A singer told yesterday how Whitney Houston flew into a terrifying rage just hours before she was found dead.
American X Factor star Stacy Francis claims the troubled diva – high on tequila and champagne – lashed out after accusing her of trying to steal her on-off boyfriend, Ray J.
Spaced out on pills and reeling from a champagne and tequila binge, the troubled singer suddenly turned into a terrifying monster – as her demons finally overwhelmed her.
“She was out of control,” shocked Stacy revealed yesterday. “She put her hand in my face. She was screaming at me and called me a bitch. She just went crazy – like Jekyll and Hyde.
“I turned to look at her and she pushed my forehead and turned my face away.
"I grabbed her hand and said, ‘Please don’t do this. You’re everything to me. You’re my idol, you’re a legend.’
“I was crying and screaming out, we were both screaming until eventually we were pulled apart.”
The next day Whitney, 48, was found dead in her bath at the Beverly Hilton hotel after a suspected drink and drugs overdose.
Single mum Stacy, 42, revealed her shock and sadness at being attacked by the star she worshipped.
The fracas erupted in the early hours of Friday as Whitney was on a night out with her 18-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina.
The singer had arrived at the trendy Tru Hollywood nightclub for a pre-Grammy Awards party, hosted by her singer pal Kelly Price, at around 11pm.
She was escorted downstairs to a dimly lit VIP area known as The Cathouse with plush banquettes and cocktail tables.
Whitney looked amazing in a black, low cut dress and strap stiletto heels.
Stacy had been asked by Kelly to perform at the tribute concert for the late Etta James. She bumped into her idol in the VIP area after Whitney had briefly taken to the stage to sing Yes, Jesus Love Me.
The pair had met a couple of times before, in the 90s, and even sang together on stage on one occasion – and were soon chatting like old friends.
Stacy said: “I showed her photos of my one-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and she told me how much she loved her only daughter, Bobbi Kristina.
“She was in such a good mood – so witty and funny and cool. I couldn’t believe I was actually hanging out with Whitney Houston – I even sent out a message on Twitter.”
At one point when she was sitting with Whitney the star asked a waitress for a £750 magnum of Dom Perignon and began drinking glass after glass.
Stacy said: “She then started downing shots of tequila with her entourage. We were all
Although she didn’t see any drugs, Stacy was stunned at the sudden and dramatic change in the star.
She said Whitney’s mood turned ugly soon after singer Ray J, the 31-year-old brother of pop star Brandy, turned up and started chatting to her. Stacy said: “Whitney came running over and said, ‘You know Ray’s my baby? Yeah, I’m a cougar girl!’
“I said, ‘Whitney, I love you baby. It’s not like that. Calm down, you’re causing a scene.’
“There was a lot of alcohol there. She was doing shots. I saw her drink one before she went on stage to sing and then she had another one when she came off.
Stacy explained: “Ray had come over to me when he got there and he hugged me and said congratulations on the X Factor. He had known me for about 20 years and he was happy for me being on such a big show.
“But I don’t think Whitney understood. I was with a date. It wasn’t what she thought, but then Ray’s friend stepped between us and I heard Ray telling Whitney that I was a friend of the family.
“It was really cramped by the stage and at one point I was so close to Whitney that our
“The tips of her hair were all wet with sweat. I didn’t really understand what was happening when things suddenly changed.”
Stacy said Whitney “smirked” when she said she was her idol in the middle of the ruckus. She added: “Whitney’s very thin, she’s smaller than me. She was very sweaty, but it was hot in there and there was a lot of dancing. There were stairs and it was very tight.
“She said, ‘Why are you here? Who’s the bitch?’ It was really weird because we’d been talking for hours.”
Mistakenly thinking that Stacy was making a play for Ray J, the boozed-up star started shouting and screaming in her face. Stacy said: “It all went very wrong when she put her hand in my face and pushed my forehead.
“I was emotional and I was crying and screaming and she was screaming. It felt like an eternity but was probably about 15 to 20 minutes. At one point I wouldn’t look at her, I was wondering where this was all going.
“She was talking to Ray and he was trying to calm her down. I saw him shaking his head. I don’t know what they were saying to each other that made it shift.
“We were only a few feet apart and she was waving her hands in my face. She was saying to me, ‘What am I misunderstanding? You going to live or what? You accept my apology? Am I apologising to you or are you apologising to me?”
Sobbing in the front room of her Los Angeles apartment, Stacy said she was still in “disbelief” that Whitney had behaved so irrationally.
“I was very hurt. I said to her, ‘The thing we don’t want is Stacy Francis from the X Factor fighting Whitney Houston. Please honey, we don’t want that.’ I just wanted to grab her and hug her.
“Ray and his friend Jo Jo were trying to grab her and so were the security guards because it had got out of hand and no one knew how it was going to go.”
Stacy said she didn’t see the star taking any pills, but added: “There was belligerent behaviour. Where did it come from, you know what I mean? Why did it suddenly happen?”
Eventually the pair were pulled apart and Whitney apparently fell by the side of the stage, cutting her leg.
While Whitney left in a car to go back to the Beverly Hilton following the 1.30am melee, Stacy went on stage as planned to sing a tribute song for the late Etta James.
She said: “I felt OK about what happened because I didn’t fight her. I did say to her, ‘I love you.’”
The following afternoon Stacy was devastated when she learnt with the rest of the world that one of the greatest female singers in history had passed away.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I just broke down and I had people calling me because they were worried how I’d react. I’ve been crying ever since.
“You don’t have any idea how grateful I am that I did not hit her or that we didn’t hit each other because I could not live with myself if I, God forbid, got into a fist fight or something with her.
“I loved her too much. I thank God every day that I didn’t. It would have been horrible to live with that. I got a chance to say to her I love you.
“If there is any consolation in this whole horrible situation, that’s what it is.” The incident left Stacy worried that a group of “hangers-on” were enabling the star’s addictive behaviour.
She said: “I was very angry when I heard she was gone. I feel like if I saw what I saw last Thursday night, then she could have been doing it all the time.
“But nobody did anything about it. I can’t understand why.
“I really believe she would be alive today if somebody did something to stop her behaving the way she did because in essence she was a good person.”
Stacy said she decided to speak out to break the culture of silence that protected stars like Whitney and encouraged their addictions.
But she added that she couldn’t help dwelling on the way Whitney seemed to be “neglected” by those around her.
And, tragically, she believes the star was unaware of her own power and presence. Stacy said: “The woman was so great but she just didn’t realise the magnitude of her magic. Because she was so big she could get away with doing the sort of thing she did the other night.
“But in other ways she seemed extremely vulnerable and lonely.”
Stacy reckons it is time something was done to halt the drink and drug culture that seems to go hand in hand with showbiz stardom.
She says: “It’s so sad to see our icons die like this. If you think about Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson – now Whitney, it’s heartbreaking.
“It’s very difficult for anybody to say anything that puts her in a bad light, but when I heard Whitney was gone I felt she had been badly let down.
“I felt like everyone had betrayed her. People told me not say anything about what happened that night.
“I know that if I talk some people will hate me, but if I don’t the same sort of tragedies will keep happening.