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Bobby Brown opens up about the drug-related deaths of his children and Whitney Houston

Brown sat down on Wednesday's episode of "Red Table Talk" to talk about the recent loss of his son, Bobby Brown Jr.
/ Source: TODAY

Bobby Brown is opening up on the latest episode of "Red Table Talk" on Facebook Watch about the drug-related deaths of his children and Whitney Houston.

In the episode, Brown, 52, sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris to talk about the recent loss of his son, Bobby Brown Jr.

The 27-year-old, whom he shared with Kim Ward, died of an accidental overdose of cocaine, fentanyl and alcohol in November 2020.

"Losing (my son) was very, very unexpected, just like losing my daughter," Brown said, referring to his daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who died in 2015. "We were just in the studio two nights before. It was something that hit me really, really hard. He was a musician, played piano, played drums, he was a great writer. He was a teacher and learner. He learned from everybody that he was around and he taught just as much as he learned."

"He was someone that I just admired him as a young man and how he grew up. He just wanted to be a part of something that was going to be special. His smile, when he smiled, he just brightened up a room."

BET And Toyota Present The Premiere Screening Of "The Bobby Brown Story" - Arrivals
Bobby Brown Jr. and Bobby Brown attend the premiere screening of "The Bobby Brown Story" at Paramount Theatre on Aug. 29, 2018 in Hollywood.Phillip Faraone / WireImage

On his son's apparent drug use, Brown clarified, "He wasn't a user."

"He would experiment with different things," he added. "It wasn't like he was dependent on drugs like when I was in my situation. I depended. I needed it. He was a young man that tried the wrong stuff, and it took him out of here.”

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, and is among "the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States."

On young people who may be experimenting with substances "to get as high as they can possibly get," Brown explained these actions are "a real problem because they don't know what these drugs are being mixed with these days."

On the selling of synthetic drugs, Smith said, "And there have been so many deaths specifically with fentanyl. It’s just skyrocketed. My generation is kind of spiraling.”

“There's murderers out there right now that are creating these synthetic drugs that are killing these kids," Brown replied. "It's like they're committing murder. It's homicide.”

"I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed (that) they find the people and get these drugs off the street, but my babies are gone," he said. "I've been through my time and I know that my time played a part in my son feeling he could test something. You know? And I feel guilty about that.”

Image: Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston performing on stage at Wembley Arena in London on September 3, 1991.Ian Dickson / Redferns

Brown also reflected on his tumultuous relationship with Houston. The two were married from 1992 to 2007. Houston died tragically in 2012. The official cause of her death was drowning and "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use," according to a report released by the L.A. County Department of the Coroner.

“You and Whitney had an abusive, volatile relationship," Pinkett Smith said to him, to which he responded, “The violence that we incurred was using (drugs), you know? That's violence in itself."

He added, “You know, that's abuse. We abused drugs and alcohol. We fought hard verbally and we loved even harder.”

Image: Whitney Houston Performs In Milan
Bobbi Kristina Brown at her mother's concert in Milan on May 3, 2010.Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

Similar to her mother, Bobbi Kristina was discovered unresponsive in a bathtub. A medical examiner revealed that she died as a result of her face being immersed in water, along with drug intoxication. She was 22.

“It was rough, and it still is rough. I think about it every day,” he said of losing Houston and Bobbi Kristina. “(The pain is) pushed down. I’m keeping it away from me as much as possible because I couldn’t do nothing then and I can’t do anything now.”

"If I don't break this cycle, who is?"


Brown is now 19 years sober from drugs and one year sober from alcohol.

"Going to jail is what got me totally clean off of narcotics," he said. "That was something that – I've never thought I would spend a day in jail, and I went to jail for a DUI.”

Brown says he did 60 days in prison and that "it felt like an eternity.”

He decided to get sober from alcohol when he realized he started losing bodily function and needed alcohol just to wake up.

"My body started shutting down because I was drinking that much. My body just was giving out on me," he said. "Even with alcohol, I got to a point where I needed it. I wasn't getting drunk anymore. I wasn't getting a little tipsy anymore. I needed it to wake up. I needed it to stop the shakes and to function on a day-to-day basis.”

Today, Brown swears by 12-step programs to help people with their recoveries. Now the father to three young children with wife Alicia Etheredge, who joined him during Wednesday's episode of Red Table Talk, Brown hopes to set a better example now that he has another chance at fatherhood.

"If I don't break this cycle, who is?" he asked.