In Winans’ memoir, Whitney I Knew, the gospel singer paints an intimate picture of a woman the public thought they knew. From being a horrible driver who just loved getting behind the wheel to a generous friend who regularly helped fans in financial need. Whitney even gave Winans $50,000 towards the down payment on his first house. But fame was a lonely place for the beloved singer.
“There was no gimmick to her, only giftedness,” Winans writes. “But with that giftedness came great promise and great responsibility, the weight of which can be too much for even the most pure in heart.”
As a close friend of the singer, BeBe talks about some candid moments that he admits Whitney might not have wanted to reveal, like the first time she met Mariah.
It was 1990 and Mariah Carey had just released her self-titled debut album. The tabloids were reporting that the two stars hated one another, but Winans says nothing could be further from the truth.
“Contrary to popular thought, she loved to hear Mariah Carey sing,” he wrote. “When Mariah burst onto the scene, Whitney called me and asked, ‘Did you hear that new girl, Mariah? Good Lord, she can sing!’”
Though Mariah and Whitney later worked together on their Oscar award-winning song, “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt soundtrack in 1998, the two had a rough start.
At the 1991 American Music Awards, Bebe told Whitney to go up and introduce herself to Mariah. When Houston went up to Carey, the singer turned away leaving Houston feeling snubbed.
Winans admits it was a good thing no one saw this encounter because the press would have had a field day.
“And all because it may have been so chaotic in that moment that Mariah didn’t even hear Whitney,” he said.
The two later became good friends. Earlier this month, Mariah spoke in honor of Whitney at the BET Awards where she told the crowd: “I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter.”
Read a complete excerpt from BeBe’s memoir at Rolling Stone’s website.
The Whitney I Knew comes out July 31.
- Shannon Carlin, CBS Local