A new documentary about Whitney Houston has revealed a disturbing family secret – the superstar singer was allegedly sexually abused as a child by her cousin, soul singer Dee Dee Warwick, Houston’s cousin and the sister of Dionne Warwick.
Whitney, from director Kevin Macdonald, premiered Wednesday night at the Cannes Film Festival
According to reports from the festival, the allegation came at the end of the movie when Mary Jones, Houston’s former assistant, said the music icon told her she was molested as a little girl.
The documentary includes footage of Houston and interviews with her family and friends.
Gary Houston, Whitney’s brother, also said in the film that he was sexually abused by a female relative.
Dee Dee Warwick died in 2008, four years before Houston drowned in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel room at age 48.
In an interview with Deadline, the director said he suspected Houston had been abused after watching footage of her.
“I had a feeling that there was something wrong with her,” Kevin Macdonald said. “There was something preventing her, in some way, from expressing her real self. She felt uncomfortable in her own skin in almost every interview there was with her.”
Macdonald began to put the pieces together after interviewing Gary Houston.
“And then I interviewed Pat Houston and Gary Houston… He told me that he was abused by a woman in the family, and Pat Houston told me that, yes, Whitney had said to her, ‘This is what happened,'” the director said. “So at that stage, I’d had the confirmation that something had happened.”
It wasn’t until a second interview with Gary that he named Dee Dee as his alleged abuser.
Macdonald said he then interviewed Jones, who told him Whitney had allegedly been abused by Warwick as well. He then decided to re-edit the film to include the allegations.
The documentary from Miramax and Roadside Attractions is the first movie about the late superstar to be approved by her estate.
It also explores Houston’s drug use, her turbulent marriage with Bobby Brown and the nature of her relationship with her best friend and assistant, Robyn Crawford.
The director said Crawford was the one person he approached who would not sit down for an interview.
“She talked about maybe doing the interview,” he explained. “It went backward and forward for several months, but in the end, she decided she didn’t want to do it.”
Whitney is slated to arrive in theaters in the U.S. on July 6, 2018.
You can watch the trailer below.