Richard Wilkins: The Whitney I will remember
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Richard Wilkins: The Whitney I will remember

Whitney was at the opening of Sanctuary Cove in 1987 and the two headline acts were her and Frank Sinatra. I was booked to introduce her and of course I stuck around to watch the show.

She was fantastic – statuesque, beautiful, everything you would expect her to be. She sang every note perfectly and gave you chills down your spine. It really was the start of her ascent to divadom and clearly things were on a roll…

I first realised things were going off the rails when she was booked to appear at Crown Casino in Melbourne for the opening in 1997. Her husband Bobby Brown was with her and he had some issue with the address of the casino…

Whiteman’s Street, and Bobby was demanding the name of the street be changed. Things were pretty weird. But the most controversial thing about that trip was that Whitney was booked to do two nights. She peformed the first night to a standing ovation. After the first concert she was captured on CCTV at Fidels, the cigar bar under the casino, smoking and partying till the wee hours.

Sometime the next day she cancelled the second concert claiming she was suffering from exhaustion. The organisers were livid and after some heated negotiations, threw them out. I thought then, ‘Wow what are you doing lady?’ This girl was just blessed, she had it all, money, fame, voice… and seemed to be throwing it all away.

Read more of the Whitney Houston Richard Wilkins remembers in our special tribute issue to Whitney in this week's Woman's Day on sale Friday February 17, 2012.