Gospel and soul music legend Cissy Houston, mother of the late pop star Whitney Houston, and renowned singer Dionne Warwick, Whitney's cousin, are disputing a documentary's claim that Whitney had been molested as a child by Warwick's sister, the late singer Dee Dee Warwick.
In a lengthy statement Wednesday to People magazine, Cissy Houston, 84, speaking for herself and Warwick, 77, described "the shock and horror we feel and the difficulty we have believing" that Dee Dee Warwick had molested both Whitney Houston and her brother Gary.
Cissy Houston said that although her daughter "spoke about her struggle with drugs, the interventions, her daughter Krissi and issues in her marriage, she never PUBLICLY spoke about her father's stealing from her or revealed any claim that she had been molested. IF she was molested I do not believe she would have wanted it to be revealed for the first time to thousands, maybe millions of people in a film."
In director Kevin Macdonald's documentary "Whitney," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16 and opened nationwide on Friday, Whitney Houston's longtime assistant, Mary Jones, says Whitney had told her about the alleged molestation and asked Jones, "Do you think I did something to make her think I wanted her?” Additionally, Gary Houston said in the film that Dee Dee Warwick had molested him when he was 7 to 9 years old.
Jones told People in a statement Wednesday that she stood by her remarks. "I was close to Whitney, she confided in me and I struggled tremendously deciding whether to share this secret or keep to myself," Jones said. "I deeply love and respect Dionne, Cissy and their entire families, and my intention was never to embarrass anyone in the family, but rather to bring to light that Whitney was subjected to something painful and troubling as a child. And it's something that happens to other innocent kids and goes unspoken too much."
Countered Cissy Houston, "If she was my daughter's 'close confidante,' it would seem she chose to betray Whitney's confidence by publicizing rumors and hearsay. In any case, Dionne, Michael [Cissy Houston's other son] and I do not know her the way we knew and loved Dee Dee Warwick. Dee Dee may have had her personal challenges but the idea that she would have molested my children is overwhelming and for us unfathomable."
Six-time Grammy Award-winner Whitney Houston died in February 2012 at age 48 of accidental drowning due to the effects of cocaine and heart disease.
Dee Dee Warwick, who reportedly struggled with narcotics addiction for years and had been in failing health, died in October 2008 at age 66.