Trauma

New documentary on Whitney Houston alleges the late singer was sexually molested as a child

Singer Whitney Houston accepts the Winner of International - Favorite Artist Award onstage at the 2009 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In a new documentary, Whitney Houston’s brother and other friends of the late singer allege that she was molested by her much older cousin, Dee Dee Warwick, when Houston was just a child. In the new film, Whitney, which was directed by Kevin Macdonald and made in cooperation with Houston’s family, Gary Garland-Houston said that he was molested between the ages of 7 and 9 by Warwick, and that his sister was also victimized by her. Garland-Houston’s claim was backed up by others, including the singer’s longtime assistant Mary Jones, who said that Houston confided in her that Warwick, who was 18 years older than Houston, had molested her at a young age.

According to Jones, trauma caused by the abuse led Houston to struggle with her own sexuality and contributed to her late-life substance abuse problems, which may ultimately have contributed to her death. In 2012, Houston died at the age of 48 in what was ruled an accidental drowning, but a coroner’s report noted that heart disease and drug use appeared to be contributing factors.

Warwick, who died in 2008, was the niece of Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, and sometimes sang backup in Cissy’s gospel group, the Drinkard Singers. She was twice nominated for a Grammy Award, and sang backup for major figures such as Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. According to the documentary, Warwick’s abuse of Houston likely occurred while Cissy was on tour. Houston is said to have always insisted on taking her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, on tour with her. Bobbi Kristina died in 2015 at age 22, after she too was found unresponsive in a bathtub.

Below, watch an interview about the allegations with Whitney director Kevin Macdonald.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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