Monday 21 May 2018

Houston was 'sexually abused by her cousin'

‘Whitney’ director Kevin Macdonald (centre) in Cannes with executive producers Nicole David (front, right) and Pat Houston (centre,left) and producers Lisa Erspamer (right) and Rayah Houston (left).. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
‘Whitney’ director Kevin Macdonald (centre) in Cannes with executive producers Nicole David (front, right) and Pat Houston (centre,left) and producers Lisa Erspamer (right) and Rayah Houston (left).. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Harriet Alexander in Cannes

Whitney Houston was sexually abused by her cousin, the late American soul singer Dee Dee Warwick, according to a new documentary which premiered at Cannes.

'Whitney', by Kevin Macdonald, is the story of the singer's life, authorised by her family. Houston died in a bath at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2012, aged 48.

Gary Garland, her brother, speaks of their childhood and said his greatest trauma was being molested "by a female relative" between the ages of seven and nine.

Mary Jones, Houston's assistant and the person who found her body, said Houston told her the same thing.

She recalled Houston saying: "Mary, I was too. It was a woman."

Ms Jones, asked if the person was named, replied: "It was Dee Dee Warwick."

Houston never told her mother Cissy out of fear of the repercussions.

"I think she was ashamed," said Ms Jones, adding the abuse made Whitney Houston "question her sexual preference" - there have long been rumours in the pop world the star was bisexual - and hid that she was gay in favour of marrying a man.

Houston endured a tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown from 1992 to 2007, which was famed for violent outbursts and abuse.

Their daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown died in 2015 aged 22, being found - like her mother - dead in a bath.

Macdonald, who won the Oscar for best documentary with his 1999 film 'One Day in September', said he was initially not interested in Houston but discovered "something deeply troubling and mysterious about her".

Irish Independent

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment