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In reality, not the greatest love of all

Published September 14, 2006

LOS ANGELES - After 14 years and two months of marriage - about 14 years, one month and 30 days longer than many thought they would last - Whitney Houston has filed for divorce from Bobby Brown.

The filing is technically a legal separation, publicist Nancy Seltzer told People magazine Wednesday, but "we're saying she filed for divorce because that is (Houston's) intent."

Divorce proceedings are expected to begin next month.

Seltzer said she had nothing to add and that Houston would not make a statement.

Houston and Brown, who wed in July 1992, have had a sometimes tumultuous marriage, and rumors of a breakup have surfaced often over the years.

The couple, who live in Alpharetta, Ga., have one child, a 13-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

When Houston, 43, and Brown, 37, wed, they seemed to be a mismatch. Houston, once one of the bestselling singers in history, was a glamorous pop superstar with a gospel-singing family and a super clean image. Brown, who rose to fame as a member of the boy band New Edition before striking out on his own, was a sometimes coarse R&B singer with a more streetwise persona.

But it has become hard to determine which one is more troubled. Brown has been arrested numerous times for drugs and alcohol problems, and Houston's battles with substance abuse have sullied her image.

Together, the two have been a tabloid editor's dream. When Brown was released from a stretch in jail a few years ago, an ecstatic Houston greeted him by jumping into his arms and throwing her arms and legs around him before a throng of fans and media.

In a now-infamous 2002 ABC interview with Diane Sawyer, an erratic-sounding and wan-looking Houston, with a profusely sweating Brown by her side, admitted dabbling in drugs but denied using crack, then uttered the now famous phrase: "Crack is wack."

The couple separated for a time a few years ago, but their marriage had endured, despite rumors and speculation. Their life was put on display last year with Brown's reality series, Being Bobby Brown, on Bravo. The show actually made Brown look like a stable influence, while a jittery Houston was on display; the couple often crudely talked about their marriage and love life.

Recently, Houston has made attempts to clean up her public image. On Tuesday night, she attended a public event with cousin Dionne Warwick and record mogul and mentor Clive Davis in Beverly Hills. And she is working on an album of new material; she hasn't released a record since 2002.

Brown has been rumored to be involved with Karrine Steffans, a former drug addict who wrote a book, Confessions of a Video Vixen, detailing her sexual exploits with rappers and famous athletes.

"It's a really tricky situation," Steffans told the New York Daily News in August. "(Brown) is my dearest friend. But I'm not saying it's romantic. We won't know what it is till we're ready.

"There's a wife and children involved. I don't want to wreck any marriages. But if a marriage is already wrecked, that's not my fault."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

[Last modified September 14, 2006, 05:54:57]

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