Whitney Houston was sexually abused by her cousin, the late American soul singer Dee Dee Warwick, according to a new documentary which premiered at Cannes.
The film by Kevin Macdonald is the story of the singer’s life, as authorised by her family. Houston died in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hotel in February 2012, aged 48.
Gary Garland, Houston’s brother, speaks of their childhood and said that his greatest trauma was being molested “by a female relative” between the ages of seven and nine.
Mary Jones, Houston’s assistant, and the person who found her body, said that Houston told her the same thing.
Her half-brother Gary Garland-Houston corroborated the account and said he was also sexually assaulted by the younger sister of soul legend Dionne Warwick.
The abuse allegation may help to shine a light on the singer’s troubled love life and descent into drug addiction, which contributed to her early death at 48 in 2012.
The film presents her long-rumoured bisexuality as fact but argues she found it impossible to maintain a relationship with female partner Robyn Crawford due to her enduring trauma and the pressures of maintaining her public image.
Houston’s destructive relationship with the rapper Bobby Brown is also tackled in the film, by the maker of “One Day in September” about the deadly hostage-taking of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Brown, who was married to Houston for 14 years, tells Macdonald that drug abuse had “nothing to do” with Houston’s death, although the coroner said it was a contributing factor.
Heartbreaking footage shows the neglect of their daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who was also found unconscious in a bathtub in 2015, and died six months later.
Dee Dee Warwick was a member of the girl group the Drinkard Singers. She also struggled with drug addiction and died aged 63 in 2008.