I do not believe in curses.
But the unfolding tragedy involving Bobbi Kristina Brown looks like one.
Last week, the 21-year-old Brown — the only daughter of singers Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston — was found “unresponsive” in the bathtub at her Atlanta home. Throughout the week, there were conflicting media reports about Brown’s condition. At one point family members told reporters Brown was “fighting for her life.”
I figured there would be drama after a movie about Whitney Houston recently aired on Lifetime TV.
Instead of focusing on Houston’s achievements, the movie served up a rehash of the famous singer’s drug use and her chaotic marriage to Brown, an R&B singer. As a Houston fan, I was disturbed by the one-sided account. I can only imagine the pain Bobbi Kristina felt.
Still, no one could imagine that Brown would end up face-down in a bathtub just like her mother did nearly three years ago. Such a fate is too macabre — even in a world where so many accomplished movie stars have snorted and drunk themselves to death.
I always felt sorry for Houston’s daughter. She wasn’t blessed with her mother’s supermodel looks or her remarkable talent, but seemed content just to bask in her mother’s glow.
Still, it had to be tough growing up in a dysfunctional family where every misstep played out in the tabloids.
Early on, you could see the challenges Brown would face in womanhood. Obviously, because of her parents’ acknowledged drug use, Brown grew up in a chaotic household. Despite being surrounded by luxury, she had to overcome the same obstacles that trip up disadvantaged children whose parents use drugs.
Volunteers who mentor such youth often say they become discouraged because their efforts seem be too little, too late. In the end, the most influential role model in a young person’s life is often a wayward parent.
That’s one reason so many of the young men who are locked up in prison have parents who have been incarcerated. And why a young girl who has witnessed her mother being abused by a partner often ends up enduring the same ill treatment later in life.
Police in Roswell, Georgia, have not confirmed whether illegal drugs were found at Brown’s home, and I won’t speculate about that here. But it wouldn’t be a shock if Bobbi Kristina wrestled with the same demons that snuffed out her mother’s bright light.
As eerie as it is that Brown seems to have re-enacted the horrible circumstances that took her mother’s life, the aftermath of this tragedy is even eerier.
Several news sources are reporting that Bobby Brown, who himself was ostracized by his famous wife’s family, is now rejecting the claim that his daughter married a close family friend, Nick Gordon, in 2013.
“To correct earlier reports, Bobbi Kristina is not and never has been married to Nick Gordon,” said Christopher Brown of Brown and Rosen LLC, legal counsel to Bobby Brown, ABC News reported on Wednesday.
The dispute sets the stage for a battle over Brown’s estate, estimated to be about $20 million.
This unfolding tragedy touches my heart, because it crystallizes a common failure when it comes to parenting.
Although mothers are often accused of “raising their daughters and loving their sons,” that isn’t always the case.
Most mothers want to protect their daughters from the hardships they encountered. But some of us hold our daughters so close, we end up making them co-dependent.
That seems to be what happened to Bobbi Kristina.
Despite her wealth and family support, she simply didn’t have what she really needed to build a life of her own.