ATLANTA (AP) — Singer Bobby Brown plans to build a shelter for domestic violence victims in honor of his late daughter while declining to directly address old allegations that he once hit his ex-wife Whitney Houston.
Brown is developing the not-for-profit Bobbi Kristina Brown Serenity House near Atlanta. The shelter will also offer a 24-hour crisis intervention line and an emergency transitional shelter.
On Monday, he received three proclamations from officials in Atlanta, Fulton County and the City of South Fulton acknowledging his plans.
Bobbi Kristina Brown, 22, was found unresponsive in a bathtub in 2015 and died after six months in a coma.
Her estate sued her boyfriend, Nick Gordon, for wrongful death, accusing him of assault and other offenses. An attorney for Gordon called the charges baseless, but after Gordon failed to defend himself in the civil case, a judge ruled against him in 2016 and ordered him to pay $36 million.
Bobbi Kristina Brown’s mother, Houston, died in 2012 after she drowned in a bathtub. Coroner’s officials ruled Houston’s death accidental and said heart disease and cocaine were contributing factors.
Last week, Brown denied to news reporters that his tumultuous marriage with Houston ever turned violent, despite a 2016 interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts in which Brown said he once hit her.
Asked again Monday about the allegations involving Houston, Brown did not answer directly but instead described his own childhood experiences of domestic violence.
“I grew up in a domestic violence home,” he said. “I’ve seen it firsthand. It stopped after my mom was not going to have it anymore. They both would do it to each other. I’m happy that part of my life is over. I’m ready to move on. I’m becoming a better man, father and brother. This is all about being there for someone else, so they won’t have to go through it by themselves.”
Brown’s wife, Alicia Etheredge-Brown, said she doesn’t appreciate the old allegations against her husband getting fresh attention.
“It feels very hurtful,” she said. She added that, “everyone doesn’t have the platform that Bobby is on, so it’s exposed.”
She said they are currently looking at properties in Atlanta and plan to open a home in the next year.
City of South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards said he supports Brown despite the old charges, saying it’s appropriate for Brown to receive a proclamation recognizing his plans for a shelter.
“You have to get to know the person for themselves. If you listen to the person and read between the lines, and you hear him today, that was genuine. That was not New Edition. That was a genuine love for his family. A genuine love for his daughter and for this movement to avoid domestic violence.”
Brown said he felt overwhelmed by the local officials’ support.
“I’m one of the happiest men on the planet earth right now,” Brown said. “It’s just beautiful that the mayor and city council have stepped up in support of my daughter’s passing.”
Associated Press contributed to this story.