Whitney Houston’s mother has broken her silence about the sexual abuse allegations made in a new documentary about her daughter.
In Whitney, the documentary which is in theaters now, the singer’s personal assistant Mary Jones claims that Houston was molested by Dee Dee Warwick, her cousin who was 21 years her senior and the sister of Dionne.
‘We cannot overstate the shock and horror we feel and the difficulty we have believing that my niece Dee Dee Warwick . . . molested two of my three children,’ said Cissy Houston in a statement to People on behalf of herself and Dionne.
She also called the allegations ‘unfathomable,’ despite the fact that Houston’s brother Gary says in the film that he too was molested by Dee Dee.
The two were allegedly molested by their cousin when left with family members while their own parents were off on the road.
The abuse happened when the two were between the age of seven and nine according to interviews with Gary and Jones.
Dee Dee, who was also a noted singer and died in 2008 after her own battles with addiction, was 18 years older than Whitney.
That abuse is also presented as an explanation for Whitney’s shame about her sexuality and the reason for her drug use.
The film presents her long-rumored bisexuality as fact but argues she found it impossible to maintain a relationship with female partner Robyn Crawford due to her enduring trauma and the pressures of maintaining her public image.
‘I was close to Whitney, she confided in me and I struggled tremendously deciding whether to share this secret or keep to myself,’ Jones told People.
‘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.’
She then added: ‘And it’s something that happens to other innocent kids and goes unspoken too much.’
Jones also spoke about how she believed that abuse was responsible for some of the decisions Houston made later in her life.
‘I decided to share the story so that people might understand that throughout her entire life Whitney carried this with her, and the weight of it was immense,’ explained Jones.
‘Whitney was a wonderful woman, an angel, and she did not drag herself down all alone—there was a cause.’