Whitney Houston and her half-brother Gary were molested as children by their cousin Dee Dee Warwick, according to the new documentary Whitney. The early years were not easy ones for Houston, since her mother, the singer Cissy Houston, was often touring on the road and would leave Houston and her siblings with other families when she was away.
As the trailer hints, the docu is unflinching and uses previously unseen archival footage, demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives and interviews with friends and family who were there for Houston's ups and downs.
Whitney Houston died at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012, having accidentally drowned in a bathtub after a heart attack, brought on after years of substance abuse. Dee Dee is said to have struggled with narcotics addition and died in 2008, aged 63.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), Whitney is produced by Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, and Lisa Erspamer, and executive produced by Nicole David, Pat Houston, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, Mike Runagall, Zanne Devine, Rosanne Korenberg and Joe Patrick. Some of the people who sat down for interviews include Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown, Arista Records founder Clive Davis (who discovered her), and Kevin Costner with whom she co-starred in The Bodyguard.
The first official trailer for Whitney has arrived and it's packed with information about the late, great, icon, Whitney Houston.
While poring through hundreds of hours of private home footage for his film, Macdonald told Vanity Fair that he had suspicions that something awful had happened in Houston's life. She was a handsome woman, but she was never particularly sexy.
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It told the harrowing story of the children who were groomed, sexually abused and trafficked by British Pakistani men in Rochdale. John Motson was honored with a special award on the same day he retired from sports commentary.
Macdonald foreshadowed to EW how viewers would see the connection to Houston's family and how this influenced her sexual and romantic life.
Still, the film circles back to relationships, including her marriage to Bobby Brown and close friendship with Robyn Crawford, who is described as Houston's "safety net".
She recalls Miss Houston saying: 'Mary, I was [abused] too.
EW has reached out to reps for Dionne Warwick and the filmmaker for further comment.
Sarah Rodman provided additional reporting for this story.