Photo Credit: Anna Krajec/Michael Ochs Archives
The six-time Grammy winner was one of the most successful recording artists of all time, selling more than 200 million copies of her singles and albums. Her career boasts an incredible 11 no. 1 hits, including her all-time chart-topper, "I Will Always Love You," which is currently the top download on iTunes.
But even though The Bodyguard soundtrack won the Grammy for album of the year and remains the best-selling soundtrack of all time, that doesn't mean that Houston's estate, which will presumably pass down to her 18-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina, is benefiting as much as one would expect.
Unlike Michael Jackson, whose death spurred posthumous sales of the King of Pop's albums to reach 35 million, Houston does not own any publishing rights to her work, because she didn't write her own songs. That means her estate's cut of the revenue from all those downloads and sales is considerably less than if she'd also written the tracks.
In fact, one person who stands to receive an unexpected windfall from renewed interest in Houston's music is Dolly Parton. Parton, of course, is responsible for writing "I Will Always Love You" and owns the song.
"When Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs," Parton joked to Anderson Cooper in a CNN interview last month.
There are rumors that the late pop diva, who once commanded $10 million for a single film role (The Preacher's Wife), earned $33 million the year after The Bodyguard debuted and made hundreds of millions on her concert tours, may have owed more money than she had in the bank.
"There were certainly rumors that Whitney Houston died broke and she didn't have any significant financial impact in the last couple years of her life," Forbes writer Zack O'Malley Greenburg tells E! News. "It's been a while since she has put out an album and been on tour, so one could see why towards the end of her life she would be running a bit low on cash."