Of the threatening letters Houston received during her career, one in 1992 was marked “extortion” by the FBI because it demanded that the singer pay $100,000 to prevent “details” of her “private life” from being released. A later letter from the same person demanded $250,000 instead.
Houston reportedly considered the woman who sent the letters a “friend” and had discussed “personal things” with her. Houston’s father, John Houston, sent the woman a confidentiality agreement with an undisclosed amount of money that seemingly was meant to quiet her. The FBI closed that extortion case not long after.
In another instance, an unnamed fan sent Houston more than 79 letters and even threatened to “hurt someone” if he could not meet her. He claimed he would tell the National Enquirer his story to try to get Houston to at least recognize him publicly. Though labeled “extortion” in the FBI files, this situation was deemed not to have any evidence of criminal threats. “He believed this ‘crazy idea’ would have hurt Houston’s reputation so he did not follow through on it,” the FBI report reads.