Whitney (2018) Script

There were times when I would look up to God, and I'd go, "Why is this happening to me?"

And then these dreams.

I would have these dreams about being on a bridge, and the bridge going back and forth and swaying.

There's a big storm coming.

I'm always running from this giant.

I'm always running from this big man.

I know I can make it. I know I can make it.

I know I can make it.

My mother always says, "You know, that's nothing but the devil. He's just trying to get you.

He just wants your soul."

And in a sense, it's true.

There's been several times the devil has tried to get me.

But he never gets me.

And it's funny, when I wake up, I'm always exhausted from running.

The news about Whitney Houston is crackling through the music world and the news is good.

Her mother is singer Cissy Houston, but at age 21, Whitney Houston is blazing her own trail with style and sizzle.

The most successful debut solo album in history.

She's quickly becoming the new queen of pop.

Crowned the prom queen of soul.

It will take an Act of Congress to keep this woman from becoming a megastar.

♪ There's a boy I know ♪

♪ He's the one I dream of ♪ America is working.

♪ When I wake ♪

♪ From dreamin' ♪

♪ Tell me Is it really love? ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ How will I know? ♪

♪ Don't trust Your feelings ♪

♪ How will I know? ♪

♪ How will I know If he really loves me? ♪

♪ I say a prayer With every heartbeat ♪

Keep it down, son!

We lived in Newark, and then the riots took place

- in the '60s. Do you remember them?

Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

I remember lying on the floor and eating off the floor.

For the bullets, you know, the bullets would fly and go through you.

I grew up in the ghetto. I mean, that's where I grew up.

♪ All that you deserve To have ♪

♪ Oh, that's why I say ♪

♪ Hear me, baby When I say ♪

♪ I'm telling you, here... Here I am... ♪ I hear John's voice, "Hey, Bae."

I said, "What? Is Cissy okay?"

He said, "Yeah." He said, "She had the baby."

He said, "Bae, you're not gonna believe this baby.

She looks unreal, she's so beautiful."

She was sassy, smart mouth... always following me, you know.

And my father made the point, you know, "Listen, you got to watch her and take care of her.

If something happens to her, don't come home."

And we became just like, you know...

She was my best friend.

She'd leave the house, and she would be clean-haired.

Then she'd come home, just dirty pants, dirty shirt, hair messed up, 'cause she always wanted to be rough and tough.

Always music on in the house, especially on Sundays.

Gospel all day long, you know. And then there was always, you know, the music that my mother was recording.

♪ You told me To leave you alone ♪

♪ My father said... ♪ My mother is known all over the world, and she sang background for everybody.

She worked her ass off and spent time away from us in order to make things better.

I remember me and my sister crying, sitting on the damn curb, every time my mother would pull off to go.

So we stayed with a lot of different people.

Me and my brother and my sister stayed with a lot of...

I mean, four or five different families and different people who took care of us.

I wanted to become a singer when I was about 13.

That's when I realized I wanted to be a professional singer, but prior to that I just sang.

I sang at church, and I loved it.

Remember the first song you ever sang in church?

Yes, I remember.

♪ Guide me, O, thou ♪

♪ Great Jehov... ♪

- ...hovah ♪ Man: Mm.

♪ Feed me till ♪

♪ I want no more ♪ Yeah.

My mother, well, she raised us in church.

You had to go to church whether you liked it or not.

But, growing up, I loved it.

I loved to sing.

I loved the choir.

I knew that, whatever this God was, he sure liked singing.

He loved people to sing. He loved to be praised.

♪...The Lord ♪

♪ Yes, he will, oh ♪

♪ The Lord... ♪

♪ Well, if you just... ♪

♪ Have a little talk ♪ ♪ A little talk ♪

♪ With Jesus ♪

I used to be the directress of all of the music in this church, but now I'm retired.

When she was a girl, what was Whitney like?

She was beautiful.

She was a good baby.


Everybody loved her.

Except those who were jealous of her.

There were girls who liked to run her home.

But I was always waiting outside for them.

I'm a fighter, okay.

All right, so you bother my kids, you've then bothered me.

In the neighborhood we lived in, there was a lot of dark-skinned, colored people, and Whitney used to get picked on all the time for being light-skinned... A little white girl.

'cause my mother would dress her nice.

She was a quiet, sweet kid.

She didn't have very many friends.

She was very involved in the church, um... would just go to school, and she would just hang out with her brothers.

Better hurry, Dorothy.

You know how the Jacobs are when we keep them waiting.

Oh, I'm ready, George.

You know, I think it's safe to say there won't be a handsomer couple at the party.

Or a happier one.

Where did the name "Whitney" come from?

My mother says something about this white sitcom, but I never called her Whitney.

Always called her Nippy.

Nippy is me. I am Nippy.

My father gave me that nickname, and I've been Nippy since I can remember.

Whitney's father, John Houston, was a key player in the 1970s around the Gibson administration, and he was a real deal-maker.

A deal-maker or a hustler?

Well, it depends on which side of the deal you're on. Ha, ha.

He was the head of central planning and zoning in that administration, which was a very corrupt administration, and to get a building put up, you had to go through my father.

So... you do the math.

He did enough for us, along with my mother, working hard, for us to get out of Newark and go to a house in East Orange.

We had a better school, a pool, a backyard.

They were striving to become middle class.

They had a really nice house.

They were the Cosbys of Dodd Street.

But East Orange was 20 blocks from Newark, heh.

You can live in a mansion all you want, but when you come outside, you gonna be amongst the motherfucking wolves and bears.

Now, for the three people that haven't read about you, your mother is Cissy Houston of The...

Sweet Inspirations. Right.

Your aunt is...? My cousin is Dionne Warwick.

Who was your father? Duke Ellington?

♪ Just lift God up ♪ I come from a family of singers.

♪ From eternal tears ♪ The family gathered at Christmastime, Thanksgiving.

And after dinner, instead of talking, we'd all go around the piano and sing.

♪ If you see me walking down the street ♪

♪ And I start to cry ♪

♪ Each time we meet ♪

♪ Walk on by ♪

♪ What can you do? ♪

♪ What can you say? ♪ And your mother also tried to have a solo career herself?

She tried to have a solo career.

It didn't turn out to be what she wanted it to be.

I think she poured a lot of that disappointment into Whitney, for sure.

♪ When I first saw you ♪

♪ I said, "Oh, my" ♪

♪ I said, "Oh, my" ♪

♪ There's my dream ♪

♪ That's my dream ♪

♪ I needed a dream ♪

♪ To make me strong ♪ Nobody could touch Whitney, as far as singing, except my mom.

My mom's voice... And she taught Whitney everything she knew about how to use that voice.

You have three places to sing from.

From your abdomen, your chest and your head.

She learned them all.

Cissy sang from her heart... and she taught Nippy to sing from her heart.




She loved her mother dearly.

But her mother was, um... the disciplinarian.

Her mother was hard on her when she was training her, would make her do it over and over and over again to get it right.

She was a little tough on Whitney because she knew what Whitney had.

They would come home a lot of times mad at each other.

Whitney'd come in stomping, cursing, go to her room and slam the door.

My mother telling her, "Listen, if you wanna sing, this is what's got to happen.

If you don't, tell me now. I won't waste my time."

Why was she sent to that private girls' school?

To put her in a safe environment, away from the bullying.

This was the investment John and Cissy were making in their daughter.

They wanted her to be educated, sophisticated, and not streetwise.

You know, it sounds like I'm giving you the gas, but so help me.

They had a really great family dynamic going on.

But I've also heard that she was bullied a lot.

Did other things happen to her as a child that might help to explain why she became such a troubled person?

No, Nippy didn't have nothing bad in her childhood.

I sound a little defensive, I know.

No, no. I'm just asking...

Nippy, she did not have anything in her childhood.

She had an idyllic childhood.

She loved my father.

Loved my father and loved my mother.

Them breaking up and getting divorced really bothered her.

It bothered me.

What was it that drove them apart?

I don't know.


My dad, despite whatever philandering he might have been doing, was extremely jealous.

He had tapped the phone, so he's sitting back in his office listening to Cissy's conversations on the wiretap.

The truth is Cissy did have an affair with the minister at her church.

I think about my Father's house.

Yes, sir! In my Father's house, there's food.

You know, you're in church, and you hear whispers.

None of them would ever really get over it.

Her heart was broken.

That church had been Whitney's second family.

And she was angry with her mother.

Whitney moved out as soon as she was 18 years old.

I don't think Cissy even knew where she moved to.

We had a good, tight-knit family, but there were always a lot of secrets in our lives.

You know, there were a lot of secrets.

When you don't resolve things, you don't deal with things, they never go away.

They never go away.

When I first started working with her, she was modelling...

...and she hated it because she knew that she was gonna be a singer.

That's what she knew.

What did she like to do?

She liked to sleep.

She liked to party.

She liked to hang out with Robyn.

And she liked her cats.

She had a cat named Misty Blue.

It was obvious that John and Cissy saw an opportunity in Whitney.

The plan was to get her a record deal, but they didn't rush.

For a long time she was just singing background in Cissy's show.

At that time, there was a teenage star rising the charts, and Whitney was angry.

She'd literally said she could do that ten times better... and her parents were holding her back.

I sat down with her at the McDonald's across the street from their home to explain to her the music that she was envious of was fad music... and what her parents were preparing her for was legacy music.

My mother was grooming her.

When I look back, I remember my mother grooming her.

Is it true that you were sort of tricked into doing a solo performance?

We were playing at this great iconic R&B club in New York called Mikell's.

Cissy called Whitney...

She said, "Whitney, I can't sing."

She wasn't gonna be able to do the show at Mikell's.

My mom says, "You gotta do the show. I can't let this gig go."

I go, "Oh, my God, I can't do this, I'm 16... 17."

And it was packed, and she was adorable because she basically mimicked her mom's everything, her patter. And just substituted her own name for... you know, "Thanks for coming to see Cissy."

She'd go, "Thanks for coming out to hear Whitney."

I remember feeling like a tornado, like a wind, a monsoon of rain and wind just hit me and, like, was just throwing me back.

That's how blown away I was by this girl's voice.

I'd never heard anything like it.

♪ I am ♪

♪ I'm trying to ♪ So next day she calls, she says, "Hey, how you doing?"

I said, "You." I said, "What's wrong with you?

You were sick." She goes, "No.

I just wanted to see if you could cut it."

She blew the roof off the place.

And after that, we started to seriously court the record companies.

At that time, there were no singers... that just stood up and sang, a mic and a light, you know.

There were bands.

What she was doing, it wasn't something that the record industry was interested in, but bit by bit we got offers.

Eventually, the two labels offering good deals were Elektra, which was Bruce Lundvall, and Arista, which was Clive Davis.

Every night, one of the labels would come down to the show.

The next day, one of the offers would get bigger.

And the next night, Bruce Lundvall would come down to the show with flowers.

The next night, Clive would come back again with flowers, and then the offer would get bigger.

She was innocent-looking, yet soulful.

Her voice was like no voice I had ever heard.

When she stepped forward to do "The Greatest Love OfAll,"

I was totally knocked out.

Whitney found meaning in that song that I was sure even the composers didn't know were there.

♪ The children ♪

♪ Are our future ♪

♪ Teach them well and ♪

♪ Let them ♪

♪ Lead the way ♪ The two offers were pretty even.

But we decided to go with Clive.

♪ Show them all... ♪ You know, you get that spine tingle... when you know you're in the presence of somebody very special.

And that genius, that vocal interpretive genius, had a profound impact on me.

♪ Give them a sense... ♪ The urban legend that Clive created Whitney is really not true.

Clive packaged it all, but if anyone created Whitney's taste, it was Cissy.

That's where Whitney got her influences from.

♪ Easier ♪

♪ Let... ♪ John and Cissy had understood that to be successful in America as an African American, to be successful in the larger culture, you've got to learn the ways of the culture, speak the language of the culture, wear the clothing of the culture.

You have to have double consciousness, and that can cause you to wonder, "Who is the real me?

Am I an extension of that, or is that an extension of me?"

There was Lena Horne. There's Dionne Warwick, but if the mantle is to pass to somebody who's 19, who's elegant, who's sensuous, who's innocent, who's got an incredible range of talent, but guts and soul at the same time, it will be Whitney Houston, in my opinion.

She also happens to be a model.

Yes, she is. She's a beautiful girl.

And her poise doesn't hurt, but it's her natural charm.

I mean, you either got it, or you don't have it.

She's got it. She got it.

Wait till you hear her. Here's Whitney Houston.

♪ When I think of home ♪

♪ I think of a place ♪

♪ Where there's Love overflowing ♪

♪ I wish I was home ♪

♪ I wish I was back there ♪

♪ With the things ♪

♪ I've been knowing ♪

♪ Oh, I know You're listening, God ♪

♪ So won't you please try Not to make it hard to know ♪

♪ I shouldn't believe Everything ♪

♪ Everything that I see ♪

♪ A world full of love ♪

♪ Like yours, like ♪

♪ Like mine ♪

♪ Like home ♪

♪ Home ♪

There's a lot of competition. What makes you think you're gonna beat the odds with your album?

God gave me something really great, and he doesn't give it to everybody.

And since I decided to spread it worldwide, I think that I'm gonna beat it. Heh.

♪ Ah ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Woo! ♪

♪ Hey, yeah ♪

♪ Ah ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Clock strikes Upon the hour ♪

♪ And the sun Begins to fade ♪ Whitney Houston!

♪ Still enough time ♪

♪ To figure out ♪

♪ How to chase My blues away ♪ Whitney Houston!

♪ I've done all right Up till now ♪

♪ It's the light of day That shows me how ♪

♪ And when the night falls ♪

♪ The loneliness calls ♪

♪ Oh, I wanna dance With somebody ♪

♪ I wanna feel the heat With somebody ♪

♪ Yeah, I wanna dance With somebody ♪

♪ With somebody Who loves me ♪

♪ Oh, I wanna dance With somebody ♪

♪ I wanna feel the heat ♪

♪ Yeah, I wanna dance With somebody ♪

♪ With somebody Who loves me ♪

♪ I need a man Who'll take a chance ♪

♪ On a love that burns Hot enough to last ♪

♪ So when the night falls ♪

♪ My lonely heart calls ♪

♪ Oh, I wanna dance With somebody ♪

♪ I wanna feel the heat With somebody ♪

♪ Yeah, I wanna dance With somebody ♪

♪ With somebody Who loves me ♪

♪ Don'tcha wanna dance? Say you wanna dance ♪

♪ Don'tcha wanna dance? ♪ ♪ Dance ♪

♪ Don'tcha wanna dance? Say you wanna dance ♪

♪ Don'tcha wanna dance? ♪ ♪ Dance ♪

♪ Don'tcha wanna dance? Say you wanna dance ♪

♪ Ah-ha ♪ ♪ Dance ♪

♪ With somebody Who loves me ♪ The meteoric rise to superstar.

Seven consecutive...

More consecutive number one hits than Elvis or The Beatles.

Most successful debut solo album!

- Platinum six times over. Heartbeat of America.

Jack, did you ever find this one here on the street?

- Many times. How much was she?

She was simple. When Whitney was at home, Whitney wouldn't even sleep in her bedroom.

She would sleep on the couch in the family room and watch TV.

You'd see her out there, making herself a little pallet on the couch, and that's where she would sleep at.

Very simple. Very, very simple.

It was almost like... she became Whitney Houston when it was time for her to get on stage.

And when she came off, you know, she became Nippy again.

What about a boyfriend? Anybody special?

No, not at the moment. No. Oh.

So who do you think about when you're singing something like that?

People. People in general.

- She's saving it. Hey!

What's going on between you and Eddie Murphy?

There's no deep intimate feelings?

There are deep feelings. And sometimes we are intimate.


Most recently, the gossip magazines report Houston and NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham are an item and ready to marry.

Do you think she liked sex?

Yes, she did. She talked about it.

She liked it way more than I needed to know.


To the point I was, like, scared for her, so I actually bought her a vibrator for Christmas one year.

You know, you're a celebrity, and you're a woman and you...

She couldn't just date anybody.

You didn't know if these people were honest, and they're getting high. I'm like, "If you wanna... have sex and nobody's there, or what... take this."

I heard Robert De Niro was following you all over.

He'd been on my case.

He'd been sweating me for a little while.

Let me break that down. He was chasing this woman.

The one that she might have gotten closest to maybe thinking she was gonna marry... could have been Brad Johnson.

Can you imagine being a 30-year-old single guy, living in New York City, and you're in your car, headed up the West Side Highway to pick up Whitney Houston to take her out for dinner.

And it's 1987, and you just feel like you're on top of the world.

I don't know why I like him.

I just do.

Just a very sweet, somewhat shy...

I hesitate to say "innocent" because she had an old soul.

She was wise in a way.

But then she was still this 23-year-old girl who would, you know, grab your arm in a scary movie and, you know, curl up right next to you.

I never saw a dark moment with her.

She just laughed. She had this great laugh, and she would kind of squint her eyes.

♪ I've been waiting For the phone to ring... ♪ Robyn was always very friendly to me.

She was protective, but I felt it was appropriate.

She didn't know me, and of the people close to Whitney, she was the closest.

I was 16 and we were working at summerjobs.

I remember thinking, "Wow, this is really gonna be a trip this summer."

I don't have any friends." And then here comes Robyn with this beautiful, beautiful afro.

She was tall and very statuesque, and I was like, "Wow, man."

She stood up for me, and I remember thinking:

"I've known this person seems like all my life."

At 18, she left her parents' home, and Whitney and Robyn moved in together.

Tell me about Robyn Crawford.

I don't know... What do you want to know about Robyn Crawford?

- Who was she? Robyn was a nobody.

She was a nobody.

She was an opportunist. She was a wannabe.

She was a nobody, really. And she happened to involve herself with Nippy, you know, for whatever reasons, you know.

I've never seen them do anything, but I knew that she was, uh... She was something that I didn't want my sister to be involved with.

It was evil. It was wicked.

♪ Happy birthday Dear Robyn ♪

♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

I knew she was a lesbian. Yes, yes, I did.

For sure I knew. I was the first one to know her.

I knew what she was.

And I tried to tell my sister to leave her alone.

Whitney and her relationships. Okay, so...

As far as Whitney and Robyn... the relationship was her safety net.

- Hi, Robbie. Hi.

That was a whole separate world from who she needed to be in the public, for her parents, her family.

The other relationships outside of that, be it Eddie Murphy or Randall Cunningham or Brad Johnson, she had those because those were expected of her.

And she liked men too.

What they say now, in this time, is that she's fluid.

She flows. She goes whatever way she goes. She loves.


Robyn, I'll kick your camera and break it.

Robyn! - I wouldn't do that.


When I first started working with Whitney, the press loved her. She was the black princess.

That also included, "Oh, and look how great her family life is, and look how wonderful her parents are and her siblings."

I mean, for years people didn't even know that John and Cissy were divorced.

You know, they showed up at events together, playacting the perfect family.

But then stories started to appear about Whitney and Robyn.

Not too long ago, I was in Detroit.

I did a radio show for over an hour.

About 30 calls came in. They really just wanted to know, "Well, what is the story of Whitney?

Is she gay or is she not?"

Whitney is not gay, ahem. That is the story on that.

The only gayness I feel is when I'm happy, honey.

That's it. And that's all that really matters.

That's all that matters, yes.

No one in this organization wanted anything to disrupt this bullet train that was Whitney Houston.

John didn't like it.

He painted this picture for her to be this pristine teenage girl, no faults.

That was the image he tried to create.

And the way he looked at it, that was a black eye.

Some of the family might have been homophobic, but, really, it was about control.

Robyn was the only one that could get Whitney out of bed.

She was the only one that Whitney would listen to.

And anyone who had influence was a threat.

Did John ever try and get rid of Robyn?

- He talked about it. What would he say?

He said, if he could, he would break them up, any way he can.

He wanted somebody to scare her.

We refrained from that because you never know what the outcome is going to be when you send people like that, you know, to do something.

You just never know what's going to happen.

What did you make of John?

He could be very charming, but he was an opportunist.

And so he didn't hesitate to get my dad out of there.

He wanted to be running the show.

He didn't like the idea of anyone else being in charge?

No, he was head, you know, he was Captain Houston.

Shit, are you kidding me?

He loved being a boss.

You had to kiss the ring, and I mean that literally.

He had a big-ass gold ring.

You're saying literally he would ask people to kiss his ring?

Yeah, exactly. I'll never forget it.

And they did.

Nobody said, "Kiss my ass."

I was young, but you still have to question, you know, when someone says to you...

"You know you made it when you got white people working for you."

A lot of times I look at Whitney, and I can still see her in braids, pigtails... walking around.

It's hard for me to deal with her as a star.

It's very hard for me to deal with her.

I talk to her as a daughter. She talks to me as her father.

Suddenly he had a dream job.

From $500 a week to $500,000...

...a year.

Hi, Whitney.

Was that a good show, Daddy? That was a great show.

John Houston was a civil servant in New Jersey, running over to Manhattan, hanging out in the clubs, trying to find some people to manage.

And then all of a sudden, his daughter... becomes one of the biggest stars in the world, so John became a king too.

And John loved the fact that he could call anybody in Hollywood, and they would take the meeting immediately.

It's a power he never thought he would ever have.

Once John took over, everybody in the family except Cissy was on the payroll, and all the decisions were just about, you know, the money.

Just playing a few cards here. So there you go.

Try and do a couple of hands.

I remember her putting me and my brother on the payroll when we didn't even work for her at the time.

So we got a check every week in the mail, $200.

And then we went on tour.

And from there, we got a salary, and then we had a retainer when we weren't working.

She felt that when you love somebody, when they're family, this is what you do.

This is how we were brought up.

Our 6'5" senior from East Orange, New Jersey, number 24, Gary Garland.

Gary had just finished a career in the NBA.

He was drafted to the Denver Nuggets, and it was stated in the papers that he was dropped from the team for failing a drug test.

That must have been devastating.

I went through hell.

I was depressed for nine months.

I'm talking about numb.

Then '85 came, that's when my sister became a star, and I started singing with her.

I wasn't Gary anymore. I was Whitney's brother.

For Gary, having to sing after having a basketball career, was a letdown.

On the outside, he wanted to show he was having fun.

I think he was dying inside.

You get it? You get it now, right?

After your two-beat freeze, you go...

♪ Joy ♪

♪ Joy ♪ Michael was the fun-loving younger brother, had everyone laughing all the time.

He had a job as the road manager, or tour manager, something like that.

It was a family affair, man.

That's it.


All right, y'all. We're getting ready for the first show.

It was amazing. We traveled all over the world.

And we took care of Whitney, me and my brother.

We were her bodyguards. We took care of her baggage.

We made sure she was safe, and she was.

The idea was that they could watch over her, and they could protect her.

But both of them were... you know, were doing drugs.

I was using drugs... deeply then.

After being on tour for five or six months, I come home, you know.

I spent time with my family, but most times I was running.

A lot of parties to go to, a lot of chicks...

...a lot of drugs.

You're Whitney's brother... so the door is open.

You probably interviewed a whole bunch of motherfuckers I sat and got high with. They know who they are.

Whitney and I were very close, like I said, and we spent a lot of time together.

And it wasn't like I was ten years older than her, and I introduced her to drugs, "Here, little girl." No.

We graduated from marijuana together.

She wanted to try it after I tried it, and we tried it.

If anything was gonna be done, I was gonna be the one to show her.

Her age was probably around 16.

It was her birthday... and... I gave her a bag of weed... and a little toke of some cocaine.

I had fun, and that's all that matters.

Don't you know that?

That it's about having fun?

Did I have a lot of fun?

I was the one that went out and got drugs, you know, when we went to different cities.


I got drugs in Japan.

In Japan it's a no-no. It's a taboo.

Coming into the'80s, everybody was doing it.

It was out in the open.

When you went to clubs, it was right on the table.

It was like... It was crazy.

It was like... Like it wasn't a bad word.

Like it wasn't a bad thing, you know what I'm saying?

And... little did you know.

Straight up killer.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle, or they will not come to you. Mm.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.

Thank you for that.

♪ Be your baby tonight ♪ Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

And seven, eight.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

♪ You got the magic And I gotta have it ♪

♪ I don't want the pieces I want every single part ♪

♪ I'll be your angel I'm ready and able ♪

♪ Whatever you want is fine ♪

♪ Whenever you're ready Just call on your lady ♪

♪ I'll be your baby tonight ♪ It's time to chill.

♪ But anyway ♪

♪ My name is not Susan ♪

On the dance floor.

♪ And it goes a little Something like this ♪

♪ Who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Say, who do you love? ♪

♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪

♪ I wanna know right now ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ I wanna know who ♪

You miss something if you don't see her live.

She could just let it go, maybe feel like she was in church again.

Thank you.

Come on, let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

Come on.

Watch yourself.

It's kind of make you wonder how a song like

"Things That Make You Go Hmmmm" could be a hit, huh?

This we're gonna have to edit, Mom.

Well, let me let you all know who that was.

First of all...

Put that... Get out of here, Robyn!

Cissy Houston talking, folks.

Been in this business for over 30 years.

That's right.

Never, Mom.

Never change, baby. Stay the same.

You're beautiful. Love ya.

What was the business like, Mrs. Houston, when you we were very active and recording?

Hard. - Hard?

I don't wanna be in a business that ain't true.

I don't want to be in it like that.


I know, Mom, I know. I know, Mom, I know.

I know. My baby.

And I'm not gonna change.

I'm not gonna do it.

♪ I will not sell out ♪ Don't sell out, kid.

Don't sell out.

Is it open?

Ma, that's ugly.

A lot of your black audience has been a little bit critical in the last year about you singing songs that were less in a soul tradition or in a gospel tradition.

And you went a little too far to the pop side.

How do you feel about that kind of criticism?

I don't know. What do they want?

What do they want me to do? I think music is music.

You know? I mean, how do I sing more black, or how do I sing...

What am I doing that's making me sound white?

I don't understand.

I'm singing music from my heart, from my soul, and that's it.

Al Sharpton, he's out protesting with signs in front of the hotel saying "Whitey" Whitney.

At first she thought he was saying Whitney Houston.

She couldn't connect it until, you know, it was really brought to her attention, "No, he's calling you 'Whitey."'

What is the deal in the past when you've had the friction at the Soul Train Awards?

They booed me at the Soul Train Awards.

Yeah, and I'm not exactly sure...

You can't ask a whole crowd what was that about?


Yeah, I wanted to say that and some other things but...

The nominees for Best R&B Urban Contemporary Single by a Female are...

♪ Now I know... ♪

"Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" Whitney Houston.

She was so upset.

She said to me, "It would be one thing if they were booing me because they didn't like the way I sing, Aunt Bae."

She said, "But they were booing me for something altogether different."

And I think it goes back to her childhood when she was being bullied in school.

She was really torn up about it.

And I think the difference in how the crowd reacted to me and how they reacted to her played a part in our connection.

It's not hard to figure out who the hottest young solo male artist is.

His name is Bobby Brown!

Is this an awards show?

Are you all ready to party?

I was sitting in the front row.

She just kept nudging me. Get busy!

I said, "Excuse me." She said, "Yeah."

It was just really funny how she said it, like, you know, with this attitude.

I was conceited at the time.

♪ That's my prerogative ♪ Listen here.

♪ Well, they say I'm crazy ♪

♪ I really don't care... ♪ So then in walks Bobby Brown.

He was black. Absolutely for sure.

He was straight.

♪ Would you make me go Unh, unh? ♪ Even straighter than straight.

People thought, "That's so odd.

She's sophisticated, and he's unrefined, that Bobby Brown."

We're from the hood, and Bobby was a black boy from the hood.

The type my mother always kept away from her.

He's both of her brothers.

All rolled into one.

Bobby was a really funny and fun guy to hang around with, you know, he made her laugh.

Yeah, baby! Yeah, baby!

She truly loved him. She truly loved him.

Wait. I gotta make my wish. Shh.



Robert Barisford Brown, do you take this woman to be your wedded wife, and do you solemnly promise before God and these witnesses that you will love her and comfort her, forsaking all others for her alone?

I do.

I think that was a very difficult time for Robyn.

When you love someone, you want the best for them, even if it's not the best for you.

You know that, "If I leave, I can't think of anyone that would protect her from these landmines that are all around."

Whitney believed that if she got married, everything would be wonderful, and she'd have this great family.

She'd have her baby, and she'd just live happily ever after.

She absolutely had that fairytale.

To me, she was a little girl wishing upon a star.

She was always trying to find her way back home.

This here is a photograph of us in Italy.

It was a time when, you know, they were just married.

We was on honeymoon, and they were into dressing alike.

I guess that was the thing at that time.

She was extremely happy.

And looking forward to starting her life with her husband.

She called me when she was on her honeymoon, and she said:

"Aunt Bae, I didn't get my period. I'm pregnant."

Anyway, Krissi was born, and I'll never forget that day.

She came home early because she didn't want to stay in the hospital.

She came to the door, and she was bent over.

And she had Krissi in her arm.

And I said, "Nippy, what are you doing?"

She said, "Aunt Bae, will you bathe her?"

So I said, "Of course I'll bathe her," so I took the baby from her.

I never gave her back.

She slept in a crib for about two or three months... and then one night she was colicky and gassy, and I put her in the bed with me.

And she slept with me in that bed, wherever we were... for the next eight years.

- Point to the baby, Mommy. That's my daughter.

That's me and Bobby's little girl.

She looks just like her father, doesn't she?

I think, in the beginning, she was a good parent.

Whitney hated leaving Krissi.

It's hard when you're working, when you're traveling.

She had the same situation as her mom.

But she insisted on taking Krissi on tour.

Hey, baby, Krissi.

Oh, you're the best kid in the world.

Thanks. You're the best kid in the world!

Thank you, Mama. Thank you.

The best kid in the world.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Her mother was pulled away from her so much, she was always vying for her mother's attention.

Not her love, but her attention.

You all know who this is, huh?

♪ Bobbi, Bobbi, Bobbi Bobbi, Bobbi, Bobbi, Bobbi ♪

♪ My baby ♪

♪ My little girl ♪

♪ She inspires me ♪

♪ And she's giving me joy ♪

♪ Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy ♪

♪ A little goddess ♪

♪ And Mommy loves you, girl ♪

♪ You don't have to worry About a thing ♪

♪ Because I'm standing Right by your side ♪

♪ Don't worry ♪ Can you shoop? Mm.

It's not a place for children to grow up, on the road.

It's just not.

A kid needs stability, needs school.

Being around other children.

Krissi spent a lot of time around grown-ups.

Therefore, you grow up fast, and you become grown before your time.

The battle has been joined.

I get a call from Whitney's dad.

"Hey, son, we're gonna do the Super Bowl this year."

Super Sunday is on its way, and most of us will be glued to our television sets.

I talked to Whitney about how it should feel.

We always talked about the feeling first.

She talked about Marvin Gaye and how he had done the National Anthem at the NBA all-star game.

Marvin had this idea to make it soulful, so he had this drum machine, and he would just float in and out, and just sang however he felt at that moment.

♪ Oh, say ♪

♪ Can you see... ♪ And I think Whitney definitely saw then, like, he was just free.

♪ Early light... ♪ So I said, "I understand.

If I give you one beat extra for each measure, it's gonna allow you more freedom to hold the notes a little longer and have gospel flavorings and jazz flavorings.

They switched the meter for the song from a waltz 3/4 count to 4/4.

That might seem simple enough, but for someone steeped in the gospel and black tradition, all black music is 4/4.

Today the Air Force has been using its so-called smart bombs...

I remember this was during the Persian Gulf war, a patriotic time in this country.

And when I hand the music to the orchestra, and they play it...

They hate it.

It's "dissonant", it's..."sacrilegious."

♪ Made in America ♪

♪ That means a lot to me ♪ I sent her the recording, and I never heard from her.

A week before the Super Bowl, Whitney comes to town.

I'm excited. I'm, like, pacing the studio.

And I'm like... "So did you hear it?"

You know, "You hear it? You ready?"

She says...

"No, I haven't listened to it yet but just put it up, baby.

It'll be fine."

Holding my breath, I push play... and she sits there, eyes closed, listening.

She says, "All right, I got it." I'm like, "You got it?"

I roll the tape... and what the world heard was the first take.

Whitney Houston!

I can feel that same emotion right now, like you just witnessed something magical.

♪ O say can you see ♪

♪ By the dawn's early light ♪

♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪

♪ At the twilight's Last gleaming ♪

♪ Whose broad stripes And bright stars... ♪ Black people have always had a very fraught relationship to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

It's essentially a song about war, and the organs of state violence in the United States have just as often been used against black people as they have been against enemies.

♪ And the rockets' Red glare ♪

♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ She had the radical impact of highlighting the theme of freedom.

And for... black people, that's the most important concept that you live under in this country.

♪ O say does that Star-spangled ♪

♪ Banner yet wave ♪

♪ O'er the land ♪

♪ Of the free ♪

♪ And the home ♪

♪ Of the brave... ♪

She brought the spirit to it.

When you go to the right church, even as a Jewish person, you might accept Jesus in your life after hearing the right choir.

And at that particular point, in hearing her sing "The Star-Spangled Banner," she made people proud that they were Americans.

- Hi, sweetheart. How are you? Good.

- What do you think about Whitney Houston? I like her.

What does she mean to you?

She's the greatest female entertainer of the 20th century.

So much soul and so much spirit.

America. Every time I think of her, I think of "The Star-Spangled Banner." "The Star-Spangled Banner," yeah.

- What's your favorite Whitney tune? "The Star-Spangled Banner."

That was the greatest.

I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.

She sang with all her heart.

A beautiful singer, a beautiful person. A good Christian girl.

If you could say anything you wanted to say to her, what would you say?

I love you, Whitney.

The first time I met her, she was wearing big black glasses.

And she kind of pretended to be tough and answered in one word, like, "How are you?" "Good."

"So you want to do movies?" "Yep."

So I said, "Take off your glasses.

I want to see your eyes."

And she said, "That's exactly why I have them on, so you don't see my eyes."

So I reached over and took off her glasses.

She was kind of shocked, but then I looked at her and I thought:

"You know, even if she's a singer, I think she has..."

She had a spirit.

And I thought, "I'm gonna try this."

The Bodyguard? The Bodyguard.

What do you play in it? I mean, you're with Kevin Costner.

Well, I'm not the bodyguard. No, you wouldn't be that.

No, I play an entertainer, um, a rock star, pop star, um, who is an actress, who is haunted and hunted by this maniac killer.

- Oh. Yeah.

It's kind of like "love me to death" kind of thing. You know?

What's Kevin Costner playing in it?

He's the bodyguard. Yes, he's hired to guard my body.

Oh, what a nice job!

She had never done a movie. I had never done a movie.

But we learned quick.

For me, I'm like the most I dealt with white people was like at the store when they was, like, "You show us your credit card."

You know what I mean?

Like, that's how I was used to being treated.

So to come on a movie set and mostly white people telling you what to do, we were afraid.

Not that we were afraid of them.

We were afraid not to be able to live up to what it was that we were supposed to do.

The idea that she was my leading woman seemed to be a very big deal in the black community.

I never, um, saw that.

I simply saw she was the cutest, most beautiful girl that could sing.

You okay? Yeah. I'm okay.

And she happened to be black.

♪ I'll think of you... ♪ And then I realized that she asks the plane to stop.


She ran down the steps that every white woman has run down to kiss Cary Grant or whatever.

♪ I... ♪ And the camera went around the way it went around white people kissing throughout the history of Hollywood.

And we forgot about what color anybody was.

That did change everything.

What was the fun aspect for you being in a film?

Being a woman, being a black woman, playing a very strong part.

I think that's exciting enough.

When it was screened in South Africa, people cheered when they kissed.

That was amazing.

♪ That I'll think of you ♪

♪ Every step of ♪

♪ The way... ♪

♪ And I ♪

♪ Ooh, I ♪

♪ Will always ♪

♪ Love you ♪

♪ Will always ♪

♪ Love you ♪

♪ Bittersweet memories ♪

♪ That is all I'm taking ♪

♪ With me ♪

♪ So goodbye ♪

♪ Please don't cry ♪

♪ We both know ♪

♪ I'm not what you ♪

♪ You need ♪

♪ And I... ♪

♪ Will always love you ♪

♪ I ♪

♪ Will always love you ♪

♪ And you, and you, and you And you, and you, and you ♪

♪ And you, and you, and you ♪

♪ Ah ♪

The Bodyguard took Whitney into the stratosphere.

Every country in the world played that song.

Behind these walls, the row over a chart-topping hit rumbles on.

♪ And I... ♪ John and Suzanne Handley hated Whitney Houston blaring through their walls.

They called it psychological torture.

Today at their home there was no comment on the prison sentence handed out to the neighbor they'd taken to court.

All she did was play a Whitney Houston record, and she's serving seven days in prison for that.

It's dark. It's dark.

Under the candlelight...

Under the candlelight we see that there is a woman in here.

We don't know her name yet... but she's a fantastic recording artist, one of the best.

Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Whitney Houston.

Yeah, I'm on camera. They got me on camera.

- And that's Pat. Hi.

That's my sister-in-law.

This is Bobby.

Whether you know it or not, yeah, it's me. How you doing?

She was the superstar, and he had a couple of hits, so kind of equal, close enough.

And then The Bodyguard hit.

And she shot off into the stratosphere, and he knew instinctively he would never get there.

And he just kinda shut down.

When you got people in the media talking about Mr. Houston instead of Mr. Brown, you know.

Instead of saying... Like I say, "Fuck 'em," he let it get to him.

Can I just ask you real quick, Miss Houston?

Mrs. Brown, man. - Mrs. Houston-Brown?

Don't make that mistake. Yes, darlin'?

Let's go, Laurie.

Bobby was jealous, and he could not recognize that emotion.

He was always now the plus one.

For him, in a black man's mind, it was tearing him up.

We didn't think about who was bigger or who sold more records.

We thought about our talents and how they matched so well.

♪ Gotta go through... ♪ ♪ The fire ♪

♪ The... ♪ ♪ The rain ♪

You're crazy. Bobby, you're crazy.


Because, I was about to sing your line.

I know, I know. You know what?

He'll sing this whole phrase if I'm not careful.

Bobby, your part is, "Gotta go through."

- All right. The rain, the joy...

♪ Gotta go through ♪ ♪ The fire ♪

- ♪ The fire ♪ ♪ The rain ♪

- ♪ The rain ♪ Bobby. Bobby, you go...

Gotta go through... the rain... the joy.

I'm gonna play you the reference one more time.

Don't play me the reference.

She wanted to keep the marriage, and eventually, she stepped down to lift him up.

Initially, I named her movie company Houston Productions.

She's one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

And a few months in, she said, "We need to change the name to BROWNHOUSE."

She went so far as to, "Okay, well, you can manage me," trying to give him some leverage in different things to try to make him feel important again.

That's just not where his heart was.

He wanted to be on the stage. He wanted to be in the forefront.

Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!

He did things on purpose to hurt her, because he wasn't the star.

Bobby Brown is behind bars today.

...accused of hitting his wife...

...totaling a Porsche on Ocean Drive in Hollywood.

People were ringing the doorbell, young ladies saying, "Oh, this is his baby."


Sexual harassment lawsuits from some of the employees.


He would expose himself to them.

The R&B singer burst into tears.

Urinated on the back seat of the deputy's patrol car.

What took you so long?

Constantly, it was always something.

This isn't fair.

This ain't fair, man.

I remember being in Europe and sitting with her, looking at a European newspaper, and Bobby's being arrested for sexual harassment back in California.

And she's begging him to come on tour.

She's begging him to come be with her.

And I look at her and I go, "What are you doing?"

Between the press and everybody saying this is not gonna last, it was constantly biting at her.


But she didn't want to be like her mother, a divorcée.

She was going to prove that she could do it.

Do you believe in total fidelity?

Do I believe in what?

Total fidelity?

Being faithful?

Oh, I am faithful. That's why I got married.

Told you.

Wouldn't have got married if...

You know...

I think I got it. I hope so.

Were they in love, do you think?

They loved each other, but a strange love.

I think she might have believed she was in love with Bobby, but I really think it was more of a co-dependent relationship.

To the point where Bobbi Kristina was even left out.

Somewhere around The Bodyguard tour, '93, '94, I remember her not showing up in the rehearsals.

And then, when she came, she would struggle with her voice.

It wasn't the Whitney I knew.

There was definitely agitation.

All of the noise around her, all of the things coming at her, she just wanted to escape the pressure.

Can we talk about Whitney's drug problem? When did that...?

I don't wanna talk about that.

That has nothing to do with this documentary or anything that I want to speak about.

Okay, if you don't wanna talk about it.

- But obviously it's... Not at all.

It's the thing that killed her, so it's important, isn't it?

That's not what killed her.

Whenever you were with Whitney, were you taking drugs every day?

Hell, yeah, every day.

A lot every day. Shit that usually kills motherfuckers, and you survive it. So you keep rocking. Ha, ha.

What about Bobby?

Let's just say Bobby was a fucking lightweight... when it came to motherfucking drugs.

Bobby was not someone who could do, you know...

We used to pass Bobby, fucking, by lapping him.

Trust me.

What was Whitney's drug of choice at that time?

I'm sure it was cocaine, you know.

Marijuana and cocaine. - Was she smoking it?

I'm sure she smoked it inside the marijuana.

If we can't talk about drugs, that makes it very hard to talk about the last years of her life.


I think we've just talked about her life, you know.

Drugs has nothing to do with her life.

She was kind and soft and sweet.

And then she was somebody different.

Tell it.

M a n:

What did you hear?


That you had what?

I wouldn't fuck her with mine, dawg.


She started canceling dates.

I can recall one particular time she was scheduled to perform in California, and she was in California.

But she was at the airport, sitting on a jet.

They had been getting high, and Bobby made the phone call saying, "Tell the promoters to bring over X amount of dollars, and we'll show up."

I said, "Well, that ain't gonna happen.

So y'all might as well take off then, 'cause that ain't gonna happen.

That ain't how it works." You know?

"That is not how it works.

Ain't nobody bringing you a bag of cash!"

Everything began to spiral out of control.

I talked to her father.

I talked to her mother. I talked to Donna Houston.

Every person that you're gonna interview.

And I was able to get Cissy to do an intervention.

First of all, we walked in to do it, and Whitney was stoned.

Then after it was over, when she had agreed to go to rehab, she phoned her father, and he told her:

"You don't have to go."

Why didn't Cissy do more?

She didn't want Whitney mad at her.

Because she'd already been mad at her earlier in her life?

Yeah. And when she tried, she would go up to her house, but Whitney wouldn't let her in.

You had to get permission to go through that gate.

Why would nobody confront the situation?

Money. Their jobs. Their nice houses.

Their access to other celebrities.

The fact that, in my opinion, they had no marketable skill set, other than being a Houston or related to a Houston.

I mean, that's a lot. That's hard to give up.

They probably felt, I guess, a little bit in their defense, that "She's choosing to do this.

Why should I give up my lifestyle?"

I once talked about why she didn't stop, and she said, "I like it.

And I'm gonna do it until I want to stop."

I really empathize with her pain.

She was running away from her demons.

♪ I can run ♪

♪ I'm guaranteed his love ♪

♪ When there's food On my table ♪

♪ I'll hasten ♪ ♪ Hasten to ♪

♪ I'll hasten ♪

♪ I'm not gonna waste any time ♪

♪ I'm gonna run gonna run ♪

♪ I'll run, I'll run ♪ ♪ I'll hasten to ♪

- ♪ I'll run, I'll run ♪ ♪ His love ♪

♪ I'll run, I'll run I'll run, I'll run ♪

♪ I'll hasten to ♪ ♪ I'm gonna run ♪

- ♪ I'm gonna run, I'm gonna run ♪ ♪ His love ♪

♪ Oh-ho-oh-oh ♪

- ♪ I'll hasten to ♪ ♪ I'm gonna run ♪

- ♪ I'm gonna run ♪ ♪ His love ♪ Fuck!

♪ I'm gonna run ♪

♪ Ah, oh ♪

♪ Sure I will ♪

♪ Do you know You can run? ♪

♪ Did you think Of running? ♪

♪ You're gonna have to ♪

♪ Be strong ♪

♪ Where will I go? ♪

♪ Oh-oh ♪

♪ That's where I'm going ♪

♪ To his ♪

♪ Throne... ♪

♪ Oh-oh-oh-oh ♪

There were so many layers to reach her.

I don't even think she knew the layers that were being created by others.

One day we were told we had to send everything through Sheldon.

The next day it was through Tony.

Some days, we were told we can't copy Robyn.

Where is she? There she is.

Ready? One, two, three.

Of all the people working for Whitney, Robyn was always putting Whitney's considerations first.

Gotta get some respect around here.

They don't give me any respect.

Robyn became very important to Whitney's career.

She dealt with the record company.

She was the creative force involved in costume, stage design, developing Whitney's image.

♪ If tomorrow is Judgment Day ♪ Sing, Mommy.

♪ And I'm standing on the front line ♪

♪ Mm ♪

♪ And the Lord asks me what I did with my life ♪

♪ I will say ♪

♪ I spent it with you ♪

- ♪ Yeah, it's all so right ♪ ♪ It's all right ♪ It became a real power struggle between Bobby and Robyn, Bobby not wanting Robyn around, feeling insecure.

You gotta understand. - Yeah.

I love this woman too much. If y'all fuck around...

Bobby! ...I will kill you.

Baby, you... ♪ Do me a favor.

I will fucking bury you.

I'll bury you in my backyard and put lime on your ass.

Do you understand me?

It was extremely stressful, them always at each other's throat.

Robyn felt that Bobby was a bad influence.

She really and truly felt he was a bad influence, and that he would destroy her.

Robyn gave her an ultimatum.

"It's gonna be me or him."

Whitney said, "Tell her that I accept her resignation."

I called Robyn up and said:

"I spoke with Whitney, and she wanted me to tell you that she accepts your resignation."

And they didn't speak for years.

When Robyn left, John finally had total control.

She loved her daddy, and she trusted him.

But that allowed for a lot of foxes to come in the henhouse.

She seemed to be a bit of an ATM for a lot of people that I saw around her.

I don't see how an accountant, you know, drives a Ferrari and has a yacht and only has one client.

My understanding was that and got together and started stealing money.

A lot of money.

Was John himself stealing money?

Hm. Um...

She found out about it. All the money he stole.

She hated it.

She cut him off.

That's what she did.

Last September, the biggest blow of all, Houston's father, who managed his daughter's finances, joined his business partner in a lawsuit against her, demanding $100 million.

In 1999, Whitney signed the biggest deal that any recording artist had ever received.

John felt that he was the one that brokered the deal.

As a commission, he felt that he should be paid $100 million.

I'm tired of being hurt.

I'm tired of being in a neglected state.

You get your act together, honey...

And you pay me the money that you owe me.

She was daddy's little girl, and then daddy turned around and wanted to sue her for $100 million.

That would break anybody's heart.

She just held onto it.

And it ate her up inside.

When I knew he was dying, I called and she promised me she was coming, 'cause I wanted them to get it together before he went away.

I said, "Nip's on her way. She's gonna come."

He said, "No, she's not. She's not coming."

And really she didn't come.

Whitney didn't come to her dad's funeral.

She came the night before and did her personal goodbyes.

She didn't want the spectacle. She didn't want the cameras.

That's when she began to close herself and...

"It's me against the world."

This is Whitney's house outside.

♪ If the way I hold you... ♪

This is our first cigarette today.

What's wrong with that?

♪ No words of consolation ♪ The dining room.

♪ Is gonna make me miss you less... ♪

♪ Make it easy on yourself ♪

♪ Make it easy... ♪ I always felt compassion and empathy for her.

Deep down, she was a girl in pain.

But at the same time, she was so fun.

She was full of laughter, and that smile just made you feel warm all the time.

Well, here she is, everybody.

Wait! I gotta get you!

We need you to rock it, Whitney! Come back!

She was the first person that I worked with in A&R.

You can't run from the studio!

I'm leaving!

We recorded wherever they wanted to go.

You know, we'd go to Miami because the weather would be better.

I think we were there three months, and we recorded less than two songs.

Wow, what was...?

What was happening for those three months?


She said to me once...

After that, she said, "Baby, I don't think I slept 45 minutes this summer."

She would go behind the hotel door and not open it for 10 days or two weeks.

When she opened it, I could tell that she lost weight.

She wasn't looking healthy, and I would take her and say, "Come on, Nippy, let's go. Let's go get some soup."

How long did this all go on for?

A few years.

- A few years? Yeah.

How much do you think you spent?

I hate to say.



Probably more.

Expensive hotels, jets, studios that were booked that weren't used.

Why didn't the label put a stop to this?

Well, the world wanted to hear her again, and of course, the label wanted to put out that record.

There was so much money spent on that album, you must have known about the drug use.

Uh, you know what? I never knew there was any addiction.

I never knew it.

Um, it was just kinda kept...

I don't know if it was kept away from me because I was, at the time, the president of the label, or, you know...

♪ Oh, you ♪

♪ Light up my life ♪

♪ You give me hope ♪

♪ To carry on ♪

♪ Oh, you light up my day, Lord ♪

♪ And fill my night ♪

♪ With song... ♪ She was having problems with her voice, but the magic still showed up... now and then.

One time I was in Newport recording a song.

That day, it was just like the old, young... beautiful voice coming out of Whitney that we all grew up with.

And it was so magical that it brought me to tears.

It was just like...

I mean, I even have goosebumps right now just thinking about it.

I can just feel them taking over my body, 'cause it was so wonderful. And I was just...

I was like, "This is it. This is what we need."

And there was just a few hours of that, that was just like...

That was one of the highlights of the entire four years that I was around her.

♪ If you can't feed your baby ♪

♪ Then don't have a baby ♪

♪ And don't think maybe ♪ We denied rumors about her drug-taking for years.

But four days before 9/11, Whitney did a concert for Michael Jackson.

She looked so bad.

The cat was out of the bag.

The record company felt she had to do a sit-down interview and talk about this.

Everybody watching this is is gonna be staring at you physically.

And they're gonna be saying, "How thin is she now?"

Yeah. "Is she sick?"

I'm not sick, Diane.

I am not sick.

The bones. That's real.

Yeah, my bones, yeah.

I'm 5'7" and thin. But that's not just thin.

No? What is it, Diane? Tell me.

Is it alcohol? Is it marijuana?

Is it cocaine? Is it pills?

It has been. At times.


At times.

I was in the room...

And it just made me start sweating.

If you had to name the devil, for you, the biggest devil among them?

That would be me.

I knew it was a disaster.

Crack is cheap.

I make too much money to ever smoke crack.

Let's get that straight, okay?

We don't do crack.

We don't do that. Crack is whack.

I saw that interview, and I thought, "Why are we here?

Why are we doing this?"

I always thought, "Why are we doing this?

Why are we not doing the one thing that would make the difference for her life?"

Which was getting well.

I pray every day, Diane.

I'm not the strongest every day, but I'm not the weakest either.

And I won't break.

It's Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown!


After our interview with Diane Sawyer I... I haven't been able to sleep.

Yeah, and I haven't been able to stop sweating.

Your favorite song sung by America's sweetheart, Whitney Houston.

Come on, Daddy, I... I need my fix.

Remember the deal, Whitney.

First you sing, then you get your precious cocaine.

She's high, and we've recorded her on her double CD collection.

Listen as she screws up one song after another.

I need help, baby.

I need to get off this touring crap.

♪ No matter what they take from me ♪

♪ They can't take away my dignity ♪ Come on, Whitney, go get it.

It's just a joke to people? Really?

Whitney Houston is a joke to you now?

You're gonna laugh? Well, fuck you.

This is the greatest singer that ever walked the earth.

Beloved by millions and millions all over the world.

She's not a tabloid star.

It's hard to understand the isolation of that kind of tabloid fame.

Michael Jackson would call her sometimes, and she would go over and sit with him in his hotel room.

And they wouldn't even say anything to each other.

But they just...

They understood each other.

They both... They were... two of the few people in the world who could understand what their circumstances were.

And it was just being close to each other.

Whitney Houston has checked into rehab again.

Houston last checked herself into a rehabilitation center a year ago.

Houston said she is using the power of prayer to help her get over her addiction.

A number of times she went away into rehab, and she never managed to get clean.

I know it's a pretty complicated answer, - but why was that? No, I don't think...

It's not complicated.

Because... to go into treatment, you have to go for you.

Not for someone else.

And you have to tell the real problem.

I think there's always something in your childhood that makes you do drugs.

Is there something in your childhood that's made it particularly difficult to escape the addiction?

I remember a lot of different things going on in my life that were different.

What sort of things?

You know, being a... being a child, being 8 or 9 years old...

Seven, 8, 9 years old, and being kinda molested by a female... a family member of mine. You know.

- That bothered you a lot? Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

My mother and father were gone a lot.

So we stayed with a lot of different people.

Me and my brother and my sister stayed with four or five different families who took care of us.

Gary told me that he suffered sexual abuse as a child.

Did you ever hear that the same thing happened to Whitney?

I have heard it.

I have heard it.

I couldn't figure out why she would always be on my case about my daughter Reya.

If we were doing a business trip, she never liked the idea of me leaving her behind.

And then, as mothers, we talked, and she explained to me why.

We was talking one day, 'cause she knows my sister, and my sister was molested at an early age.

And she looked up at me, and she says, "Mary, I was too."

I said, "Huh?"

She said, "Yeah, I was molested at a young age too."

She said, "But it wasn't a man, it was a woman."

And she had tears in her eyes.

She says, "Mommy don't know the things we went through."

I said, "Nip, have you ever told your mother?"

She says, "No."

I said, "Well, maybe you need to tell her."

She said, "You don't know my mother.

My mother would hurt somebody if I told her who it was."

And she just had tears rolling down her eyes, and I just hugged her.

I said, "Well, one day, when you get the nerve, you need to tell your mother, and it will lift the burden.

I'm telling you, it will lift the burden off you."

What makes you angry?

Child abuse makes me angry.

Why child abuse? You come from a loving family.

'Cause, I hate to see kids... 'Cause for children...

It bothers me that children who are helpless, who depend on adults, for their security and for their caring, and for their love...

It just... It bothers me. It makes me angry.

Did she tell you who it was?

Yes. She did.

She did.

Gary told me that it was Dee Dee Warwick, his aunt, Dionne's sister.

Is that what she told you?

Yeah, that's what she told me.

"It was Dee Dee." And I said, "What?"

She said, "Yeah."

♪ What can you do? ♪

♪ What can you say? ♪

♪ When you find love ♪

♪ Slipping away? ♪

I think she was ashamed.

She used to say, "I wondered did I do something to make her think I wanted her."

And I had to say, "Stop it. Stop it."

"A predator is a predator."

If Cissy had have known it was happening, she would have done something about it.

Because Cissy loves her children.

What do you think the long-term effects of the abuse were?

It made her question her sexual... preference.

And I think that's why she really wanted a family, a husband, children, to make her feel that this is what's supposed to happen.

Do you think she understood herself?


I think she was trying to find herself.

She was a good actress.

I always used to tell them:

"Whitney's in there somewhere, but she's trapped."

Wake up! Wake up, Nippy!


Are you in there?

Whitney calling Nippy, Whitney calling Nippy. Whitney calling Nippy.

She won't answer. She's really being non-cooperative today.

- When she's ready to go... Nippy calling Whitney.

Yes, hi!

See, Nippy can call Whitney, but Whitney can't call Nippy.

It would be too dangerous for everyone.

Oh, my God.

All that praise. All that money.

She'd reaped all these things from that talent and that beauty, but it still wasn't gonna be enough for what she really... she really wanted.

If you can't know who you are, nothing's gonna save you.

I feel like...

♪ You and me against the world ♪

♪ Sometimes it feels like ♪

♪ Just me against this whole motherfucking world ♪ I'm sure you've never seen me like this before.

$150 and a water bottle...

Just as beautiful as every other day of your life.



In the end, there was no drive, there was no interest.

There seemed to be no vanity.

Someone who's not really alive, right?

Like a zombie... in some ways.

I mean, not feeding off anyone but...


She went to Georgia to get away from everybody.

She could run away from her mother.

She could run away from me.

She could run away from the people that would say:

"No, goddamn it, it ain't happening this way."

She went down there to visit and never came back home. Ha-ha-ha.

Her home here in New Jersey was still completely packed.

There was food in the refrigerator.

There were clothes in the drawers.

Did you live in the Georgia house with them?

No, sir. Wouldn't have if I was asked.

It was dark and evilness.

You know, she always... And I'd go in, I said, "No, we gotta open the blinds.

Evil dwell in the dark."

Bobby would say awful things to her.

She would come in with tears running, and I said, "Come on in here with me.

Let him calm down."

And I said, "You can't keep letting him do this to you."

"I know, I know, I know, Mary."

I used to try to keep Krissi out of her mother and father's room.

One day I came, and she had been in there.

She was looking at me, and I said:

"Krissi, why did you go in the room?"

"Well, I was looking for something, Auntie Mary."

She said, "What the hell...?"

I said, "Krissi..."

What did she see?

Oh, her father used to like to... draw all these devils and demons on the floors and the walls.

And... it was something out of a storybook to me.

It was... Wow.

She was the best mother she knew how to be.

But you've got to have that motherly love, and I just don't know if she knew how to give it.

The things Krissi had to endure, no one would ever imagine.

They didn't take care of Krissi.

They just left her to the wolves.

She never had a chance.

She'd never seen a normal life.

She was the companion of an alcoholic and a drug addict.

And that was what she learned to be.

Whitney asked me to meet her at the hospital.

Krissi had taken a knife and slashed her arms.

That's awful.

- Why did she do it? She hated her life.

She hated her mother.

She even went as far as writing:

"I wish I could find a way to kill her and no one find out about it."

The very public and very troubled marriage has come to an end.

Whitney Houston has filed for divorce from her husband Bobby Brown.

The two singers, who have one child, have been married for 14 years.

I'm surprised it lasted that long.

Anderson, back to you.

A lot of people felt it was coming.

I appreciate that. We'll check in with you for other headlines coming up.

That was a hard battle to come back from.

People saying, "I told you so. I told you so."

♪ So I'm saving all my love for you ♪

I remember Whitney crying about Bobby.

Krissi would go over and just rock her and say, "Oh, Ma, it's okay.

It's okay, Ma, don't cry.

He's gone so we gonna let him be gone."

She said, "I'm a failure. I failed."

But then she started getting it together.

And started biting to make it right for Bobbi Kristina.

For the very first time, she was determined to become clean.

She went to rehab in California for about seven to eight months, but she couldn't complete the program because she didn't have any money, nothing.

She'd gone dry.

It was tour time.

They went from ka-ching to ka-trouble.

Now Whitney Houston is trying to turn it all around and pop back to profitability.

She says, "Don't call it a comeback," but it's kind of what people are talking about, so it sort of is a comeback.

When we heard about the final tour, nobody wanted her to go.

Clive begged for her not to go.

But at that point, management felt that without that money, she'd be homeless.

The wait is almost over.

Fans at the Brisbane Entertainment Center walked out on her performance in disgust.

Whitney Houston's comeback tour has hit yet another snag, as hundreds of fans walked out of a recent show in Denmark.

Words like "shambolic" and "horrendous" have been bandied about.

Definitely not worth $165.

She couldn't entertain a dead rat.

♪ And I... ♪

♪ I will always ♪

♪ Love you ♪

♪ You ♪

♪ I will always ♪

♪ Love you ♪

♪ You always ♪

♪ Always love ♪

♪ Love you ♪

♪ You, I ♪

♪ I'll always love ♪

♪ You ♪

Whitney meant so much to black America.

We had a service for her at Abyssinian Baptist church in New York.

I suspected there'd be a couple of dozen people there.

The church was packed, 2000 people on a weeknight, to pray for Whitney Houston.

I mean, by that time, her demons were public.

By that time, we were all concerned about her future.

And just the people who don't know her gather because when one Whitney Houston emerges, black America clings to that star.

It's about much more than music.

♪ Through the storm, through the night ♪

♪ Lead me home... ♪ Whitney Houston will be back on big screens across America, starring in Sparkle, a remake of her favorite film, one she would watch over and over as a teen back in the '70s.

You got five minutes.

She wanted to do the movie.

She needed the job.

There was no more music career.

The deal was that she would have a drug test every week.

You look tired.

She's climbing out of a hole.

I am.

It was like, "If this is what I have to do, it's what I have to do."

In the first rehearsal, she looked terrible.

She was bloated, she was slurry.

And then she cleaned herself up.

When she wasn't working, she'd sit on set just to hang out with people.

Saturday night, took all the cast out to celebrate.

I invited her. She showed up.

She went to the football game with some of the guys.

I mean, she really, really, really was there.

I remember midway through the shoot, and I'd walk towards the hair and makeup trailer, and I'd hear this gospel music blasting.

It's, like, 5:00 in the morning, and she's in there singing, bright-eyed...

You know, happy.

I said, "What are you on?"

And both of us looked at each other and burst out laughing because she wasn't on anything.

This was joy, and I think it was the joy of having a purpose.

Of being able to get up in the morning and know you had a job.

You had people who wanted to be around you.

You were a part of a community.

And I really saw her come back to life.

♪ I sing ♪ ♪ I sing ♪

I sing because ♪ ♪ Because ♪

♪ I'm happy ♪ Choir: ♪ Happy ♪

♪ Hallelujah ♪ All: Hallelujah.

I sing ♪ Choir: ♪ I sing ♪

I sing because ♪ Choir: ♪ Because ♪

♪ I'm free ♪ Choir: ♪ I'm free ♪ On the last day, she said:

"I got an idea for our next movie.

It's gonna be David and Bathsheba.

Me and Mel Gibson."

I was like, "Well, Whitney, I don't know about that one."

I said, you know, "I think..."

She was... had an early morning flight.

"This is gonna be great.

We'll figure out other stuff to do.

You just go back home."

It wasn't until her wake... that her bodyguard came over to me and he said...

"You know, she didn't take that flight."

I mean, nobody ever told me.

She didn't want to leave.

She, um... She stayed, like, an extra three or four days...

And finally, she had him drive her back to Atlanta.

I just don't think she wanted to leave.

Because she had purpose and people who loved her.

And I can just see her going back to, you know, Alpharetta and waking up in the morning...

Or, more likely, in the afternoon... with no reason to get out of bed and nothing on the horizon.

And I just think she went home and went back in the hole.

Well... we've finally come...

♪ To an end ♪

♪ Oh, well ♪

♪ We've finally come ♪

♪ To the end ♪

♪ Story is over ♪ No, we haven't come to the end.

When is the end? - When you say so.


She came to my room early... of the morning in question.

And she started talking about... John the Baptist.

And she said... She laid her head on my shoulder, and she had her arm around my waist.

She said, "We're gonna be together one day, Ray."

She says, "Mary...

...I gotta get my shit together."

She said, "'Cause I got to see Jesus."

And I gave her this look, like, "Right."

She asked me to set up my box up for her, so she could listen to the music.

Because she always listened to music before she go on stage, or whatever she getting ready to do.

She would listen to some Fred Hammond.

So I ran the water.

She got in the tub.

And she wanted these cupcakes.

She said, "Mary, I just want a sprinkle cupcake, I swear.

Get two, but I won't eat but one."

And I left her smiling and brushing her hair in the tub.


I wasn't gone but 30 minutes.

♪ I ♪ I'm always running from this giant.

I'm always running from this big man.

My mother always says:

"Well, you know, that's nothing but the devil.

He's just tryin' to get you. He just wants your soul."

But he never gets me.

When I got back, there were no lights on.

I said, "What the hell?"

And I proceeded to step... in the bedroom.

Water came to my ankle.

I said, "What the hell?"

I saw my baby floating in there, just face down in the water.

Breaking News.

Whitney Houston is dead.

The death of singing star Whitney Houston.

Cause of death is drowning.

Heaven just got another beautiful voice added to the choir.

Due to cocaine use.

One of the true legends.

I would hope that all the negative press would take a pause and remember this great talent.

♪ When I think of home ♪

♪ I think of a place ♪

♪ Where there's love overflowing ♪

♪ I wish I was home ♪

♪ I wish I was back there ♪

♪ With the things ♪

♪ I've been knowing ♪

♪ I know you're listening, God ♪

♪ So won't you please try not to make it hard to know ♪

♪ I shouldn't believe everything ♪

♪ Everything that I see ♪

♪ A world full of love ♪

♪ Like yours, like ♪

♪ Like mine ♪

♪ Like home ♪

♪ Home ♪

You won't forget that name! Whitney Houston!

♪ Share my life ♪

♪ Take me for what I am ♪

♪ 'Cause I'll never change all my colors for you ♪

♪ I said take my love ♪

♪ I'll never ask for too much ♪

♪ Just all that you are ♪

♪ And everything that you do ♪

♪ You, you ♪

♪ I don't really need to look very much further ♪

♪ I don't wanna have to go where you don't follow ♪

♪ I won't hold it back again this passion inside ♪

♪ I can't run from myself there's nowhere to hide ♪

♪ Don't make me close one more door ♪

♪ I don't wanna hurt anymore ♪

♪ Stay in my arms if you dare ♪

♪ Or must I imagine you there? ♪

♪ Don't walk away from me ♪

♪ I have nothing nothing, nothing ♪

♪ If I don't have you ♪

♪ You see through ♪

♪ Right to the heart of me ♪

♪ You break down my walls ♪

♪ With the strength of your love ♪

♪ Mm, oh ♪

♪ I never knew ♪

♪ Love like I've known it with you ♪

♪ Will a memory survive ♪

♪ One I can hold on to? ♪

♪ I don't really need to look very much further ♪

♪ I don't wanna have to go where you don't follow ♪

♪ I won't hold it back again this passion inside ♪

♪ I can't run from myself ♪

♪ There's nowhere to hide ♪

♪ Your love I'll remember forever ♪

♪ Don't make me close one more door ♪

♪ I don't wanna hurt anymore ♪

♪ Stay in my arms if you dare ♪

♪ Or must I imagine you there? ♪

♪ Don't walk away from me ♪

♪ I have nothing nothing, nothing ♪

♪ Don't make me close one more door ♪

♪ I don't wanna hurt anymore ♪

♪ Stay in my arms if you dare ♪

♪ Or must I imagine you there? ♪

♪ Don't walk away from me ♪

♪ No ♪

♪ Don't walk away from me ♪

♪ Don't you dare walk away from me ♪

♪ I have nothing nothing, nothing ♪

♪ If I don't have you ♪

♪ You ♪

♪ If I don't have you ♪

♪ Oh, you ♪