Whitney Houston believed she was being extorted for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the early '90s, according to FBI documents released in accordance with a Freedom of Information Act request.
The records — all redacted — indicate that Houston and her father, John Houston, were contacted in November of 1992 by a Chicago-based lawyer representing the unidentified person with "knowledge of intimate details regarding" the now-deceased singer's "romantic relationship." Unless "an extortion demand" of $250,000 was paid, the individual threatened to go public with the information.
Months earlier, John Houston — who was also the CEO of his daughter's management company, Nippy, Inc. — had sent the anonymous individual a confidentiality agreement that promised an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for a signature.
"You are seeking to secure valuable rights," the individual's attorney wrote in a response. After explaining that her client had already turned down "several offers" in the "six figures range," the letter states, "we would expect a similar offer from you."
By January of 1993, a letter from the investigating agent to the United States Attorney reveals "no evidence that a federal criminal law had been violated." Therefore, prosecution was never pursued. It's unclear from the information made available in the documents whether or not Houston ever made any payments to the party she believed to be extorting her.
Before that investigation, the FBI pursued another possible extortion case but failed to find any criminal activity. Houston had received over 70 letters from an obsessed fan and one of those, sent from a Vermont address in 1988, crossed the line.
"The line in question referred to his considering making his love for Houston public through the National Enquirer or on 'The Phil Donahue Show,'" a New York agent wrote to Vermont's U.S. Attorney.
An interview with the man, "best described as being a loner," yielded that he had no intention of following through with his "crazy idea," so no charges were filed.
Whitney Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012. She was 48.