Career High Note The top-selling female performer in history, Carey was named Billboard's artist of the decade after she became the only singer to top the charts in each year of the 1990s.
Career Low Note Bizarre public appearances in '01, including disrobing on TRL, preceded two hospitalizations. After her CD and film Glitter tanked, Virgin Records paid $28 million to release Carey from her contract.
Comeback Strategy On Dec. 3, the release date of her album Charmbracelet, Carey unleashed an interview blitz, appearing on Dateline NBC, Oprah and an hour-long MTV special.
The Big Revelation Carey finally confirmed the reason for her 2001 breakdown: severe physical exhaustion after 23-hour work days. "I said, 'Forget this whole career at this moment, because it's too much for me,'" Carey told Dateline. "'It's time for me to deal with myself as a regular person.'" Reports that she attempted suicide are "absolutely not" true, she added.
Labors of Love Carey and Tommy Mottola divorced in 1998. She split with boyfriend Luis Miguel last year and told MTV she "hung out" with Eminem but denied the relationship was sexual.
Career Outlook Promising. "If anything, the break did her a world of good," says Billboard senior talent editor Larry Flick, who calls Charmbracelet "her strongest record in a long time. She's always had a strong, impassioned fan base who have stood by her, and they're going to rally around this record."
Career High Note Fueled by the 4-million-selling single "I Will Always Love You," the soundtrack to her 1992 film The Bodyguard sells 16 million copies and garners three Grammys.
Career Low Note In 2000 Houston is arrested for marijuana possession (charges were later dropped). Her skeletal appearance shocks audiences at a 2001 Michael Jackson concert.
Comeback Strategy She grants one interview--to PrimeTime Live's Diane Sawyer Dec. 4--promoting the Dec. 10 release of Just Whitney, her first album of new material in four years.
The Big Revelation Confirming years-long speculation, Houston tells Sawyer that she has "partied my tail off" and abused alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and pills. "You get to a point where the party's over," she said. "I'm on the right path." She denies having an eating disorder but admits to having "awful" eating habits during periods of "emotional stress."
Labors of Love Husband Bobby Brown, arrested last month in Atlanta on drug and traffic charges, tells Sawyer that he is bipolar and uses marijuana because "it keeps me calm."
Career Outlook Iffy. Just Whitney "is not her best record," says Flick. "Some of it's good. Some of it is less than good." The first single, "Whatchulookinat," faded quickly in August; a follow-up, "One of Those Days," is "not catching on," says Flick. But he adds that she is "not going away" anytime soon.
On Newsstands Now
- Brad's Devotion: The Inside Story
- Oklahoma Tornado: Heroic Rescues
- Michael Douglas on Catherine's Health
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine