Overheard on CNN.com: What can we learn from Whitney Houston's life, death?
The death of Whitney Houston, pictured at the American Music Awards in 2009, has provoked a strong reaction among readers.
February 13th, 2012
02:38 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What can we learn from Whitney Houston's life, death?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Celine Dion is facing criticism after saying drug use "took over" Whitney Houston's life. Many tore into Dion via Twitter after her "Good Morning America" interview Monday discussing Houston's death. Nevertheless, Dion got lots of support from our readers. Many commenters said Houston made poor decisions in her life, regardless of their feelings about her work as an artist. We've highlighted a few of their remarks. What do you think?

Celine Dion on Houston: Drugs took over her dreams

Several readers said they believe Dion's assessment was correct.

bluegrassbiscuit: "A fan of Whitney here; however, I agree with Celine. It's sad and unfortunate. When will people learn? We say these people are our idols and they influence us to do great things, become a singer, reach for our goals, etc. Then why can't, when something like this happens, we get influenced to not fall into drugs and alcohol? It should work both ways. ..."

Rose: "Drug and alcohol abuse can still kill you even if you get clean and stay clean for years. It causes a lot of damage to your organs that can cause an early death. I hope that she had not fallen back into substance abuse."

But others noted celebrities often get what they want, even when it hurts.

Louisa: "I'm still so sad over her death, but how could anyone get to her? When you have money and bodyguards and people that will tell you anything you want to hear, how could anyone get close enough to help? Same with Michael (Jackson). He could afford doctors to give him what he wanted, and if they didn't, then he got someone else. We have lost some true talents."

There were a lot of personal stories about the consequences of substance abuse.

Eddie: "Truth is not always easy. How about the millions of no-name people who are dying. How come they are not getting any attention? Just lost my stepdaughter due to drugs; anybody hear? Yeah, right."

Caroline: "Sorry to hear this Eddie. I've dealt with this, too. It's a helpless situation. The only advice I have is stop asking yourself what you could have done. It will only persecute you and the simple answer is nothing. If they want it bad enough, they'll find a way around anything you might have done."

Sandy: "... There are so many who have similar problems that don't get the help or attention needed for their addictions. Addiction is something I am have seen and been a victim of some else's addiction. However, I am lucky to say that I don't suffer from addiction. I chose to be cautious not to fall into it as my dad was an alcoholic. But it isn't as easy for many. I don't understand how a substance can take you over like that. And I won't ever really know. I pray for those who have addictions, that they can find the help and support they need to acknowledge and understand how to deal with it. Addiction breaks so many hearts."

One reader said Dion should be praised for bringing this issue to the surface.

Honest Abe: "Wow! Her fans are in such denial. Celine could have added dozens of others to her list, and still only scratched the surface. Good for you, Celine, for addressing the 800-pound elephant everyone else is ignoring."

That comment drew several replies:

thetruth: "I agree 100%. We're losing excellent talent due to the soaring drug problem in Hollywood. The doctors giving the drugs to them are yet another problem!"

GailScott: "No one is ignoring the problem Whitney had with drugs, but some of us are grieving and would like to bury her before exploring 'what could have been' had she not taken drugs."

pockets: "... Thank you, Celine for telling it the way it is. 99% agree with you. RIP Whitney, your suffering is over."

TisJustMe: "Honest Abe, I agree with you completely. Whitney became a boozing dope head, damaging her singing and (dying) well before her time as a result. Hopefully, her fans (especially those foolish enough to be in denial) and the general public will take her lesson to heart. If that happens, she did not die in vain. I am glad there are entertainers like Celine Dion who set a good example and tell it like it is."

Caroline: "Completely agree. When I heard the news on Saturday I hate to say it but (I) wasn't shocked. She had every opportunity to get clean and didn't; not even her daughter was a good enough reason for her. I raised four children who lost their mother because of her addictions, and as blessed as I have been to have them in my life, I am angry with their biological mother for not loving them enough to be better; it should have been her. It's incredibly sad, but shame on her for not making (daughter) Bobbi Christina more important. Celine said what a lot of us are thinking. Good for her. I don't see arrogance, just the cold hard truth. I am aware that I have written this with the assumption that drugs killed her. If it wasn't drugs, that would shock me."

Commenters said Houston was already deteriorating.

pandoramn: "I agree with the statements already made here ... and for those criticizing Celine, I say, this is not unexpected. We didn't need to wait for autopsy results to know that drugs and alcohol would be involved. All you had to do was ... (watch) the last few times she was out in public - it was obvious to everyone that her talent had been wasted. The voice was pretty much gone ..., the breath control that had once been so stupendous was gone; she had one foot in the grave for a long time. It is also ironic and tragic that her mother (Cissy Houston), who sang backup for Elvis in the Sweet Inspirations, was apparently not able to use the experience of watching him disintegrate to convince her daughter to stay away from drugs."

mouse: "Yes, because we know how much control a mother has over their adult, grown children. No disrepect, but Whitney did this to herself, period, but it doesn't change the fact that this was a tragic, tragic ending for a beloved voice."

Some critiqued celebrity culture in general.

yemencamel3: "At least one celebrity is coming out and telling at least part of the truth. The truth is that the whole concept of celebrity status and stardom was rigged from the beginning - going all the way back to the 1920s and '30s in Hollywood. ... Singing a song, throwing a ball through a hoop, repeating some line in front of a camera (doesn't) really mean a damn thing and the people who do these things need to be placed much closer to earth in our minds than hung up near the stars."

Another commenter called Houston's death a shame.

Roger: "Amen!! Celine Dion only told the truth. I wish someone would wake the hell up and start really cracking down on these celebrities who abuse drugs only so they can save their lives. How many lives will we lose before we start holding these people accountable, and I not only mean the artists but these doctors that keep giving these drugs out like candy. Just think if Whitney Houston (I am a big fan) (didn't) do drugs; she would have dominated the '90s. She started the '90s with 'The Bodyguard' and 'Waiting to Exhale,' and her music was on top of the charts and that would have just been the beginning. She would have been the female version of Michael Jackson but only bigger. She was beautiful, talented and just had that charisma to be successful. Her voice was one of a kind; my word to describe her is flawless. It is a shame we will never know how big she would have been since she was already awesome, even with the drug use."

There are many sides to every issue, and we'd love to hear your viewpoint. Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Health • Music • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Jj

    Celebrities reap what they sow. Yawn. Now back to the real world...

    February 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jj

    this is horrible

    February 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. brenda fincham

    I have like her song but i think bobby has to be the problem

    February 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • jjf

      i think he is the problem too

      February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      who cares about bobby brown..

      February 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jj

    i cannot beleive it shes younger than my mother

    February 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jjf

    but this is not hitting me so hard because it happens to every celebritty

    February 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lilian Corley

    Ms. Dion congratulations for you comments. The reality of Whitney, it is a great lost, she seems to be such a happy soul. It is a great lost for her daughter, she will grow alone, regardless of how many people will be around her, the most important of all her mother, she is gone. Addictions!! It is difficult to understand what could have been her motivation to get addicted to drugs. Apparently she had it all. Only God knows, all that we can do is remember her for the amazing performer she was. I remember one interview in Vogue and she said, I would love if I am remember just because of the music, just the music. I am so sad. God bless you Whitney and thank you for such a beautiful melody that you put in our hearts with your amazing voice and unique interpretation of feelings and emotions with your songs. You will never die or go silent, we still can hear you and see you. Go in peace, Whitney, go in peace!

    February 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      what do you not understand..you pop too many pills, your drink too much you get sick and die.....
      that's not brain surgery. i loved her too, i've seen her in concert 5 times and still play i'm your baby tonight
      every morning in my car..however that is not the issue.

      there is no reason to even defend the talent..there is nobody who can ever have the voice she had and she appeared to be a sweatheart to me when i saw her shows....however she did struggle in her personal life and i pray for her soul she's resting in peace.

      February 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      oh and mIss dion?...spare us....

      February 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. m

    I was never weak, i was never weak by peer pressure and i am still not weak as an adult...I have met a couple of addicted people over the years who have made fun of me for not drinking 3 bottles of wine and not taken pills for "fun",

    i get made fun of also as an adult because i'm not weak to drugs or alcohol. (for some reason its usually the addicted ones that make fun of me)
    now we are going to pick on bobby brown, i'm not saying he's an angel because we've seen his nonsense over the years..however she was the weak one. she finally dumped him but she didn't completely dump the other problem.

    the strength from your demons has to come from inside and if you don't have it you will head in the wrong direction.
    Professional help works to a point...you have to be the one to say "f-off drugs and alcohol you will never get me".

    Forget she's Whitney... Just pray for this poor soul and pray she is finally resting in peace from these terrible personal patches in her life she could not always fight. I love you girl and will miss you forever!

    February 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. edie m

    it is denial that helps these celebs to continue to die.just look at some of the comments"she was very happy this week"
    dion had the guts to call a duck a duck

    February 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ronvan

    This is just another tragic example of those who have everything, wind up with NO friends or protectors. Family members, body guards, managers, looking out for themselves and the money they can make!! These are the EXAMPLES of why I would "eliminate" every drug dealer around! A magnificent voice, beautiful woman, who gave her "gift" to all of us, yet had no one to really care about her!

    February 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar The Chorizo Chimp Of Chihuahua

    Stay away from Bobby Brown.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mary

    My heart goes out to Whitney as a fellow child of God.
    My Heart also is grateful for that voice I was blessed to hear. Her voice and songs gave me much peace and comfort thru the years as I am only a year younger than her.

    Peace Whitney and thank you so much for what you gave to this world. Sorry for the turmoil that lead to your death.
    See, we all have our own crutches and skeletons to deal with, no matter the economic status.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Portland tony

    Personally, I think it's time to put this story to bed. RIP MS HOUSTON.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sandra

    Let us honor Whitney's memory by not putting labels on her or her life,remember the good,please let her rest in peace and give her family some peace and comfort and time to heal,may the Lord bless and keep them.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mary

    Good point Sandra, We all could at least give her daughter some peace after all Whitney did for us with those beautiful songs and memories

    February 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. princess

    My prays goes out to the daughter and the family of whitney may she rest in peace and let us stop this drug and abuse.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
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