Designer Outfits Whitney Houston Sold to Pay Off Debts, Now in High Demand
Whitney Houston was forced to sell many of her designer items because she was so strapped for cash.
In 2007, Houston put hundreds of her famous custom-made stage outfits on the auction block. There were even 13 Dolce and Gabbana bustiers.
It was an embarrassing time for Houston. She'd just finished a stint in rehab, filed for divorce from Bobby Brown, and almost lost her estate in New Jersey because she owed over $1 million on the taxes and the mortgage.
She also owed $200,000 in back rent to a storage warehouse. The auction was a last-ditch effort to pay the bill by selling her belongings she had stored inside.
Considering her fame and beauty, the auctioning off of Houston's designer clothes was anything but a glamorous affair. It took place in this warehouse, in the gritty town of Irvington, New Jersey, not far from Newark.
INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent asked Michael Skylar, president of A.J. Willner Auctions LLC, "Did these things bring in a lot of money?"
"The average price was between $500 and $1,000," said Skylar.
The most valuable item in the auction was a see-through grand concert piano, worth a reported $400,000. But it sold for only $12,000, a sign of Houston's diminished starpower at the time.
Deborah Burke of Connecticut bought 50 of the outfits to sell on her website, antiquedress.com. Many sat in her closet unsold for years, but since Houston's death people can't get enough of memorabilia, and all but three have now been sold.
"I have pieces going to England, I have a piece going to Germany. I had to turn people away, sadly, that were asking for things that were just sold already. It was just a crazy, crazy time," said Burke.