had to always reassure them, and educate them, and be honest with them. I’ve always been honest with them about their father’s addiction. I had to also prepare them for the reality of what would be coming out in the press, as far as their aunt was concerned.
EBONY: Are you concerned about any backlash from the Houston family, talking about some of those issues now?
MH: Not really, because I’ve been through so much with them. I basically raised my kids on my own. I’ve had a lot of different issues with my ex-husband and his wife over the years. Mrs. Houston doesn’t speak to me after I did speak out publicly about six years ago about some of the issues that I was having. I also made comments on the “Being Bobby Brown” reality show. So the relationship between my kids and the Houstons has not been a straight line. Whatever relationship they choose to have with their family in the future … I don’t feel that I could negatively affect something that hasn’t been fluid to start with. I told my kids that they have had a lifetime to get to know my children and the door was always open for access. This information I’m revealing is kind of like ‘don’t kill the messenger.’ It’s hard to hear, and a lot of people don’t want to hear it, but it’s the truth. And sometimes the truth is painful.
EBONY: What are you hoping happens after this interview?
MH: Well my hope is for the next generation in the Houston family. I can’t really hold a lot of hope for the adults. I think a lot of the adults in the family have had a responsibility to have healthier relationships within the family and they haven’t. So I really would hope my kids and their cousins would be able to take some of the information and apply it to their lives and move forward. I hope Bobbi Kris can find a healthier lifestyle in the future. I don’t’ know what environment she is in, but that’s one reason why I came forward. I just felt like some of the denial and some of the covering, which is part of enabling, it has to stop now—not only for my children’s benefit but for her wellbeing going forward.
EBONY: You’ve expressed concern for Bobbi Kristina. Are you thinking she’s jumping into the business too soon?
MH: If this is what she wants, I believe in educating yourself or framing or studying your craft if that’s what she wants to do. I think that she does need some type of focus as far as something to do with her life and direction and I was really pleased that somebody like Tyler Perry did reach out to her. He would be an excellent mentor for her as far as some of the things he’s been through, how he’s come through and how he’s flourished. I think she could learn a lot from his story, as far as survival and recovery—that may help her. I just felt that the Oprah interview was just a little too soon, as far as timing.
EBONY: Do you have a relationship with Bobbi Kristina?
MH: No, I don’t. When I walked away, I walked away. I didn’t expect to have any continuing relationships, necessarily. I did have one with Mrs. Houston, but that fell apart. And the only thing I’ve wanted was that my children have those healthy relationships—which sometimes did not happen.
EBONY: Are they close with your ex-husband?
MH: Not at all. Not at all. That’s really, right now—in my opinion—a toxic relationship.
EBONY: What’s something you would love for the world to know about your former sister-in-law? What’s something that maybe wasn’t as obvious to the rest of us as was to you?
MH: She just had a great sense of humor and she loved to laugh. And you know, that’s the thing that I think about the most —when she was relaxed at home it was all a bunch of laughter and jokes and being silly—especially with her brothers, and her brother Michael. So that’s the biggest thing. She loved her nieces and her nephews. She loved having children around. When she would be backstage—either coming off stage or going on—when the kids were little, she liked to sit them on her lap, and I think that calmed her down a lot. So just the fun-loving person that she was.And one thing that I wish that she could have done was continue acting, and even have been in a comedy cause she just had that wit that a lot of people didn’t get to see.