Bobby Brown is known as much for his music as his explosive marriage to Whitney Houston. Before meeting the late singer, however, Brown knew Alicia Etheredge, the woman he now calls “wife” and credits for turning his life around.
With Bobby’s highly publicized life experiences, one can say the R&B singer has been to hell and back. Bobby and Whitney’s marriage will likely go down in history as one of the most volatile celebrity relationships of all time.
Bobby Brown attends BET's screening of The New Edition Story on Jan. 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois | Photo: Getty Images
Fraught with allegations of drug use, the union ended in divorce after 15 years and a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, born in 1993. Whitney filed for legal separation in 2006, and their divorce was finalized a year later.
That was when Alicia came into the picture, but it wasn’t the first time she and Bobby would meet.
Alicia Etheredge & Bobby Brown at Will.I.Am's Annual TRANS4M Concert on Feb. 7, 2013 in Hollywood | Photo: Getty Images
During a 2012 "Access Hollywood" interview quoted by PEOPLE, the New Edition band member recalled meeting Alicia in his teens.
“We met many years ago, many years ago. I believe I was about 18, and we were at a dance place, where people just go and work out their new moves. …I met her there, and we became friends, we all hung out.”
“The Bobby Brown Story” alsorevealed
that Alicia was a guest at Bobby and Whitney’s 1992 wedding.
“Then I ended up getting married,” Bobby continued. “And after me getting divorced, for some strange reason, I saw her again, and sparks flew.”
At the time they reconnected, Bobby’s career seemed to be on a steady decline, no thanks to his “bad boy” image and scandal-riddled first marriage.
Speaking to PEOPLE in 2011, the “Don’t Be Cruel” hitmaker confessed that Alicia was a huge part of his life transformation, saying she helped him get “his passion back for music, for loving myself.”
“I’m a better person, so I can be a better partner and father,” he added. “She makes me want to live.” As it turned out, Alicia’s help and support would be needed more than ever in the years to come.
Per the Dayton Daily News, Bobby, 50, proposed to Alicia, 46, in May 2010 while performing at the Funk Fest in Jacksonville, Florida. At the time, the couple already had an 11-month-old son, Cassius.
Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown at "Whitney Houston''s All-Star Holiday Gala" in New York on Dec. 4, 1999 | Photo: Getty Images
Bobby was “deeply saddened” by his ex-wife’s death, but it was nothing compared to his grief when, three years later, their daughter Bobbi was also found unconscious in her bathtub.
Bobbi was placed in a medically-induced coma but would later pass away on July 26, 2015, just 17 days after Alicia welcomed her and Bobby’s daughter Bodhi Jameson Rein Brown.
Late Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown and their daughter, late Bobbi Kristina at Disneyland on Aug. 7, 2004 | Photo: Getty Images
The "My Prerogative" singer was beyond devastated and even reportedly suffered a drug abuse relapse. It was Alicia’s love, among other things, that helped Bobby get back on track.
He gushed about her to ESSENCE in 2018:
“My happiness definitely comes from us falling in love, me finding real love, me finding what I needed in life to transition to the next level of the man I’m going to be. She’s my peace. She’s my muse. She’s my everything.”
Beyond the emotional support she provides, Alicia has also been managing Bobby’s career since 2008 after previously working with big names like Macy Gray and Magic Johnson. “She’s just a brilliant lady,” the Grammy winner reportedly raved of his wife in 2012.
Speaking of their business partnership, Alicia told ABC’s Robin Roberts in 2016 that there were times when they didn’t agree on things. “Yes, there is always conflict at times that arises,” she said. “And I think it’s just when the two overlap.”
Opinion differences, nonetheless, Alicia remains committed to being Bobby’s pillar of support through life’s challenges.
“When you’re living with somebody who has fought so many addictions and has come so far. …you just want to help them and support them,” she shared with ABC News.
Bobby and Alicia have since welcomed a third child, daughter Hendrix Estelle Brown, on July 21, 2016.
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