Whitney Houston’s mother says allegations that her daughter and her son were molested by her niece are “unfathomable.”
In a statement to People magazine on behalf of herself and her sister, singer Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston revealed they first learned of the claims two days before the documentary Whitney premiered in May.
In the statement, Cissy Houston says Dee Dee Warwick may have had her “personal challenges,” but the idea that she would have molested her children is “overwhelming and unfathomable.”
In the documentary, the news comes near the end of the film, when Houston’s former longtime assistant, Mary Jones, alleges that Houston told her that she was molested as a young child by her cousin Dee Dee.
Jones mentions that Houston’s alleged molestation had a lasting effect on her life and contributed to her late-life drug problems.
“It made her question her sexual preference,” she says in Whitney. Jones also says that Houston never told her mother because “I think she was ashamed.”
Jones continues: “If Cissy had known, she would have done something about it because Cissy loves her children.”
WATCH BELOW: Movie Trailer ‘Whitney’
Houston’s half-brother, Gary Garland-Houston, also says he was molested between the ages of seven and nine by a female family member and says his sister was abused too.
Dee Dee Warwick, who was 18 years older than Houston, died in 2008. She was twice nominated for a Grammy Award and sang backup for Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and others.
The allegations made in the documentary Whitney, which was made with the cooperation of Houston’s family, immediately cast a new light on Houston’s troubled life.
The singer died at the age of 48 in 2012 from what was ruled an accidental drowning in a bathtub. A coroner’s report into her death cited heart disease and drug use as contributing factors. Houston never spoke publicly about her own alleged abuse.
—With files from the Associated Press