Whitney Houston Was Sexually Abused By Dee Dee Warwick: Cannes Documentary Whitney Houston's Dark Family Secret Uncovered in New Documentary Whitney Houston Was Sexually Abused by Her Cousin Dee Dee Warwick, According to New Documentary 'Whitney' Movie Bombshell Reveals Singer's Childhood Abuse; Director Explains Decision To Name Abuser Whitney | Official US Trailer | In Theaters July 6

Whitney Houston Was Sexually Abused By Dee Dee Warwick: Cannes Documentary

The revelation in "Whitney" adds another sad chapter to the late singer's turbulent life.

Houston’s half-brother Gary Garland was first to tell Macdonald of the abuse, and said he was molested as well, the director told Indiewire. The reason it was so late in the film was because it was an investigation. I signed on to the film under the understanding that I had final cut, but they could see early cuts, I’d listen to their comments without any obligation to do anything about it. Fifty percent.

Well, you can’t help but feel tremendous compassion towards Cissy when you meet her. And they slowly began to trust me, and I think by the third interview, one of them, Michael, said to me, “Y’know, maybe we should do this every month; I’m finding it like therapy. This was at the very end of filming, two weeks before we locked the cut. This is a film about family, I think, and about what your upbringing does to you.

That sharp intuition is nowhere better illustrated than in a close look at her landmark performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Super Bowl. The movie also captures what an awesome global phenomenon “I Will Always Love You” really was. According to Jones, Whitney wasn’t able to come to terms with her sexuality, and be open about it, because of the horror of that abuse.

Whitney Houston's Dark Family Secret Uncovered in New Documentary

Macdonald said Houston’s aunt and longtime assistant Mary Jones later provided additional details of the abuse, which she said Houston had confided to her. By understanding, you humanize. They knew that was the only way they could get somebody good to sign up to do this film was if the filmmaker had that freedom. I interviewed a few stars like Jennifer Hudson. Because it’s quite an extraordinary bunch of characters that you meet along the way—her family and her friends, her musicians.

You know, it’s kind of interesting exploring my past, and talking about her.” So I think they were open. Then I [interviewed] Mary Jones, who was Whitney’s longtime assistant [throughout] the last 10 years of her life, and who knew her better probably better in that period than anybody else. The consequences of it. Copyright © 2018 Penske Business Media, LLC. Attention to Houston's film career is limited to her big-screen debut, The Bodyguard , and to a lesser extent, the Sparkle remake, which opened after her death.

Whitney Houston Was Sexually Abused by Her Cousin Dee Dee Warwick, According to New Documentary

Exclusive: Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald talks about how he was able to confirm Houston's abuse, just two weeks before he finished editing "Whitney."

Oath Inc. I didn’t start this as a great Whitney Houston fan, but I ended up with a credible sense of empathy for her, and a love of the music born out of that empathy. I’d had that experience on my film before about Bob Marley. They don’t have anything interesting to say. I wouldn’t say everyone was open, no. So, she agreed to be part of the film. How open everyone was in the end, I don’t know.

Well, I think it’s a very complicated thing, what drove her to be self-destructive. HOLLYWOOD™ & Design © 2018 Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In terms of interviewees, the most notable absence is Crawford, though she's definitely a presence in the film. Cissy, unlike John Houston, had only one affair — but it was with their minister, which crushed Whitney, because church was the place where she first began to sing in public.

'Whitney' Movie Bombshell Reveals Singer's Childhood Abuse; Director Explains Decision To Name Abuser

‘Whitney’ director Kevin Macdonald stopped by Deadline's Cannes Studio, explaining his decision to name Whitney Houston's abuser.

It was quite late in the game. I don’t think anyone else other than the people who talk about it are aware. That film was authorized. Unless people are willing to go there, it’s not very interesting. I’ve never interviewed as many people for a film as I have on this. I did an interview with her, which matched all the other interviews I did, and she…just wasn’t really all there, I would say.

In the end, we felt that we had three different people saying this. I think she started off taking drugs because it was fun and she liked to have a lot of fun. The Hollywood Sign is a trademark and intellectual property of Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In what seems like the removal of Houston's one consistent source of protection, Crawford stepped away after a power struggle with Brown. She viewed it as her spiritual home.

Whitney | Official US Trailer | In Theaters July 6

I had a sense that there was something like that behind it. That’s my guess. They gave me access to everything. What’s so interesting about her is that she is unknowable because she didn’t know herself. I think I interviewed about 70 people, and I would say a good 30 or so of them didn’t make it into the cut. Her memory seemed to be poor, she really obviously was uncomfortable.

One of them, Gary, was also abused by [the same woman]. And her brothers took it, and everybody around her took it. Anyone even remotely plugged into pop culture back then will likely have instant recall of the massive global saturation of that 1987 single, one of an unprecedented seven consecutive No. Incidents of cheating and spousal abuse occurred, along with a growing tendency for Houston to skip professional obligations due to increased drug use.

'Whitney': Film Review | Cannes 2018

Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald's 'Whitney' looks at the damaged woman behind the pop supernova in a sensitive chronicle of the blazing rise and tragic fall of Whitney Houston.

I’d watched her a lot. I asked Bobby. With Whitney, it’s more obvious why they’d do that, because what is there to lose? That’s what the film is. Which is a lot higher percentage than you would normally think, but a lot of people just gave me the flannel. She didn’t really want to talk about it but felt she ought to, so the interview was not very successful. I first began to suspect that there might be some kind of abuse involved before anyone had actually told me.

There was that period; it was the early ’80s in New York. Houston's self-titled 1985 debut album and its follow-up two years later. While Macdonald establishes that Cissy got her to agree to go to rehab, John let her off the hook for reasons that seem all too typical. In fact, she was the object of a bidding war between Davis, at Arista Records, and Bruce Lundvall, of Elektra. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Midnight), May 16, 2018.

Cannes Film Review: 'Whitney'

A documentary about Whitney Houston offers a soaring testament to her art as well as a haunting explanation for why she destroyed herself.

There was something about her discomfort in her own skin, something about the way she presents or hides herself, her lack of overt sexuality. He claims not to know and I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t tell him. If you allow somebody to humanize her, and help an audience understand her, that could only lead people to reengage with her and rekindle a love if they’ve lost it for her.

They just gave me the same old sort of, “Oh she was wonderful, she was troubled, she was the voice of the generation,” kind of stuff. And then, I took her down to the church, the New Hope Baptist Church, which is where Whitney had been in the choir and where Cissy was the choir mistress. I just had a sense, having sat watching interviews about her, watching footage of her. Bobby Brown , on the other hand, isn’t very forthcoming.

Macdonald doesn't gloss over the harsh tabloid exposure or the comedy routines at Houston's expense after her struggles became public. The saddest parts of the story become more sordid, with her idolized father allegedly skimming cash from her business and then after she cut him off, suing her for $100 million. Her downfall began with two realities that tormented her. A Roadside Attractions and Miramax release of a Lightbox, Altitude Film Entertainment, Happy Street Entertainment production.

Friends say Whitney Houston was molested by cousin Dee Dee Warwick

Explosive allegations against Whitney Houston's cousin were unveiled in a documentary at the Cannes Film Festival

She’s this beautiful woman but she’s very closed in her demeanor. I don’t want this to feel like a salacious tabloid thing. We hear you off-camera in the film trying to ask Bobby Brown about Houston’s drug addiction. Why are you asking all these questions?’ And they’re right, in a way. Which surprised me, because, you know, she died six years ago. I was just wanting her to do a couple of visual elements.

Well, I think Bobby just isn’t really ready to be honest, in some way. Taking drugs, running them in from New Jersey into Manhattan. Seen in this context, a clip from the animated sitcom American Dad! now seems shockingly cruel. That caused an estrangement that lasted until his death. The first was her relationship with Robyn Crawford, which she felt compelled to keep secret. Producers: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, Lisa Erspamer.

'Whitney' offers an unflinching look at Whitney Houston's triumphs and tragedies

I’d been working on a film I never finished about child sexual abuse and it just rang a bell with me. I signed on at Sundance 2016 or just a month or two after that. He refuses to talk about it. She’s simple because you’re never going to really know her. And I feel like, now is the time. And then she started talking, and she suddenly became much more focused and…coherent I guess, because I think being in that place brought everything into sharp focus for her.

And again, there’s the perfect example of somebody who is, I think, [feeling] just very guilty. He’d get, like, 300 bucks a time. The least illuminating of them by far is Brown, who shuts down any mention of drug use or its role in Houston's death despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The sparing use of Adam Wiltzie's somber underscoring through the later years makes the trajectory even more acutely affecting.

Whitney Houston was molested by cousin Dee Dee Warwick at a young age, her friends allege

Whitney Houston was reportedly a victim of sexual abuse by her cousin, singer Dee Dee Warwick, according to a new documentary. “Whitney” premiered at ...

Then I started to ask questions. That was where I met Whitney’s agent, Nicole David, who was the one who convinced me there was a movie in this. I only left that in because it situates something. Everything is a yearning to get back to that. There’s enough distance for you to be honest, and to look at yourself, as well as at her. And so I used those little bits of her in the church as her presence in the film.

I’m surmising that, I don’t know that, but it feels like there’s a lot of guilt, and a kind of posturing, and a self-protectiveness that’s still going on there. And so they grew up in that world. Perhaps he's exonerating himself from any responsibility in her downward spiral, but he comes off as cold and defensive. Macdonald's film doesn’t quite match the searing clarity of Asif Kapadia's excellent Amy, about fellow fallen idol Amy Winehouse.

'Whitney' Cannes Review: Beyond the Bombshells Is a Straightforward Music Documentary

Cannes 2018: Where the Oscar-winning "Amy" was a full-on record, Kevin Macdonald's Whitney Houston doc is more of a greatest hits compilation

That led somebody to tell me, Whitney told me she was abused, but they wouldn’t go on camera. She said, “You have to make the movie.” There’s a kind of mystery about Whitney. Bobby Brown is there through all of this, but it’s just kind of a way for him to say, “I’m not going to talk about all of this. Most Popular Emilia Clarke Is 'Relieved' She Didn't Have to Make 'Terminator' Sequels, Admits 'Nobody Had A Good… 'Arrested Development' : Netflix Cancels U.K.

But I kind of always felt like, what else do you need her to say, really? And I thought that was a very strange thing, and it kind of reminded me of people I’d seen who had suffered from abuse, just in their body language and their sense of holding something back. And he felt, to me, just unwilling—or unable–to really be honest about himself, let alone to be honest about Whitney.

However, Houston's brothers are surprisingly open about introducing her to weed and cocaine while they were part of her tour entourage. Ellen White, Mary Jones, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, L.A. She fell for his pimp-strut sexiness and practically jumped into his lap, and before long she was genuinely in love with him. Editor: Bam Rice-Edwards. It's a different thing when you become a mother. Click here for assistance.

DWTS' Carrie Ann Inaba Opens Up About Being 'Molested as a Kid'

Get the latest news about celebrities, royals, music, TV, and real people. Find exclusive content, including photos and videos, on PEOPLE.com.

Then Gary the brother told me he was abused by Dee Dee. She was sort of an unknowable person. I’m not ready.” I think he hasn’t reached a place in his life where he’s ready or mature enough to analyze his own past. Screen Talk, episode 199: How several movies got Oscar boosts from Cannes. A lot of lies, and that just, of course, makes you more intrigued. Whitney’s brothers are a bit more open.

Although, as often happens in these kinds of documentaries, the person being interviewed doesn’t necessarily need to say  things that are that revealing in order to be  revealing. Doesn’t know who they are and who is in pain because they can’t talk about the central problem in their life, which I think came from the abuse. Weaving together family photographs and home movies with present-day talking heads, Macdonald and editor Sam Rice-Edwards retrace Houston's early life.

Whitney Houston was 'sexually abused', film claims

The documentary alleges that Houston's cousin, Dee Dee Warwick, abused her as a child.

So it’s not allegations. I wanted the audience to go on the journey with me. He’s still in denial about all that. Copyright © 2018 Penske Business Media, LLC. And you get people contradicting each other, and you think, “Why? I interviewed each of the brothers at least three times—one three times and one four times—so it took quite a long time to gain their trust.

She talked about maybe doing the interview. So I hope that when you get to that part in the film it does unlock an awful lot of stuff. But the movie also shows that Houston really needed no help refuting the questionable charge that she had whitewashed her black identity. Cocaine addiction, of course, is an insidious monster, but Houston, even after rehab, kept returning to it, as if she wanted to destroy herself.

Cannes doc: Whitney Houston was molested by Dee Dee Warwick

For about two months, that was all I had. It’s kind of an investigation. I had a lot of people I talked to who were incredibly banal. All rights reserved. What are they hiding? And they’re very troubled individuals themselves. I didn’t know whether that was true. It went backward and forward for several months, but in the end, she decided she didn’t want to do it. It makes you understand why she stayed married to Bobby Brown.

To see her life story is always, on some level, to be buzzing with a single question: Why? The film has lots of home-video footage of the two of them, and we see how Houston, by being with Brown, let her hair down and returned, on some level, to the childhood bosom of her home in the hood. CANNES, France — Explosive allegations against Whitney Houston's cousin were unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival.

Whitney Houston's Family Alleges She Was Sexually Abused As A Child By Her Cousin Dee Dee Warwick

Black women's lifestyle guide for the latest in fashion trends, black hair, love & sex advice. Get the latest on Essence for black entertainment news, beauty tips and more.

She wanted to talk about it. The family is here, represented by Pat [wife of Houston’s brother Gary and executor of Houston’s estate]. Trying to get beyond the banal was really difficult. It didn’t occur to me—somebody came to me. What’s going on?” Now, how can you ever understand anybody fully? They both [feel] quite guilty, they both have had really terrible addiction problems, and I think that’s sort of evident in the way that they are.

Which was a shame, and to begin with, I thought that was a devastating blow because I thought we would get her to talk. It makes you understand what she’s running away from, why her relationship with her mother is so difficult. Mostly, the music is left to speak for itself in terrific performance excerpts that back up the observation about seeing her live being akin to a gospel service. Why did the most astonishingly gifted singer of her generation go down a road of darkness and self-sabotage when the very essence of her presence is that she filled the world with light?

Whitney Houston Bombshell: New Documentary Says Dee Dee Warwick Molested Houston

That was the last interview I did two weeks before I finished the edit, and I had to rejiggle the whole film. They were very true to their work. I’ve never done a documentary where so many people wound up on the cutting-room floor. You go into it with a very investigative attitude. How did you find Cissy Houston? You feel, again, this sense of pain. And then, on the next interview, Gary did tell me who it was.

All sorts of things, I hope, will click into place. But her mother notes that singing comes from the abdomen, chest or head, and Whitney mastered all three, which gave her tremendous range. A lot of people are sure that they know the answer; the most knee-jerk one, of course, is that she should never have gotten involved with the hideous lightweight B-boy smarm-dog Bobby Brown. We’re shocked, but the words of Mary Jones that follow are every bit as important.