"Where Do Broken Hearts Go" is the fourth single from Whitney Houston's second album, Whitney. The ballad was released in February 1988. The song was written by Frank Wildhorn and Chuck Jackson and produced by Narada Michael Walden. Wildhorn approached Jackson about the opportunity to write for Whitney Houston. He gave him the title, and Wildhorn completed the music and lyrics for the song.
Initially, Houston did not want to record the song, feeling there was no special message to convey. However, Arista Records CEO Clive Davis believed the song would go to number one if she recorded it, so she agreed. It indeed became a number one, Houston's seventh consecutive one in the United States.
"Where Do Broken Hearts Go," released off Whitney as the fourth single in February 1988, debuted at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, the issue date of February 27, 1988. Within four weeks of its release, the single reached the top ten on the chart, and finally peaked at number one in nine weeks of chart action, the issue dated April 23, 1988, making Houston the only artist in pop history with seven consecutive No. 1 hits. In addition, she became the first female artist to achieve four number-one singles from one album, Whitney. To date, only five albums by women including Houston's, have yielded four Hot 100 number-one hits; Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl in 1988, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989, Mariah Carey's self-titled debut in 1990 and Katy Perry's Teenage Dream in 2010. Houston also holds the title for the most number one hits (7) by a female artist in the 1980s, shared only by Madonna. The song stayed on the top for two weeks and spent 18 weeks on the chart. It entered the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (formerly "Hot Black Singles") at number 60, the issue date of March 5, 1988 and nine weeks later reached a peak of number two, becoming Houston's ninth R&B top five hit. On the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart, the single peaked at number one, the issue dated April 2, 1988, and remained there for three weeks, making it her sixth No. 1 single on the chart. It was ranked number 33 and 47, on the Billboard Top Pop and Top Black Singles year-end charts for 1988, respectively. The single also placed at number two on the Top Adult Contemporary Singles year-end chart of the same year. In Canada, the song entered RPM Top 100 Singles chart at number 76, the issue date of March 5, 1988, and peaked at number six on the chart on May 14, 1988, becoming Houston's eighth top ten hit in the country.
Worldwide, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" was not as commercially successful as her previous singles from the album Whitney. The single debuted at number 30 on the UK Singles Chart, the week ending date of March 12, 1988, and three weeks later reached a peak of number 14 on the chart. In Ireland, it peaked at number two, the highest chart position of the song outside the United States. The song also reached number 48 in Australia, number 24 in Italy, number 47 in the Netherlands, and number 23 in New Zealand.
The music video (directed by Peter Israelson) features Houston breaking up with a boyfriend and reflecting on happy memories; asking herself the title question, "where do broken hearts go?" At the conclusion of the music video, the couple reunites.
The video was moderately controversial since the ambiguous ethnic background of Houston's love interest highlighted the racial sensitivities that accompanied Houston's success during the 1980s. The singer had been criticized for "selling out" and "acting white." A mostly-black audience jeered when "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" was nominated for an award at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards.