It has been almost a year since Whitney Houston tragically passed away. A death that shocked everyone because its timing (the night before the Grammy Awards), because it was so sudden and because of the manner in which she left this earth. Since then, her family has tried to move forward, sometimes in ways some people aren’t too fond of (remember The Houstons: On Our Own?), but they couldn’t go forward as a family without Cissy Houston, the matriarch of the clan. She speaks in depth about her daughter’s life, the feelings she has about her death and what she wishes she could have done to prevent it in her new memoir, Remembering Whitney: My Story of Love, Loss, & the Night the Music Stopped. A lot of what she had to say will definitely get people talking, and a lot of what she said in an interview with People to promote the book will probably do the same. We have her thoughts from both.
When asked about her feelings about Bobby Brown and the part that he played in Whitney’s downfall, she makes it clear that she was relieved that Whitney finally rid herself of him when they divorced (“She finally got rid of him, but it was too late”). But in both the book and her interview with People, she says that she doesn’t blame Bobby for her daughter’s drug use. He just so happened to not be the best husband for her. “I blame him for the way he treated her, but I don’t blame him for her drug problems…He didn’t help her, that’s for damn sure. He was no help to her at all.”
At one point in the book, Houston touches on how volatile their relationship was, and how she once went to their home in Atlanta and found an unforgettable scene:
The things I saw sent a chill right through me. Somebody had been spraypainting the walls, painting big glaring eyes and strange faces. They were evil eyes, staring at you like a threat. And there was a big framed photo of Nippy, Bobby and Krissi – but someone had cut Nippy’s head right out of it.
Speaking of unhealthy relationships–real and alleged–Mama Houston also touched on her daughter’s connection with former assistant Robyn Crawford. The two women had to battle rumors that their relationship was more than professional, and to this day, Cissy knows nothing about any truth to those rumors. Robyn did care about Whitney, seeing as how Cissy says Crawford was the first to alert her of Whitney’s growing drug use in the ’80s, but she was another person Cissy didn’t approve of in Whitney’s life (because Robyn was into drugs as well). “I just didn’t want her with my daughter. I know nothing about a romantic relationship. That’s what everybody said but they didn’t know either.”
But a big aspect of the book is the introspective look Cissy takes of herself. “Was I a good mother? ‘I still wonder if I could have saved her somehow. But there’s no book written on how to be a parent. You do the best you can.” And she speaks on the two things that she’ll never seem to be able to get over. One, is the fact that Whitney died alone, and in such conditions as she did, and that Whitney could never come to her about the small things that sent her on a downward spiral:
She’s put on her chirpy little-girl voice, and to my ears she sounded all right. If there’s any one thing I regret about our relationship, that’s it: for whatever reason, she never could talk to me about anything that upset her, unless she was really in trouble. And that’s something I’ll never get over.
But in the end, what Cissy hopes people will take away from the novel is that Whitney was a truly good person, no matter what trials and tribulations she went through. “I want people to know the truth about her, how she really was.”