The world was rocked by Whitney Houston’s untimely death last year on the eve of the Grammy Awards. This year, her mother, singer Cissy Houston, has paid loving tribute to her late daughter, but also given her side of some of the most difficult moments of Whitney’s life. From her troubled marriage to singer Bobby Brown to her drug use to her controversial relationship with her female assistant, Houston tells almost all about what led her daughter to ultimately self-destruct. Here are the five biggest revelations from her book, “Remembering Whitney.”
1.CISSY DOESN’T BLAME BOBBY
Though Cissy recounts in the book the joy that surrounded Whitney and Bobby’s wedding day on July 18, 1992, she does say she worried about the match. At the time, Bobby was just 23. Cissy talks about their fights including the infamous one on a cruise that left Whitney with a scar on her face (Cissy says Bobby and Whitney both maintained it was an accident) but says that even in the worst times, Whitney remained loyal to Bobby.
“In some ways, I think Bobby was Whitney’s rebellion. Around him, she didn’t have to be the perfect girl or America’s sweetheart, and she felt she could relax and just be the person she truly was. Of course, drugs complicated their relationship. Yet unlike a lot of people, I don’t blame Bobby for introducing Whitney to drugs or for the things that ended up happening to her. At the same time, I don’t think he did much to help her. He had his own demons to fight…” (page 208)
2.WHITNEY’S BROTHERS STRUGGLED WITH DRUGS
When her gaunt appearance at a Michael Jackson tribute concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden gave fuel to rumors about her drug use, and angry Cissy confronted her daughter, who told her to stop worrying so much. But what Cissy would come to find out was that Whitney was not her only child who was struggling with drug addiction. Whitney’s brother Michael recently confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he introduced his sister to cocaine.
“..Nippy [Whitney] broke my heart that day, that’s all I can say. She broke my heart. And you know, her brothers did, too because they were all doing the same thing. I was so surprised at them and disgusted, too. They were supposed to protect her but the same thing happened to her that was happening to them.” (page 211)
3.WHITNEY MIGHT HAVE HAD A GAY RELATIONSHIP
In “Remembering Whitney,” Cissy never confirms or denies rumors that Whitney was involved in an intimate relationship with her then-assistant Robyn Crawford. Cissy does say that she knew that Robyn was gay and that she didn’t like her from the start because of what she describes as a prideful attitude. There is more here in what Cissy doesn’t say as she acknowledges that Whitney lived with Crawford for years up until and even after her marriage to Bobby Brown but stops short of saying she thought there was anything else but friendship going on.
“Kids have a mind of their own – when they get older, they want to experiment with all kinds of things. I know there has been a lot of speculation over the years about the friendship between Nippy and Robyn and exactly what went on between them, back when they first met or later on. Nippy never shared details about of her personal life with me about things like that but I do know that Nippy and Robyn cared a lot about each other.” (page 102)
4.CISSY DIDN’T KNOW THE FULL EXTENT OF HER DAUGHTER’S DRUG PROBLEM
It’s hard to tell whether Cissy turned a blind eye to her daughter’s drug use early on or just didn’t recognize the symptoms. She says that she realized, especially the night of the Michael Jackson show that something was going on, and even said that she knew Whitney was high, but throughout some of the worst of it, she seemed reluctant to intervene. But in 2005, she did, going with her son Gary to Atlanta where Whitney was living with Bobby in horrific conditions that were later documented by “The National Enquirer.” With the help of sheriffs and a court order, Cissy had her daughter committed to rehab.
“I guess I should have been relieved or maybe even happy, but this was the worst I’d ever felt in my life. I was hurting like a dog because Nippy was so angry with me. I knew I’d done the right thing, but I hadn’t been able to reach her, and I had never felt such a gulf between my daughter and me.” (page 235)
LIKE MANY MOMS, SHE HAS REGRETS
One thing that Cissy makes clear in the book is that Whitney was a strong-willed woman. While people around her didn’t always agree with her choices, they were her own. Cissy does have her regrets about their relationship, though, wishing that she and her daughter had been even closer. She admits that in the last years of Whitney’s life, they didn’t even see each other that much.
“…For whatever reason, she could never talk to me about anything that upset her, unless she was really in trouble. I wish we had found ways to communicate better with each other, before things got to a crisis point. I don’t know, maybe some of that was my fault. I was touchy about certain things and quick to tell her – or anybody – if I didn’t like what was going on. “ (Page 260)