Whitney Houston is notorious nowadays not only for her singing range and heart-wrenching songs like “The Greatest Love of All,” but for her tumultuous personal life. So much so that Pusha T and Kanye West made the scene of Houston’s gruesome death the cover of the coke-rap album Daytona. The druggy mythology of Houston has almost come to precede her music in the public eye.
A new documentary, Whitney, delves into the personal side of Houston’s life, so much so that that it surprised Houston’s mother, with the exposure of her daughter’s (and son’s) sexual assault as children. Houston’s assault was apparently perpetrated by her cousin, Dee Dee Warwick (sister of Dionne), who was also a prominent singer but from the preceding generation (Warwick is 18 years Houston’s senior). The connection between the assault and Houston’s later drug addiction is of course not certain, but the two are undeniably linked, says the film’s director, Kevin Macdonald:
“I don’t think you can explain anyone’s life from one particular event that’s happened to them. But I think that it’s certainly fair to say that it’s maybe, in my opinion, the major contributor to Whitney’s unhappiness. That and the fact that she never talked about it, and that nobody in the family talked about this and clearly it happened as you’d learned in the film.”