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the "Soul Train Awards" in 1989.

"Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?" she told Katie Couric in 1996. "You're not black enough for them. I don't know. You're not R&B enough. You're very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them."

Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop's pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. (The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.

But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.

"When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place," she told Rolling Stone in 1993. "You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that's their image. It's part of them, it's not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody's angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy."

It would take several years, however, for the public to see that side of Houston. Her moving 1991 rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl, amid the first Gulf War, set a new standard and once again reaffirmed her as America's sweetheart.

In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with "The Bodyguard." Despite mixed reviews, the story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) was an international success.

It also gave her perhaps her most memorable hit: a searing, stunning rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," which sat atop the charts for weeks. It was Grammy's record of the year and best female pop vocal, and the "Bodyguard" soundtrack was named album of the year.

She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Preacher's Wife." Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, "My Love Is Your Love," in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut "It's Not Right But It's Okay."

But during these career and personal highs, Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2010, she said by the time "The Preacher's Wife" was released, "(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. ... I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. ... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself."

In the interview, Houston blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse against Brown in 1993. They divorced in 2007.

Houston would go to rehab twice before she would declare herself drug-free to Winfrey in 2010. But in the interim, there were missed concert dates, a stop at an airport due to drugs, and public meltdowns.

She was so startlingly thin during a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert that rumors spread she had died the next day. Her crude behavior and jittery appearance on Brown's reality show, "BeingBobby Brown," was an example of her sad decline. Her Sawyer interview, where she declared "crack is whack," was often parodied. She dropped out of the spotlight for a few years.

Houston staged what seemed to be a successful comeback with the 2009 album "I Look To You." The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum.

Things soon fell apart. A concert to promote the album on "Good Morning America" went awry as Houston's voice sounded ragged and off-key. She blamed an interview with Winfrey for straining her voice.

A world tour launched overseas, however, only confirmed suspicions that Houston had lost her treasured gift, as she failed to hit notes and left many fans unimpressed; some walked out. Canceled concert dates raised speculation that she may have been abusing drugs, but she denied those claims and said she was in great shape, blaming illness for cancellations.

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