Actress Jenifer Lewis and the late Whitney Houston were dear friends prior to the singer’s passing in 2012. The pair starred together in “The Preacher’s Wife.” Lewis claims she “noticed” Houston struggling with substance abuse last week on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.” She mentioned Houston’s 2009 interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
“She eventually went on Oprah and said she was using during that time. I noticed something,” she explained in a clip shared on Instagram. “This is in my book, ‘The Mother of Black Hollywood.’ I noticed something, and she just wasn’t ready at that time to go and get help.”
The 65-year-old paused for a deep sigh before recalling the last time she heard Houston’s voice. “She was on her way to a rehab and she called. She said, ‘I’m gonna do it this time, mama. I’m gonna do it.’” While fighting back tears, Lewis added, “Never heard from her again.”
The “Black-ish” star claims that Houston went to rehab “to get herself together.” She also revealed that the Grammy-winning vocalist was “getting ready” to begin filming “Waiting to Exhale 2.”
“They were thinking about it, yeah,” Lewis shared. “I got to say this to you. Whitney’s voice … her instrument was the eighth wonder of the world, and I wish that we all could have done more. But you cannot help a person who’s not ready to be helped.”
She went on to express her appreciation for the New Jersey native, who got her start singing in church. “Whitney Houston. There will never be another,” added Lewis. “There will never be another.”
Fans in the comments section began to compliment Lewis and Houston and reminisce on their roles in “The Preacher’s Wife.” Others entertained the idea of a potential “Waiting to Exhale” sequel in the works.
“‘Waiting to exhale 2? OMG.”
“Listening to Ms. Lewis narrate her book Mother of Black Hollywood is an experience!! She is so underrated as a performer.”
“I miss Whitney. And, Jennifer is an amazing story teller, no matter the genre.”
‘I miss Whitney ! They were great in the Preacher’s Wife !”
‘I grew up with Whitney and can remember how beautiful her voice was before drugs took it away. Whitney was my generation’s Icon!”
One final commentator said, “This had me all types of misty-eyed.”
Whitney Houston passed away in February 2012 at age 48. The “I Will Always Love You” singer was found unconscious in a hotel bathtub in Beverly Hills, California, on Grammy weekend. Her death was later ruled an accidental drowning. However, a toxicology report noted heart disease and cocaine as contributing factors to her death.