Per the Chicago Sun-Times, the claims were made by Houston’s longtime assistant Mary Jones and Houston’s brother Gary Garland-Houston. Jones said Whitney told her that Warwick molested her at a young age, while Garland-Houston said that a female family member abused him as a child, as well as his sister.
Jones suggested the alleged trauma stuck with Houston throughout her life, causing her to question her own sexuality and contributing to her struggles with drugs. According to the film, the alleged incidents took place while Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, was on tour. The movie also reportedly notes that Houston often insisted on bringing her own daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, on the road with her.
“We always wanted our film to be a corrective to that tabloid story,” said the film’s producer, Simon Chinn. “These are specific revelations that I think will get people to a deeper understanding of who Whitney was and in many ways redeem her as a person.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald spoke about uncovering the story late in the production process. He said the key interview with Jones came just two weeks before a cut of the film was finished, and forced him to completely re-edit the movie.
WHITNEY ABUSED?: New documentary alleges #WhitneyHouston was molested at a young age by cousin Dee Dee Warwick; filmmaker #KevinMacdonald had to re-edit film at “at the last minute” pic.twitter.com/hNZ8vCDMS1
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) May 17, 2018
Macdonald said of Jones, “She’d had long conversations with Whitney about it, and she really, I think, understood because her own family, there’d been a history of sexual abuse. She understood the impact that it had on her.”
Dee Dee Warwick, who was also a singer and the sister of Dionne Warwick, died in 2008. Houston died in 2012.
Whitney marks the first documentary about Houston made with the approval of her estate. The film is scheduled to open July 6th.