Why People Believe This Was Whitney Houston's Final Meal

Whitney Houston was one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed vocalists in popular music history. She sold more than 200 million records, with the high point of her career coming in 1992. That year, she starred in the movie "The Bodyguard," for which she also provided the soundtrack. Her cover version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," which featured in the film, became one of the biggest-selling singles of all time, cementing her megastar status.

Sadly, despite her success Houston's life was plagued by drug addiction, which was reportedly a contributing factor in her tragic death on February 11, 2012, an accidental drowning that occurred in the bathtub of her hotel room in Beverley Hills. She was just 48 years old, and her death caused a sensation in the tabloids, such as the celebrity gossip portal TMZ, who made it their utmost priority to find out exactly what Houston had been doing in her final moments. Through images taken of her hotel room and testimony from staff at the hotel where she died, the outlet was able to report her last meal: a burger and fries plus a turkey sandwich with jalapenos, ordered through room service.

A tabloid revelation

Details of Whitney Houston's final moments came into the public arena through the tabloids among reports of the singer's tragic death. TMZ claimed to have spoken to sources within Houston's family who helped paint a picture of her last meal. Per the outlet, Houston had first eaten the burger and fries in her suite before taking a bath. A photo shows a table with empty plates and a metallic lid, suggesting the food came from room service. The plates are also surrounded by numerous alcoholic beverages including what TMZ claims are cans of beer and a glass of champagne, suggesting the star had been somewhat intoxicated before her death.

A second image, reportedly taken after Houston's body had been removed, shows the tragic scene in the bathroom in which she lost her life. The photo shows a tray containing another covered room service platter, which the outlet says contained the turkey sandwich and jalapenos. Houston reportedly took the food into the bathroom to eat after taking her fateful bath.

Challenging images

The photos taken from within the hotel room where Whitney Houston spent her dying moments were as sensational as they were deeply shocking. For every person who gawped at them in amazement, others criticized the publication of such intimate and lurid images related to the final meal and death of a beloved star.

Two months after news of her death hit the headlines — and TMZ published those photos from inside her hotel suite — the artist Thomas Demand revealed his satirical work, "Junior Suite," which recreates the contentious images of Houston's final meal using colored paper. "The proliferation of that kind of image at the time when she was not even in the coffin amazed me," the artist told The New York Times. "It amazed me that it would ever have been released."

It might be said that public interest in the death of such an icon as Whitney Houston ultimately drove the tabloid intrusion into her final moments; where there is supply, there must be a demand. Indeed, in 2012, the year of Houston's death, her name was googled more times than any other person on the planet, according to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).