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. shaine griqua

    Celine Dion wake up, whether Whitney Houston died of drugs or whatever the case it"s life out there, did you bother to support her when she went through difficulties, so lets help one another rather then to critisize, Whitney Houston we love you

    February 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shaine griqua

    And besides for all her life the topic of the ton was her bad days so i will ignore that for now and focus on what she contributed positively, and other celebraties should take into account they are no angels and their times will also arrive

    February 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. shaine hendry griqua

    And besides for all her life the topic of the ton was her bad days so i will ignore that for now and focus on what she contributed positively, and other celebraties should take into account they are no angels and their times will also arrive

    February 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. princess

    This is for those people who are going through this samething.We must learn to live together like brothers or we will perish together like fools.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. doodlebug

    We each walk our own path, and live by our decisions and indecsions. But how right is it to dangle your use of drugs and booze to the world as an acceptable life style a life style your actually getting richer and richer in? No one seeing it for what it really is... until it is too late. Many people use drugs and my guess is many never started out trying to die by them, but they do, one way or the other – they do. We are not perfect, but when we walk ahead and others follow, we have a responsibilty to lead them down the right path. I feel sad that she strayed and was not able to find the right path again, before her breath ceased. I really had hoped she could do this, and it seemed that she was. To me, that is the saddest part of all. I thought she was so very very close.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. princess

    When you pronounce verdicts on others,you open yourself up to the same kind of prosecution from them and from god.not only that,but often we judge in others the very faults we suffer from ourselves,leaving us no room for mercy that we definitely need.so leave the judging to god.so when you see others misbehaving,pray for them,thank god for his mercy which is available to all including you when you need it.do not judge,or you too will be judged!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. princess

    so leave the judging to god.so when you see others misbehaving,pray for them,thank god for his mercy which is available to all including you when you need it.do not judge,or you too will be judged!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. General Dr Bad

    R.I.P. Whitney

    February 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. princess

    Donot judge are you too will be judge.leave the judging to god.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. julie gamble

    Let's have a moment of silence for the passing of our sister whitney r.I.p

    February 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pat pennsylvania

    There is alot of drug and alcohol addiction in this world. First they have to stop denying they have a problem. They have to want to get the help.whitney was an amazing artist.i think we need to let her rest in peace.we love u whitney!!

    February 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lynn wa

    Bobby Brown was Whitney's nitemare. Too bad it wasn't him dead in the tub instead of her. She was a true gift of God.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sharicicle

    She is at peace now! She suffered with addiction for many years and just couldn't get the "no matter what, just for today, WE don't use"!!! BTW, she was NOT in recovery. Wish she would have found a 12 step program. RIP Whitney!!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ENZO


    February 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Judy

    RIP! Whitney no matter what happened your in a better place you star died way too soon;May the grace of God be with your daughter and family and friend's. Everyone has an addition it's sad that's people are still disrespecting you in death. A lot of stars died to drug addition's whatever the chose of drug was; Elvis, Jim HIendricks Jancie Jopplin, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson and still nothing is done to legalized drugs.

    The US is the largest drug pumping industry its just too easy to get maybe if the president can crack down on illegal operation of drugs and make doctor's accountable for illegal prescribing them no matter who the person then maybe a life can be saved.

    February 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
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