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New documentary reveals Whitney Houston’s tragic lifelong path to self-destruction

Tuesday - 19/06/2018 06:52
MANY assume Whitney Houston’s downward spiral started when she met Bobby Brown — but the seeds were planted much, much earlier, a new documentary reveals.
 
Whitney Houston. Picture: APSource:AP
Whitney Houston. Picture: APSource:AP

EVER since a drug-riddled Whitney Houston drowned in a hotel bath, fans have wondered how the singer got so lost in a world of substance abuse.

Many laid the blame at the door of her cheating and abusive ex-husband, singer Bobby Brown, who would get high with the once seemingly clean-cut artist.

But now an explosive documentary has uncovered dark secrets from Whitney’s past that may have led her to self-medicate in a bid to block out painful memories,The Sun reports.

The film, Whitney, by Scottish director Kevin Macdonald, reveals that the pop legend was sexually abused as a child by a female cousin.

It also tells for the first time how she struggled to get over her God-fearing mother’s affair with a church minister, alleges her manager father stole money from her and has relatives admit giving her drugs well before she met bad boy Brown.

The early years: A clean-cut star beloved around the world.
The early years: A clean-cut star beloved around the world.Source:Supplied

The beautiful singer managed seven consecutive US No 1s in the Eighties with hits including I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Saving All My Love For You, and scored a record 10-week run for a solo female artist at the top of the British charts with I Will Always Love You.

Her death at 48 at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles six years ago robbed music of one of its greatest talents.

Her incredible voice was a gift she inherited from mother Cissy Houston, 84, a backing vocalist for the likes of Elvis Presley and the aunt of legendary singer Dionne Warwick, 77.

While Cissy was away touring, her four children would be sent to stay with various friends or relatives, including Dionne’s sister Dee Dee Warwick.

In the film it is alleged that Dee Dee, who died aged 63 in 2008 after a long addiction to drugs, had sexually abused Whitney and her brother Gary.

Soul singer Dee Dee Warwick died in 2008 — the documentary airs explosive new allegations about her.
Soul singer Dee Dee Warwick died in 2008 — the documentary airs explosive new allegations about her.Source:News Corp Australia

Whitney’s aunt and assistant, Mary Jones, recalled the moment Whitney revealed the attacks, which are said to have taken place between the ages of seven and nine.

She said: “She looked at me and said, ‘Mary, I was molested at a young age. But it wasn’t by a man — it was a woman.

“She had tears in her eyes. She says, ‘Mommy don’t know the things we went through’. I said, ‘Well, maybe you need to tell her’. She said, ‘No, my mother would hurt somebody if I told her who it was.’

“She had tears rolling down her face, and I just hugged her.”

Loyal Mary, who found the singer’s body in the hotel bathtub, revealed the offender was Dee Dee.

This was later confirmed by Gary, 60, a retired basketball player.

Archive footage in the film shows Whitney saying that what angers her most in the world is child abuse.

The documentary, which opens in cinemas on July 6, hints that the reason she took her young daughter Bobbi Kristina on tour with her was because she did not want to risk leaving her with potential attackers.

Tragically, while Whitney thought she was keeping her daughter safe, it had the opposite effect.

Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who tragically died just a few years after her mother. Picture: FilmMagic
Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who tragically died just a few years after her mother. Picture: FilmMagicSource:Getty Images

Bobbi grew up in an adult world, witnessing the huge amounts of alcohol and illegal substances taken by her parents and uncles. She followed their example, eventually suffering fatal brain damage aged 22.

Her unconscious body was found in a bath in 2015.

Whitney’s sister-in-law and former manager Pat Houston revealed the corrosive effect her mother’s lifestyle had on Bobbi Kristina.

She said: “Krissi took a knife and slashed her arms. She hated her mother. She even wrote she wanted to find a way to kill her mother.”

The childhood abuse suffered by Whitney left her tormented for her life. Mary believes the singer felt ashamed about being preyed upon by her cousin Dee Dee, who was 18 years her senior.

Whitney once told her: “I wonder if I did something to make her think I wanted her.”

The assistant adds: “It made her question her sexual preferences, whether she really wanted a husband.

Whitney Houston and her husband Bobby Brown had a volatile relationship. Picture: AP
Whitney Houston and her husband Bobby Brown had a volatile relationship. Picture: APSource:AP

I think she was trying to find herself.”

At 18, Whitney left home and moved in with female friend Robyn Crawford, who later went on tour with her and helped her with artistic decisions.

It has long been rumoured that the pair were lovers — and relatives confirm that was the case. Many of the family disapproved, with Whitney’s father John considering hiring a thug to scare Robyn off.

Robyn, who is openly gay, was sacked by Whitney in 2000 after telling her she had to choose between her and Bobby.

Rumours of a relationship between Whitney and assistant Robyn Crawford (right) had circulated for years — the new documentary all but confirms it.
Rumours of a relationship between Whitney and assistant Robyn Crawford (right) had circulated for years — the new documentary all but confirms it.Source:Supplied

Most people interviewed agree the singer was bisexual.

Ellin LaVar, her hair stylist and friend, said: “She liked sex, she would talk about it way more than I needed to know, to the point I was scared about her. To the point I bought her a vibrator.”

The film also claims Whitney’s deeply religious mother Cissy had an affair with the minister of the church attended by all the family.

Whitney, whose first experience of singing was at the church, found this betrayal hard to take.

The affair led to her parents’ divorce. A young Whitney sided with her father, even though he had cheated on Cissy too. Whitney’s brother Michael said: “The divorce really bothered her, it bothered me.”

When she left the family home in New Jersey, she did not even tell Cissy her new address, and became closer to her dad.

It was to prove a poor decision by the self-confessed “daddy’s girl” because John was the parent who really broke her heart.

Having put him on the payroll as her manager, earning $AU650,000 a year, John repaid that faith by stealing from her.

Whitney’s mother Cissy was a strict disciplinarian.
Whitney’s mother Cissy was a strict disciplinarian.Source:AP

Gary said: “She found out about it, all the money he stole. She cut him off.”

In retaliation John’s entertainment company issued a lawsuit demanding $AU100 million from Whitney in 2002. The case was later thrown out.

Whitney chose not to visit her dad on his death bed in 2003, only seeing his body in private and then avoiding the funeral. Whitney was so intent on not ending up divorced like her parents that she stuck with her marriage to Bobby for 14 years — despite him hitting her and sleeping with other women.

While Bobby did take drugs with the troubled singer, his real addiction was to alcohol.

And Whitney’s brothers admit that they had more to do with her cocaine and cannabis abuse than her husband.

Gary, 60, who was kicked off a basketball team for allegedly failing a drugs test, said they took “a lot every day. S**t that usually kills motherf***ers, and we keep rocking”.

He added: “Bobby was a f***ing lightweight when it came to drugs. We used to pass Bobby by lapping him. Trust me.”

Michael confessed to “graduating” from cannabis to cocaine with his sister, with him being the first of the pair to try it.

He added that he would go out and buy drugs for her when they were on tour, thinking it was just part of life in the 1980s.

The brother concludes: “Little did we know, straight-up killer.”

Bobby and Whitney’s divorce in 2007 certainly did not lead to her living a cleaner life.

She smoked so much crack cocaine that her teeth fell out — and she chose to hide away at her house in Atlanta, Georgia.

Houston’s final tour, which visited Australia in 2010, was a disaster.

Houston’s final tour, which visited Australia in 2010, was a disaster.Source:News Limited

As her poor state of health became more obvious during public appearances and bad performances, managers insisted she went into rehab.

Many friends believed she was starting to get her act together during her final two years.

But the coroner’s report showed she had a cocktail of drugs in her system and had taken cocaine prior to her bathtub death.

Tragically, whatever Whitney’s demons were, she never managed to conquer them.

Whitney is in Australian cinemas July 26. 

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission.

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