Following a premiere screening of the upcoming documentary Whitney during Cannes Film Festival Wednesday, director Kevin Macdonald confirmed a childhood trauma revealed in the film. According to a friend close to the late singer, Whitney Houston was allegedly sexually abused at a young age by cousin and singer Dee Dee Warwick.
“There was something very disturbed about her, because she was never comfortable in her own skin,”Macdonald told Vanity Fair. “She seemed kind of asexual in a strange way. She was a beautiful woman, but she was never particularly sexy. I’ve seen and done some filming with people who have suffered childhood sexual abuse, and there was just something about her manner that was reminiscent to me of that sort of shrinking—a lack of comfort in her own physicality that felt, maybe that is what it was.”
He added, “Someone did tell me off the record about being told by Whitney about being abused, and it being one of the central reasons behind her self-torture. It took awhile for anyone to go on record about it, and eventually the family did.”
WATCH: Previously Unreleased Footage of Houston Rehearsing From New Doc
In the film, Houston’s brother Gary Houston told Macdonald that a female family member had molested him from the ages of seven to nine. “My mother and father were gone a lot, so we stayed with a lot of different people… four, five different families who took care of us,” Gary said in the film.
Houston’s longtime assistant and confidant Mary Jones said Houston named Warwick as the perpetrator.
“[Houston] looked at me and said, ‘Mary, I was molested at a young age too. But it wasn’t by a man—it was a woman,’” Jones said the film. “She had tears in her eyes. She says, ‘Mommy don’t know the things we went through.’ I said, ‘Have you ever told your mother?’ She says, ‘No.’ 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 just had tears rolling down her face, and I just hugged her. I said, ‘One day when you get the nerve, you need to tell your mother. It will lift the burden off you.’” Jones continues, “She used to say, ‘I wonder if I did something to make her think I wanted her,’” Jones recalls in the film, adding, “I said, ‘Stop. A predator is a predator.’”
Dee Dee Warwick, sister of Dionne Warwick, and niece of the singer’s mother Cissy Houston, was 18 years older than Houston and died in 2008.
“So many people I spoke to were just untruthful to me, just bullshitting. I never experienced that in any documentary before,”Macdonald told Vanity Fair. “And I had to interview many more people, many more times than I ever have on anything else, in order to try and still get some bit of truth.”
Pat Houston, Houston’s sister-in-law, manager, and estate executor, said she doesn’t want Dionne Warwick to pay for her sister’s alleged actions.
“She hasn’t wanted to see the film,” Pat Houston said. “We all don’t want her to suffer by the actions of her family. Any negative feelings toward her would be completely wrong. She had nothing to do with it. She knew nothing about it.”
Macdonald described the documentary as “an intimate, unflinching portrait of Houston and her family that probes beyond familiar tabloid headlines and sheds new light on the spellbinding trajectory of Houston’s life.”
Whitney hits theaters on July 6th.
Source: Vanity Fair
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