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. Kaci

    Can her family get the woman in the ground before people start pontificating about the dangers of drugs and Whitney's drug use? Jeez, give her family a break with all the chatter.

    February 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*emma

      That so true the things people say just to get a story respect should be first and I see people don't know what that's

      February 14, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. angel jones from virginia

    No matter what any1 saids bout u whitney u will always be a queen 2 me i am 26 years old and i have been listening 2 ur music since i was a lil girl u were the best person ever and u will be miss by many love ya and rest in peace

    February 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Name*Crash

    Oh we can only pray that such wonderful talent that had the gift to hear from Witney (am a fan always have been) we don't ever lose again in the future. Her voice was so beautiful – she had a daughter – she pretty much had it all but she let drugs rule her life for too long like so many others the only thing we can do now is hope that she finally finds peace and we don't lose another performer like her again

    February 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Name*Crash

    And right on again Celine we need more truthfulness about a lot of things that are so horrible and destroying such talent

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

    She may be right, but she is gonna feel awful stupid if drugs were not the cause, and for some reason, i do not think they were. She may have told the truth but only 2 days after her death, i find very tacky to say the least.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rita a great fan of whitney's music

    Whitney and to all victims of fears,love,power and those who tried to search for s little space to be acknowledge,.. No regrets.she had her pains n laughter but it seemed it was too much where to a point it got overflowed. There was no one that could really controlled her as everyone felt she could controll her life thro confidence n the success stories in her career but it was 'unfortunately untrue' . She never had her own strength as after Bobby , she needed a man , someone that she could loved n cherish..like adam n eve.. She wanted a man whom could take her away n protect her, that could wrap her up when she's cold, someoNe that could wipe her tears but there was no one there. She fell and crumbled n the fact is there was no one that can she can vow n listen. Withney was lost of love n love everybody as one but she needed one person to guide n protect her thro sickness n health, but she had in a way given up with her life in total, reasonbeing she continued getting addicted as her reasons of living had long been gone..

    February 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |


    February 14, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Read what you just wrote, and then pause and reflect upon it.
      Also, turn your caps lock off.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fernando

    Sandy... I don't think Celine was talking about the actual cause of Whitney's death, but about the fact that drugs took over her voice, her life in those years of heavy addiction and separated her from her family, love and fans too. And that drugs are very dangerous and have taken many lives in show business. Celine is (apart from being an amazing singer like Whitney was), a fan of Whitney, and she must be trying to accept the fact that Whitney is gone just like many of us fans are. And I don't think she was trying to be disrespectful (and she wasn't BTW), she just spoke as a fan and as a friend.
    RIP Whitney... Hope you now have the peace you needed.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kathie Hansen

    I always thought Whitney was ill prepared for plain old living. She was raised to be a star and missed out on dating and social skills. When I watched her on Bobby Brown show I was struck by how common she seemed compared to her image. It seemed like she needed someone in her life to give her directions, and she chose the wrong one in Bobby

    February 14, 2012 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. sabinabarnes

    Lets just remenber whitney for her voice and what she meant to. Her fans.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. ilikebeingagirl

    GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY.....No one is being disrespectful to the memory of Whitney Houston by commenting on facts that everybody but you seems to know. Not talking about it doesn't change the fact that she was a drug addict.


    February 14, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. sabinabarnes

    We dont know what she went through ,and what drove her over the edge.rip whitney houston.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. sabinabarnes

    To the moron who are you talking to, for all I know you are a drug addict and you yourself is on drugs, so then you know what she went through.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. BlackSwan

    So sad to see such an icon pass away at such a young age. I feel for her family, especially her daughter and mother even though I do not know them. She was a legend. May she rest in peace.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. Zik

    Rest in peace

    February 14, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
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