Dee Dee Warwick, iconic singer Whitney Houston‘s cousin, who was 18 years her senior, was shockingly accused of sexually abusing the superstar when she was just a child, according to a new documentary about Whitney’s life. Filmmakers confirmed that the wild claims came from several sources who were close to the “I Will Always Love You” crooner, including her brother Gary Houston, who also said he was allegedly abused by Dee Dee as well. Kevin MacDonald, the Scottish filmmaker who worked on the documentary said he had a suspicion that Whitney’s past included something such as this. “I’d watched her a lot,” he said about Whitney in the film. “There was something about her discomfort in her own skin, something about the way she presents or hides herself, her lack of overt sexuality. She’s this beautiful woman but she’s very closed in her demeanor.” Here are five things you should know about Whitney’s alleged sexual abuser.
1.) She was an American soul singer. Her singing career started when she sang at New Hope Baptist Church Choir in Newark, New Jersey with her sister, famed singer Dionne Warwick and her aunt and Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston. The trio formed a gospel group called the Gospelaires and were signed by a record producer after performing at the Apollo Theater in 1959. Dee Dee later tried her hand at a solo career and recorded many chart singles. Her 1966 song “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ on Mercury Records became well known after Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations recorded and released it as a duet a few years later in 1968. She went on to sing on her own up until the mid 1980’s before singing background vocals for Dionne in 2006.
2.) Her music won her awards. In 1999, she received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
3.) She suffered from a narcotics addiction which led to her death. Dee Dee’s addiction went on for many years and caused her health to fail over time. She ended up passing away in a nursing home with Dionne by her side in Oct. 2008 at the age of 63.
4.) She was one of the first openly gay singers in the music industry. “Dee Dee was openly lesbian in the music industry,” a source close to the Warwick family said, according to The Telegraph. “Not necessarily in public, but I don’t think that was a secret within the music industry. And that was a detriment to her development also, because she didn’t hide it within the music industry. She didn’t.” Dee Dee identifying herself as a lesbian would make sense on why she chose to allegedly sexually abuse Whitney and it was suspected that the abuse caused Whitney to question her own sexuality.
5.) Whitney sang at her funeral. During the somber ceremony, Whitney got out of her seat to sing the religious song, “The Lord is My Shepard” along with the choir.