Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown Separate

UPDATED 09/14/2006 at 01:05 PM EDT Originally published 09/13/2006 at 03:40 PM EDT

Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown Separate
Houston and Brown
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Whitney Houston has split from her husband, Bobby Brown, Houston's rep, Nancy Seltzer, has confirmed to PEOPLE.

"She has filed for divorce from Bobby Brown," says Seltzer.

Houston filed the paperwork Friday, Sept. 8 in Orange County, Calif.

The filing is technically a legal separation, Seltzer clarified, adding: "We're saying she filed for divorce because that is (Whitney's) intent." Divorce proceeding are expected to begin next month.

"(Whitney) was in L.A. last night with Clive Davis at the Ella awards," Seltzer said Wednesday. "I have nothing further to add."

In the filing, Houston asked for custody of the couple's 13-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and asked that Brown be allowed visitation rights, the Associated Press reports. She also requested that property rights be determined later.

A Houston friend tells PEOPLE of the singer, "She is doing fabulously well."

Houston, 43, and Brown, 39, wed on July 18, 1992. But doubts about the couple began even before their wedding day. She was the velvet-voiced sweetheart raised on Baptist gospel music in a middle-class home. He was a bad boy from the Roxbury section of Boston who had fathered three kids out of wedlock. Still, Houston walked down the aisle in a $40,000 Marc Bouwer wedding gown and, before a star-studded crowd of 800 guests, exchanged vows with Brown on the grounds of her five-acre, $11 million New Jersey mansion.

Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown Separate| Divorced, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Actor Class

Clive Davis and Whitney Houston, Sept. 12

Luis Martinez / Splash News

Their marriage had its share of ups and downs, including a month-long separation in 1997, run-ins with the law, rumors of drug use and infidelity and a 2005 Bravo reality show, Being Bobby Brown, that showcased a relationship many viewers perceived as bizarre.

But through it all, Houston and Brown always seemed to stick together. In January, a report surfaced that Brown planned to divorce Houston and had been partying with several women at a casino. Telling PEOPLE the rumors were untrue, Brown said of his wife, "She's my friend. She's the better half of me. They say opposites attract, but we're not opposites. We're one person. We're loving life, and we're just trying to be as good to each other as possible."

And in May, when a tabloid reported that Houston was abusing drugs and that the union was in trouble, Brown told PEOPLE, "We are happily married. ... We are going to stand for each other for as long we live. I adore that woman. She helps me see God. I look in her eyes and I see God."

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