• Who was Dee Dee Warwick? Singer accused of sexually assaulting Whitney Houston

    By: Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    An upcoming documentary about the life of Whitney Houston is revealing new details about her upbringing. The star was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and the abuser was her cousin Dee Dee Warwick, another notable singer, according to filmmakers. 

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    The movie entitled “Whitney,” which hits theaters in July, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Wednesday, and in a recent IndieWire interview, the director Kevin Macdonald talked about the sexual abuse allegations. 

    “Gary the brother told me he was abused by Dee Dee,” he said. “So it’s not allegations. He’s saying I was abused by this person and told me, ‘I think she abused Whitney.’”

    Want to know more Dee Dee Warwick? Here are five things you should know. 

    She was born into a family of singers.

    Born Delia Juanita Warrick, the singer was raised in Newark, New Jersey. She is the younger sister of Grammy-award winning singer Dionne Warwick, whose hits include “Walk On By” and “Say A Little Prayer.” 

    >> Related: New Whitney Houston doc trailer shows singer saying Paula Abdul is ‘singing off-key on the record’

    In her teens, she began singing with her sister and their aunt Cissy, Whitney Houston’s mother, in church. They eventually became a gospel trio called Gospelaires and were recruited by a record producer after a performance at the Apollo Theater in New York. 

    Warwick sang backup for Aretha Franklin and others.

    As a teen, she sang for stars including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and even her sister Dionne. She also sang solo. After leaving the gospel group, she recorded a version of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” which was later covered by Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations and peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100. 

    >> Related: Rare footage shows Whitney Houston rehearsing 'I'm Your Baby Tonight'

    She launched a solo career in her late teens. 

    By the 1960s, she officially began to pursue solo endeavors. Her first recordings included songs such as “You’re No Good” and “I (Who Have Nothing).” In 1965, she signed a deal with Mercury Records and found success with the tunes “We’re Doing Fine,” “Foolish Fool” and “She Didn’t Know (She Kept on Talking).”

    She also made some TV appearances. The starlet sang alongside her sister on NBC’s Hullabaloo and as a solo act on the TV show Shivaree. 

    She was reportedly one of the first openly gay women in the music industry.

    The Telegraph reported she was open about her sexuality. 

    “Dee Dee was openly lesbian in the music industry,” one anonymous source close to the Warwick family told the publication. “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.”

    The singer battled with substance abuse. 

    She battled drug addiction for much of her life, and in 2008, she died in a New Jersey nursing home at the age of 63. Her sister was reportedly by her side. 

     

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