Whitney Houston Was in Millions of Dollars of Debt at Time of Death
Despite selling over 200 million albums and singles throughout her career, Houston was reportedly broke at the time of her death last month, and owed her label Sony Music tens of millions of dollars. So if you think she left buckets of money to her sole heir, think again.
While sales and downloads of Houston's music increased in the wake of her death, which is often the case in these situations, her daughter won't see any of the residuals or royalty checks until the debts are paid off and that could take quite some time.
According to their sources, The Daily reports that when Houston signed a deal with Sony in 2001 for $100 million and six albums, her reserves were pretty much dry. However, as is customary with label deals, Houston only saw about $40 million, since the label fronts the money and then her album sales would have to recoup against the advance. And it's well known that her 2000-era albums didn't sell like her 1980s-era albums did. It's likely that Houston owed the label at least $20 million.
Houston's earning potential was significantly hampered after her father died. She didn't have a proper manager and her drug problems not only wiped out her income, but it prevented her from recording and performing, and caused problems with her voice. So it was a vicious cycle. She didn't take advantage of other possible revenue outlets, either.
Since Houston didn't write her songs, she also received less of a cut.
Judging from all these details, Houston was in somewhat of financial ruin when she passed.