Robert Barisford Brown (born February 5, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer and actor. Brown, alongside frequent collaborator Teddy Riley, is noted as a pioneer of new jack swing: a fusion of hip hop and R&B. Brown started his career in the R&B and pop group New Edition, from its inception in 1981 until his exit from the group in December 1985.
Starting a solo career, Brown enjoyed commercial and critical success with his second album Don’t Be Cruel (1988) which spawned five Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles including the number one hit “My Prerogative“, and the Grammy Award-winning “Every Little Step“. In 1989, Brown contributed two songs to the soundtrack of Ghostbusters II. In 1992, Brown married singer Whitney Houston, with whom he had a daughter named Bobbi Kristina Brown. The couple’s drug abuse and domestic disputes made them tabloid fodder.
Brown’s next album Bobby (1992) spawned several hit singles including “Humpin’ Around“, “Get Away“, and “Good Enough”. However, sales of Bobby did not match its predecessor. Some surmise that this may have been due to Brown’s recent marriage to Houston, and his decision to take a break from the business for reasons involving his marriage and impending new-fatherhood.
Brown also starred in films such as A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Two Can Play That Game. He returned to New Edition for a reunion album and tour from 1996 to 1997, and returned with all six members for another stint in 2005. Brown and Houston starred in the 2005 reality show Being Bobby Brown, and divorced two years later in 2007.