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Denzel Washington wanted to protect Whitney Houston on set

They worked together on ‘The Preacher’s Wife,’ and she wasn’t as tough as she tried to project, he says
Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Denzel Washington wanted to “protect” Whitney Houston when he worked with her on The Preacher’s Wife.

The Man on Fire actor, 69, starred as Dudley alongside the singer in the Oscar-nominated 1996 film, in which Whitney played Julia Biggs just 16 years before she died at 48 from accidental drowning, with contributing factors of heart disease and cocaine use.

“I felt like I always wanted to protect her,” Washington said at the American Black Film Festival.

“There was a vulnerability that you saw,” the event’s host, Chaz Ebert, widow of the late film critic Roger Ebert, added.

“Well, of course. I always felt like I wanted to protect her. You know? She wanted to be so tough, but she really wasn’t,” Washington went on.

The Preacher’s Wife was a remake of 1947’s The Bishop’s Wife and also starred Courtney B. Vance, Jenifer Lewis, Gregory Hines, and Justin Pierre Edmund. Lionel Richie, Loretta Devine and Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, also had roles.

Whitney is said to have grown close to several of the cast, and Courtney, 64, who played her husband, Reverend Henry Biggs, in the family film, has said he was in awe of the singer.

“I loved her so much,” he told People. “For me to be playing her husband, I was in a state of euphoric shock. It was a turning point in my life and Whitney was a huge, huge part of that. We just were on sets together and respecting each other. But I didn’t go into the depth of what was happening in her life. It might have hurt my spirit. And I have in my mind our time together and it was beautiful.”

He also admitted he was too devastated to attend her funeral.

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