Denzel Washington: Whitney Houston Was 'My Girl'

by Jackie Willis 8:34 AM PDT, September 18, 2012
Photo: GQ Magazine

In what may be his most candid interview yet, Oscar winner Denzel Washington shares with GQ magazine the struggles he witnessed through his friendship with the late Whitney Houston.

Washington, 57, and Houston worked together on the 1996 feel-good film The Preacher's Wife, and the actor still refers to Houston as "my girl." He tells GQ, "She had done so well in recovery. And that is the toughest part about addiction. ...That was a monster drug that got ahold of her, it was a mean one. You can’t go back to that one. Nobody beats that."

Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hilton Hotel room on Feb. 12, 2012, the night before the Grammy Awards. She was 48.

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"I look at people—and I don’t think I’m speaking out of line—Sam Jackson, I’ve known for thirty-some-odd years, he was down at the bottom. And he came all the way back," Washington continues. "And when he cleaned up, he never looked back. But he can’t have that beer, because it might lead to the tough thing."

Meanwhile, Washington's fame also comes with its own troubles, but he discloses a piece of advice he received years ago that he carries with him. "Sidney Poitier told me this years ago: 'If they see you for free all week, they won’t pay to see you on the weekend, because they feel like they’ve seen you. If you walk by the magazine section in the supermarket and they’ve known you all their life, there’s no mystery. They can’t take the ride.' My professional work is being a better actor. I don’t know how to be a celebrity."

For more with the acclaimed actor, check out GQ magazine, on newsstands Sept. 25.