Whitney Houston Doc Trailer Explores Late Singer's Drug Use and Headline-Making Relationships

Courtesy of The Estate of Whitney E. Houston
Whitney Houston

'Whitney' offers an intimate look at the late singer's life and promises answers to the "questions you want asked."

Ahead of a midnight premiere screening at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the first official trailer for Kevin Macdonald's Whitney Houston documentary, Whitney, was released Wednesday morning. In the film, the late musician is remembered through never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives and original interviews with her loved ones.

In the preview, many familiar tabloid headlines are referenced as vignettes of Houston's life flash onscreen and a banner promises to reveal "the answers you never knew" to the "questions you want asked." The Grammy winner's friends and family discuss her headline-making romance with Bobby Brown, her "tough" relationship with mom Cissy Houston and the drug abuse that contributed to her death at age 48 in 2012.

"There were times when I looked up to God and I'd go, 'Why is this happening to me?'" the singer says in one scene, seemingly pondering her rise to superstardom and the downfalls of fame. "People think it's so easy and it's not."

Elsewhere, Houston criticizes fellow pop star Paula Abdul. "Paula Abdul ain't shit," she says of the choreographer turned recording artist. "That girl is singing off-key on the record."

And, of course, Houston's own voice ­— specifically, her memorable 1991 performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV — is showcased in the trailer. Earlier this month, director Macdonald told The Hollywood Reporter that Houston's rendition of the National Anthem played a part in his decision to tell her story. 

"I met Nicole David, her longtime agent, who was incredibly close to her. And she said to me, 'I just don’t understand what happened, she was the most lovely girl,' and this was someone who knew her really well. And I thought that was interesting. And then Nicole sent me this article about Whitney’s rendition of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and how that changed how the song has been understood and sung ever since," he said. "So I think it was the combination of thinking there’s this really interesting personal mystery, but also how this woman was a musical genius."

Whitney hits theaters July 6. Watch the trailer below.