While Whitney Houston fans won’t be able to watch the new documentary about the singer, titled Whitney, until July 6, the film makes a shocking allegation regarding the late singer’s past.
The documentary’s director, Kevin Macdonald, tells Vanity Fair that the legendary singer was allegedly abused by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick when she was a child.
Macdonald explains that after watching hundreds of hours of footage of Whitney, he began to suspect that Whitney may have been a victim of abuse “because she was never comfortable in her own skin.”
He explains, “She seemed kind of asexual in a strange way…I’ve…done some filming with people who have suffered childhood sexual abuse, and there was just something about her manner that was reminiscent to me of that sort of shrinking — a lack of comfort in her own physicality.”
Macdonald wasn’t sure that he was correct, but he tells Vanity Fair, “Shortly after…someone did tell me off the record about being told by Whitney about being abused, and it being one of the central reasons behind her self-torture. It took awhile for anyone to go on record about it, and eventually the family did.”
The movie claims that both Houston and her half-brother, Gary, were molested as kids by their cousin Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick‘s sister, who was the niece of Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston. In the film, Gary says the abuse occurred when Cissy, a professional singer, would leave Whitney, Gary and their brother Michael with relatives while she toured.
Macdonald says two weeks after the film was finished, he got an on-the-record confirmation from Mary Jones, Whitney’s longtime assistant, that Dee Dee Warwick had abused Whitney.
Mary Jones says in the movie that Whitney never told her mother about the alleged abuse, noting, “I think she was ashamed…she used to say, ‘I wonder if I did something to make [Dee Dee] think I wanted her.’”
Macdonald says Cissy Houston has been told about the allegations and is “very upset.” However, he notes, “She had nothing to do with it. She knew nothing about it. We definitely don’t want any repercussions for her.”
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