Bobby Brown is well known for many things: his 1988 new-jack-swing hit, “My Prerogative,” his marriage to Whitney Houston, his tabloid ubiquity, and his run-ins with the law over drug use and wife abuse. But can you ever really understand what it’s like to “be” Bobby Brown? Well, maybe, if you watch his new reality show, Being Bobby Brown. Adam Sternbergh spoke to Brown about corralling his famous spouse and being, you know, him.
So who approached whom? How did the show come about?
Just from wanting to, you know, do something. It didn’t take much. Some friends of mine brought the idea to me when I first got out of jail.
And where did the central idea come from? “Being” Bobby Brown?
That’s what it is. I’m just being me, on an everyday basis. Everybody wants to know what Bobby Brown is doing, so I figured I’d give it to them without the middleman.
Most celebrity reality shows strive to make the stars look like regular folks. But you show what it’s like to be famous, with people hounding you and gawking at you all the time.
That’s my life. That’s how it is.
Of course, the fact that you were being followed by a camera crew must have attracted even more attention than usual.
People that walk by me, it’s like a camera anyway. This is just more people seeing me at the same time.
During filming, did you ever think, This was a mistake?
There were times when, you know, enough is enough. But I was able to make that decision at my convenience. When it was time, you know, to go to bed with my lady. Y’all don’t need to be up in that.
Is there another reality show you’ve seen that you’ve liked?
Nah. I may have seen—what’s his name?—Ozzy, a few times. But that show’s nothing like ours. This is a whole different household.
Was it hard to persuade your family to be involved?
My family are characters. They’re funny. They’ve been waiting for something like this.
How about Whitney?
When she saw me and my kids having so much fun, she didn’t want to be left out. At times when I didn’t think she’d want to be there, she’d pop up.
She winds up playing a large role in the show. Was there ever any talk of changing the title to Being Bobby and Whitney?
It was my idea to do the show.
So she was happy playing a secondary role?
She is Bobby. I am Whitney. There’s no difference.
I have to ask about the Britney Spears cover of “My Prerogative.”
What did you think of it?
I loved the video.
How about the song?
Why try to fix something that ain’t broke? That’s what I say. But I’m grateful someone covered a song of mine. The check wasn’t bad either.