Whitney Houston Turned Down 5-Year Contract For Denise Huxtable Role On ‘The Cosby Show’ Because She Knew She Was Going To Become A Successful Singer

Whitney Houston, The Cosby Show

Whitney Houston Turned Down 5-Year Contract For Denise Huxtable Role On ‘The Cosby Show’ Because She Knew She Was Going To Become A Successful Singer

Whitney Houston almost had a totally different career.

Actor Darryl M. Bell sees himself as the keeper of all things “small, statistical, little known, intriguing, amusing, and unbelievable” in relation to A Different World. During an appearance on Jada Pinkett Smith‘s Red Table Talk, he disclosed that Grammy-Award-winning Whitney Houston almost played the part of Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show spinoff.

Darryl M. Bell, who played Ron on the NBC sitcom A Different World, said,

“Now I’m sure everyone knows there’s a Cosby, A Different World connection. And what most people don’t know is that there were two actresses who would be considered for that role of Denise. When The Cosby Show was originally being cast, the role of Denise came down to Lisa Bonet and this other actress. And when they gave this other actress the contract, she said, ‘Oh I can’t do this.’ And they said, ‘Why not?’ She said, ‘Because it’s a five-year contract.'”

He continued,

“And they’re like, ‘Yeah, but this is Bill Cosby. You know who he is?’ She said, ‘Oh I do, I’m a big fan, but can’t do it.’ They said, ‘Well, why not?’ She said, ‘Because I’m gonna be a singer.’ They said, ‘Well, do you have a record deal?’ She said, ‘No.’ [They asked], ‘Well, why do you think you can sing?’ She said, ‘Because my mother thinks so.'”

The Huxtable family—consisting of doctor Cliff, his lawyer wife Claire, and their five children,—is the focus of The Cosby Show. Bill Cosby‘s observations on family life were the main emphasis of the program, which also covered more serious subjects including learning difficulties and teen pregnancies.

Whitney Houston, the young woman who nearly became Denise Huxtable, went on to become one of the greatest musicians of all time. With almost 400 career honors, including six Grammys and 22 American Music Awards, Whitney Houston holds the Guinness World Record for the most awards given to a female artist. She unintentionally drowned on February 11, 2012, in a bathtub.

Denise Kendall (born Huxtable) is the free-spirited, second-eldest daughter of Cliff and Clair, portrayed by actress/singer Lisa Bonet. Later, she would briefly co-star in the first season of A Different World before rejoining the cast of The Cosby Show.

Lenny Kravitz previously shared that Bill Cosby fired Lisa Bonet from the series because she got pregnant with their daughter (now 34-year-old Zoe Kravitz).

Show producer Debbie Allen Reportedly told Bill Cosby that she liked the idea of Denise deciding to raise a child on her own with the support of her friends.

According to Lenny Kravitz’s account, Cosby didn’t respond but said he’d think about it. He allegedly called back a few days later with his decision, saying,

“Lisa Bonet is pregnant, but Denise Huxtable is not.”

Bonet was subsequently pulled from the show.

Would you have liked to see Whitney Houston as Denise Huxtable? Let us know in the comments!


Authored by: S. G.