Diane Sawyer's oft-delayed interview with Whitney Houston took place last night in Atlanta -- just hours after Houston's husband, Bobby Brown, was released from jail on drug and traffic charges.

Brown's early morning arrest nearly derailed the interview that had reportedly become a series of headaches for Sawyer, according to sources.

Sawyer flew to Atlanta early yesterday and had Houston in front of a camera by late afternoon.

The interview is scheduled to air in early December, an ABC spokesman said yesterday.

Houston agreed to the interview several weeks ago, but negotiations over where and when the sit-down would take place had been rocky, according to reports.

The couple has not talked publicly since they had several much-publicized brushes with the law.

Houston apparently agreed to the interview in order to publicize Just Whitney, her first CD in four years.

Sources said Sawyer had not planned to interview Brown in the first place, but his arrest early yesterday made the talk even more timely.

The interview is expected to be wide-ranging and Houston has much to talk about. Last month, Houston's father sued her, claiming she owed his company management fees that were never paid.

The diva also set off a tidal wave of gossip in September 2001, when she showed up for a Michael Jackson benefit looking alarmingly gaunt.

In January 2000, she was caught with a half-ounce of marijuana in Hawaii. Pot-possession charges were later dismissed after Houston copped a plea deal.

Brown's last brush with the law was in 2000, when he spent two months in a Florida prison for violating his parole on a 1996 drunken-driving conviction.

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