Whitney Houston’s mother and Dionne Warwick say abuse claims ‘unfathomable’

Dionne Warwick’s sister Dee Dee is alleged to have molested Whitney Houston as a child

The late singer Whitney Houston performing on stage during the 2004 World Music Awards  in Las Vegas. File photograph:  Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The late singer Whitney Houston performing on stage during the 2004 World Music Awards in Las Vegas. File photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

 

Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy and Dionne Warwick have published a joint statement saying that claims of sexual abuse of Whitney as a child, by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick, are “unfathomable”.

The claims were made in Whitney, Kevin McDonald’s documentary feature about the singer, who died in 2012 following a history of drug use. Houston’s half-brother, Gary Garland-Houston, alleges Dee Dee molested him and Whitney when he was aged between seven and nine, claims corroborated by Whitney’s assistant, who said the singer told her she was “molested at a young age” by a woman. Dee Dee died in 2008, having also had a history of drug addiction.

“We cannot overstate the shock and horror we feel, and the difficulty we have believing that my niece Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne’s sister) molested two of my three children,” the statement reads, written by Houston. “Dee Dee may have had her personal challenges, but the idea that she would have molested my children is overwhelming and, for us, unfathomable.”

Cissy Houston, mother of the late singer Whitney Houston, performs with the New Hope Baptist Choir in 2017. File photograph: Julio Cortez/AP
Cissy Houston, mother of the late singer Whitney Houston, performs with the New Hope Baptist Choir in 2017. File photograph: Julio Cortez/AP

She adds that she, Dionne and Whitney’s brother Michael had never heard of the allegations before. “We cannot reconcile the public’s need to know about Whitney’s life as justification for invasion of her privacy or the charge against Dee Dee, a charge which neither Whitney nor Dee Dee is here to deny, refute or affirm,” she writes, calling the claims in the film “rumour, innuendo and hearsay”.

Unlike Nick Broomfield’s 2017 documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me, McDonald’s documentary was approved by the Houston family. Cissy Houston acknowledges this, but adds: “Neither my son, Michael, Dionne nor I knew of the allegations of abuse, the direction the film would take, until two days before the screening at Cannes. ”–The Guardian