Whitney Houston’s behaviour provided clues that she had been abused, according to the director of a new documentary about the superstar singer.
In the film Whitney, an assistant claims Houston confided in her that she had been molested as a child by her cousin Dee Dee, the late sister of Dionne Warwick.
Director Kevin Macdonald told the Press Association: "Mary Jones told me how the consequences of this abuse stayed with her her whole life, impacted her relationships, impacted her sense of self, maybe her lack of emotional development."
He added: "I don’t think that one event like that or one experience necessarily defines everything about you, but I think in Whitney’s case, when you hear from the various people who talk about it, what impact that had on her, I think it’s probably the biggest explanation for a lot of her behaviour."
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The film features interviews with many of Houston’s relatives, friends and colleagues, including ex-husband Bobby Brown and The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner.
Houston’s half-brother, the former professional basketball player Gary Garland-Houston, alleges that both he and Houston were sexually abused by Warwick when he was a child.
Jones, who is often referred to as Aunt Mary, said the singer, who died in 2012 at the age of 48, confided in her that she had also been abused by a woman when she was a little girl.
Macdonald, the Scottish film-maker behind The Last King of Scotland and the big-screen version of State Of Play, said: "I think it’s gone beyond allegation as there is someone in the film, Whitney’s brother, who says he was abused by the same person. So whether or not this woman abused Whitney, I think she was an abuser.
"And to have two people very close to Whitney saying ‘This is what she told me’, I don’t see why anyone would lie about that.
"Also, there are clues that Whitney gave, which were really the first thing that alerted to me this possibility.
"Whitney, in a couple of interviews, talks about how the thing which she hates the most in the world is people that treat children badly, and there’s one of those little clips in the film of her talking about that. So, to me, it goes beyond allegation, it’s something that would stand up in a court of law, I think."
Discussing the decision to name Dee Dee Warwick in the film, he said: "We debated amongst ourselves a lot, should we name the person in the film who is accused of abusing her – that person is no longer alive, Dee Dee Warwick, her cousin.
"We felt, with the current climate, the post-Harvey Weinstein world, the Me Too movement, it felt like naming the abuser was an important thing.
"Maybe if we had done this film three or four years ago, we might have felt more squeamish about it but in the current climate it felt like the right thing to do.
"And there hasn’t been much blowback. I think most people have felt that was the right decision to make.
"Obviously it was shocking for the family, a lot of the members didn’t know this, and particularly for Whitney’s mother Cissy, and for Dionne Warwick, they’re very upset about it, but I guess anyone would be."
Whitney is released in UK cinemas on July 6.
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