Whitney Houston had a third VIP listening party for her long-awaited comeback album “I Look To You” in Beverly Hills last week, complete with a star-studded audience that included Halle Berry, Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow.
“I’m back home,” she told the crowd of her mini promotional push that included stops in London and New York. “I’m back home where I belong.”
Magic Johnson, Penny Marshall and model Beverly Johnson were also among the celebrities packed inside a ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel to hear nine songs from the new album, which is due Sept. 1. But it was Jane Fonda’s presence in the front row that left Houston the most star-struck.
“When they told me you were here tonight, I almost croaked,” Houston said to the Oscar winner after the two embraced. “I was like, ‘Jane Fonda is at my listening party? How cool am I?'”
Sony music head and Houston’s mentor Clive Davis hosted the evening, as he did the previous two. Among the songs Davis introduced and played for the crowd were the Alicia Keys-written “Million Dollar Bill,” the up-tempo “Nothing But Love,” the ballad “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” the island song duet with Akon “Like I Never Left,” and the title track, one of two collaborations with suspected pedophile R. Kelly.
The album took about three and a half years. “For the years we were apart, I felt kind of lost,” Houston said to Davis, referring to her troubled past. “But I’m home where I truly belong, don’t ya think?”
Pointing to Bobbi Kristina, her daughter with ex-husband Bobby Brown, Houston smiled, “There’s my baby, my inspiration. Mama loves you so much.”
Looking out to Berry, Houston cooed, “How’s the baby?”
“Fantastic,” Berry said.