(Photo: Arnold Turner/PictureGroup)
On Wednesday, October 24, the family of the late, great Whitney Houston will debut their reality show The Houstons: On Our Own on Lifetime. As we all know, the legendary Whitney Houston suddenly passed on February 11, 2012. Since then, the family has been the subject of gossip and tabloid fodder. Now, audiences will get an exclusive look at the Houston family — despite criticism that it is too soon after Whitney’s death to venture into reality television.
Pat Houston, Whitney’s longtime manager and president of the icon’s estate, opens up to BET.com about criticism of the show, Bobbi Kristina’s relationship with Nick Gordon and the Whitney tribute that moved her the most. Plus, Pat makes it clear that the sole focus ofThe Houstons: On Our Own is and will always be family.
Who in the Houston family was first approached to do a reality show?
Cissy [Houston] has been approached, I have been approached — we actually did a reality show about two years ago called Power Brokers that involved myself, my husband, my daughter and Bobbi Kristina. It was about five successful women in Atlanta, Georgia, and I was one of them. But because it was so positive, I don’t think the networks were ready to pick up on something like that so it never happened. But we are not new to reality shows — and I am not talking about the Being Bobby Brown reality show — we've always had conversations with people about reality shows. When this one came up it was still about myself and how I was going to balance my life and career, being a mother of a 14 year-old going into high school, inheriting another daughter, my niece, which is Bobbi Kristina, dealing with a husband that has cancer and running the businesses that I run. How do you balance this with a grieving a family? That's what the show is all about.
Was there anyone in the family who was hesitant about doing reality TV?
We've been under the microscope for a very long time so it's really nothing new for cameras to be following us. It was okay, it was quite all right. There's nothing to hide. We're just focusing on a family that is grieving. How do you do it? How do you get through it? That's what made the decision for us to do it — it's nothing new.
Many people, especially Whitney Houston's fans, are asking why the family is doing a reality show. Some are saying it's inappropriate. What's your reaction to that?
There will be some that will have much to say — that will never stop. There will always be naysayers as it relates to what people should do. What is the timeline for anyone that wants to do something? Who do we owe our allegiance to? Do we live our lives for someone else or do we live by our own standards? We're just a typical family, another family that is in a situation. We're just living life one day at a time, just moving on like any other family would do.
We see from the trailer that the relationship between Bobbi Kristina and Nick Gordon is explored. Have they been together for several years or did this relationship blossom after Whitney Houston's passing?
There has been a friendship for over six years. There has been a strong friendship for over six years with Nicholas and Krissy.
In the trailer, it looks like some in the family are hesitant about the relationship. Is that safe to say?
Oh yeah, definitely — I was one of them and that's all I'm going to give you. [Laughs]
We've got to watch the show, right? [Laughs]
Yes, it's a journey. You just have to watch the show. With anything, things happen and you try to deal with it, take it one day at a time. You hope for change. You just have to watch and see. It's worth doing that.
Does the show touch on Bobbi Kristina's relationship with her father?
We definitely talk about Bobby [Brown] in the show because that is Krissy's father. He is a part of her. That is her dad so we definitely touch on that and not in a negative way.
What is the status of Bobbi Kristina's singing career?
She's trying to figure it out; we're trying to figure it out with her. It's something we don't want to push and you'll see it in the show. But we're trying to figure out if that's the right place for her. I've often said, I wouldn't care if she worked in Starbucks or in a library — as long as she's happy, taking care of herself and taking things one day at a time.
How is Ms. Cissy Houston doing?
She's doing good, as well as she can — it's very hard for her. Every time you turn on the television or you're reading, it's about her daughter. My prayers are with her every single day, but she is strong. She believes in God and she always has, she's really depending on God to get her through this. I am proud of her for standing the way she is, but it's a struggle because that was her baby, her only daughter... but she is doing good.
There have been so many great tributes to Whitney Houston since she passed: Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Monica, Brandy, etc. Outside of Cissy Houston of course, is there a particular one that really moved you?
It was actually on BET. With all of the performances on stage, even her mother being on stage, when Gary [Houston] stepped on stage to sing "Where You Are" — a song that Whitney sang. It was almost like she was up there singing on stage because Gary sang with her all of her life. Thirty years in the business, Gary was on stage with her. Seeing him on stage, performing that song, it brought back so many memories for me. It was so, so emotional because it was almost like she was up there singing. It meant the world to him to get up there and sing that song because he knew that's a song that she truly loved. It was about what she would've wanted and not what anyone else would've wanted in a performance — to see her brother on stage doing a tribute to her. That was special.
The Houstons: On Our Own airs Wednesday, October 24 on Lifetime. Check your local listings.
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