According to The New York Times, Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, was oblivious to the alleged sexual abuse of her pop icon daughter and son, Gary Garland-Houston until the filming of the newest documentary on the singer’s life, Whitney.
Patricia Houston, Gary’s wife and executive producer of the film, had to reveal the devastating news about the molestations claims to Cissy and inform her that they would be discussed in the movie. “It was deeply a revelation for her. You think about her, and it being a bit overbearing for her to hear — and her kids not telling her. That’s pretty tough to have to deal with,” she told the newspaper.
The alleged abuser was Dee Dee Warwick, Cissy’s niece and the sister of Dionne Warwick. She was 18 years older than Whitney and reportedly molested the children between the ages of 7 and 9, while their mother was on tour. She died in 2008, four years before Whitney’s death.
The abuse appeared to be secret the siblings did not want to share. Kevin MacDonald, director of the documentary, said he was not made aware of the allegations until close to the end of making it. “I was just coming to the end of the edit,” Macdonald told the New York Post. “We had worked on it for about 18 months, and then we heard this bombshell, which redefined the whole thing.”
He also believed that the molestation had much to do with the Grammy-winning singer’s drug use. “I don’t think you can explain anyone’s life from one particular event that’s happened to them. But I think that it’s certainly fair to say that it’s maybe, in my opinion, the major contributor to Whitney’s unhappiness,” MacDonald said. “That and the fact that she never talked about it, and that nobody in the family talked about this and clearly it happened as you’d learned in the film.”
Whitney opened in theaters on July 6.
What's Your Reaction?
Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.