The Whitney Houston-estate approved documentary “Whitney” won’t be released in theaters for another two weeks but a recent screening held for the film led to the singer’s long-time agent to give a glimpse into their relationship.
Nicole David worked with Houston from 1986 up until her death in 2012. She told Kevin Macdonald, the director of the doc, — which explores everything from the vocalist’s childhood trauma to her sexuality and her blackness — she never understood the “why” of what happened to Houston.
“I was Whitney’s agent but I loved Whitney,” David told The Hollywood Reporter Friday, June 15. “If I represent someone, I have to love them to do a good job. That’s why I was an agent. I was sick of having her be a tabloid sensation and always looking like this beautiful girl with a great voice that God gave everything to [who] just messed it all up and became a junkie. I thought that story was not true, and I knew there was a lot more.”
But despite David wanting to get Houston out of the tabloid box, one prominent aspect of Houston’s time in gossip rags was her drug use. A photo of the star’s drug-covered bathroom was plastered on the cover of the National Enquirer in 2006. Kanye West licensed the photo for $85,000 to put on the cover of Pusha T’s album, “Daytona,” which the rapper executive produced.
“It was tacky and thoughtless,” David said of the cover image. “With Kanye, I didn’t judge it too much. He is where he is in life, and he doesn’t need me to judge him because everybody is judging him, and I don’t know his story any more than people knew Whitney’s story.”
While the documentary exposed headline-making information — like Houston and her being molested by cousin Dee Dee Warick (who died in 2008) while her mother was on tour — David teased that there’s much more about the Grammy winner “than you’ve seen tonight.” Still, she credits Macdonald for piecing together a story by getting Houston’s family members to speak on camera, despite failing to get the singer’s best friend and rumored girlfriend Robyn Crawford to speak.
“I always knew that there was a pain in Whitney that I could not identify, which is part of the reason I worked with her. I saw fragility,” she said. “I feel I know many more facts now. Whitney’s soul I always knew. You know, some people you can look at for 20 years and they never let you see them, but she couldn’t help it. I saw her and I loved her. This gave me more facts, but it does not change how much I love her.”
“Whitney” opens in theaters Friday, July 6.