On Feb. 11, 2012, Whitney Houston passed away — and left the world broken-hearted. Shockingly, though, the Whitney Houston estate was in the red for more than $20 million at the time of her passing. This is despite the fact that she sold more than 100 million albums in her lifetime, and is the top-selling female R&B artist of the 20th century (according to the RIAA).
A report by the New York Daily News says that, “Decades of narcotics use took such a toll on the R&B queen, who once sold more than 170 million albums.” The outlet also noted that, “She was leaning heavily on her mentor, music mogul Clive Davis, for financial help to keep her homes in New Jersey and Atlanta out of foreclosure,” and he reportedly loaned her $1.2 million to get out of debt.
The Whitney Houston estate, therefore, was in a financial hole in 2012. But, in a twist of fate, her passing resulted in an extreme album and song sales spike: she sold 3.7 million albums and 4.3 million singles worldwide in the first ten months of 2012. With money coming in, and no one to spend it, it didn’t take long for the estate to get back into the black.
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Today, the Whitney Houston estate is worth more than $14 million — and is getting ready to be worth more thanks to an upcoming hologram tour and Vegas residency. Here’s what we know about her reversal of fortune.
How Much Is The Whitney Houston Estate Worth?
If you believe Celebrity Net Worth, the motivation for the hologram tour — however creepy it may seem — becomes very evident.
The outlet reports that at the time of her passing, Whitney Houston had a negative net worth — in other words, she was in debt for more than $20 million. This debt was despite the fact that in her lifetime, Houston sold more than 100 million albums.
After she passed, sales of her albums and songs spiked exponentially, and today, Whitney Houston’s estate is worth more than $14 million, according to Billboard.
Who Is The Executor Of The Whitney Houston Estate?
Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law, is the primary executor of the Whitney Houston estate. She shares the responsibilities with Cissy Houston — Whitney’s mother — and Whitney’s brothers, Gary and Michael.
Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was set to be the executor of her estate before her untimely passing in 2015.
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Was The Whitney Houston Estate Behind The Hologram?
No matter how creepy you think the hologram is, the short answer is, yes, the Whitney Houston estate not only knew about it, but is profiting off of it.
Back in 2018, Pat Houston — Whitney Houston’s sister-in-law — told The New York Times that the estate was planning to drop a “hologram tour” as part of its offerings.
That’s thanks to the estate’s deal with Primary Wave Entertainment, which got — amongst other things — the right to “exploit her image and likeness,” to the tune of $14 million.
“Exploit,” of course, being the operative word.
“Whitney was America’s sweetheart, and the idea now is to remind people that that is what her legacy is,” said Larry Mestel, founder of Primary Wave, to the Times.