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Xanax Found in Whitney Houston`s Room; Discussion on How to Deal With Drug Addicts
Aired February 16, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Here we go. A surveillance tape, the key to the Whitney Houston death investigation? And we know now Xanax was found in her hotel room. What, if anything, does this mean?
And an update on the alleged child sex abuse at a Los Angeles elementary school. Let`s get started.
And tonight, we`re coming to you live. And one of the things I love about live television, it is a little bit unpredictable. We had a guest that might be canceling, might be joining us. I`ll tell you about her.
But in the meantime, I have a great panel. And we will be talking about the last days of Whitney Houston.
But first, here is the latest.
PINSKY (voice-over): Whitney Houston will be laid to rest Saturday in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Former husband Bobby Brown will be there. Also in attendance, Kevin Costner who costarred with Whitney in "the bodyguard" and R&B legend, Stevie Wonder.
Meanwhile, the investigation ramps up in Los Angeles. New tonight, a source close to the investigation says police know about Whitney`s partying before her death. Also, she was reportedly removed from the tub before paramedics arrived.
Tonight, investigators scour TV appearances and security video for clues about Whitney`s physical state in those last days.
PINSKY: People are wondering what investigators will find. I`m hoping from my guest can shed some light on this, put the pieces together.
Joining me now, CNN anchor Don Lemon. So, here we go. What`s the latest?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: A lot. As you know, every single day, more and more comes out. And what we`re finding out now, investigators are confirming that they are aware that Whitney Houston was partying the night before she died. Hotel staff confirms to a source close to the death investigation Whitney Houston partying in the hotel the night before she died.
PINSKY: Isn`t this similar to what were you reporting yesterday, that she was at the pool, drinking?
LEMON: Wednesday, Thursday. This is the night before she died. As you said in the beginning now, the source also confirming that Xanax found in her hotel room and her family members and staff confirm she had a prescription. They don`t know if she took it the day she died, but they do confirm that. And also saying she had amoxicillin as well. Treating an infection.
PINSKY: Right. And that`s probably what the ENT doctor gave her for the throat problem. But apparently, the internal doctor is on the On the Record that he didn`t prescribe anything to her. That he was treating her for this throat problem.
You know, one of the things I am looking for is, when I hear someone stop breathing, alcohol, benzodiazepine, could be Xanax. That`s the common combo. But when you throw in an opiate, like (inaudible) and pain reliever, like Vicodin, OxyContin, or something. That`s when people really get into trouble. Is there any evidence, anybody mentioned those kinds of medicines?
LEMON: I heard those kinds of medications. According to my source, my source won`t confirm that.
PINSKY: Can`t go On the Record.
LEMON: But my source does say, and this source is close to the death investigation. There were other prescription medications found in that hotel room. And here is what I also found very interesting, which I think takes this investigation, Drew, into another realm. No one officially from an EMT, or from the fire department, or from the coroner`s office ever saw her in the bathtub.
PINSKY: She was on the floor already.
LEMON: Out in the floor in the room.
PINSKY: Well, they dragged her into the bedroom.
LEMON: They said no, she was in the room on her back.
PINSKY: The other thing that was telling, I think you and I talked about this on day one, back when you had me on the phone, when we all were mortified to find this happened, was that the paramedics called it in the field. They stop. They called the code so to speak. And that usually means somebody has been gone a long time. So, it was awhile before they called the paramedics I suppose, right?
LEMON: Yes. And the time frame is a little bit tricky because the hotel doesn`t want to say, they haven`t gone On the Record to say exactly what happened. Who called 911?
PINSKY: Sounds like attorneys are involved. Thank you very much. Keep us updated. I appreciate it.
LEMON: Thank you, Doc.
PINSKY: I`m going to go now to my panel. Thank you.
We have a lot going on. I am joined by a great panel. First of all, I have a recording artist and Whitney`s friend, Nicci Gilbert. She has been with us most of this week. I also have Jennifer Jimenez who is picking up where we left off last night. She was with me at the end of the program. She herself works for the clean program, and had experience having been an addict in recovery. And senior executive editor of radar online, Dylan Howard. He is here.
Dylan, you heard what Don had to say. Is that new news to you or is that what your team is looking at things?
DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADARONLINE.COM: Not that pretty much consistent with what we`ve been hearing this week. A couple of key developments to tell you about tonight, Dr. Drew. I told you last night that Whitney Houston visited a doctor three times in the space of eight days.
PINSKY: Same doctor?
HOWARD: We don`t know if it was the same or multiple doctors but there were multiple doctors. I can tell you tonight that she also visited a plastic surgeon two weeks before her death. She sought elective procedure, a face lift, by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Matt Mani.
However, Dr. Mani refused to perform the procedure. Indeed, he said that she did not pass, according to our sources. She did not pass the medical clearance exam.
PINSKY: Well, let me sort of interpret that. Nicci, you`re shaking your head. I`ll let you comment in a second. But to me, doesn`t pass a medical clearance, it is because of recent heart attack, congestive heart failure, a stroke, a pneumonia, active medical problems. This isn`t all making sense to me. There`s more to that story I suspect.
HOWARD: It is important to say Dr. Mani refused to comment today citing federal medical privacy laws.
PINSKY: Of course. And of course, HLN can`t confirm or deny what you are reporting.
NICCI GILBERT, RECORDING ARTIST, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S FRIEND: That was my question.
PINSKY: Go ahead.
GILBERT: Aren`t there privacy laws that prevent doctors from just mentioning that she came in for a face --
HOWARD: He didn`t say that. He said he would not speak about that.
PINSKY: Nicci is getting tired of hearing about the sources.
GILBERT: I`m just, you know. I`m just over the sources. I mean, the sources come out at the most opportune times, don`t they?
HOWARD: This is a discussion to be had.
GILBERT: Whether or not she had a face lift has nothing to do with what happened.
HOWARD: It might provide a vital insight into her final days and why she didn`t pass the medical. If people continue to sugar coat.
GILBERT: When was the face lift?
HOWARD: Two weeks before she died.
GILBERT: Her final days. OK.
HOWARD: And if people continue to sugar coat what is clearly here a prescription drug problem, then that`s not healthy for the dialogue.
GILBERT: She did not have a face lift. And Dr. Drew, I have a question.
PINSKY: Refuse to talk about this poor woman that way.
GILBERT: Yes. I mean, she is not here to defend herself.
HOWARD: This is a healthy dialogue. Why should we not be trying to find out what happened to Whitney Houston?
GILBERT: How does having a face lift have anything to do with it?
PINSKY: Nicci, what do you got? What`s the question here?
GILBERT: My question, Dr. Drew is, is it possible at all that she could have, you know, taken, you know, whatever the pill, Xanax or whatever they found, had a drink, and then may be taken one other or two other of something else, and that ultimately ended up in her demise.
GILBERT: So, it could have been that not that she was throwing them back --
PINSKY: No, you are right.
GILBERT: She could have potentially made a mistake and mixed a cocktail.
PINSKY: Nicci, I am surprised by you asking that question. Because the point I have made night after night, the fact that she was even holding a glass of champagne and toasting.
GILBERT: You`re right.
PINSKY: Should have been an emergency right then.
JENNIFER JIMENEZ, MODEL, ACTRESS: I absolutely agree. Can you explain though, when Don was saying about that she was partying, like what does that mean? There`s partying like drug partying or just --
GILBERT: Having a good time partying.
PINSKY: I don`t know. That`s a good --
HOWARD: Drinking at 10:00 a.m. in the morning is partying, not something many would do.
PINSKY: I think we all should examine the use of partying. I thought about that for the last five years. And partying with a little hat, that`s partying. But partying suddenly became using illicit substances and drinking. I don`t know when partying became absolutely synonymous with that. But tonight we use it synonymously.
HOWARD: Dr. Drew, at the risk of upsetting Nicci.
PINSKY: I got only less than a minute. Go ahead.
HOWARD: I just wanted to ask you this one question.
HOWARD: If someone failed a medical clearance, would another doctor prescribing prescription pills to her undergo a similar kind of procedure before prescribing pills to her?
PINSKY: I`m not sure I got the question.
HOWARD: So, if she goes to the doctor. He refuses to do the procedure.
PINSKY: Possibly because of pills.
HOWARD: Possibly. She goes to another doctor, he treats her, decides to give her prescription pills. Should he have given her a medical clearance?
PINSKY: The first doctor?
HOWARD: Any doctor.
PINSKY: No. No. No. Medical clearance for surgery is different than medical clearance to keep prescribing. And so, the plastic surgeon, in my opinion, clearly in good judgment because he knew there was something wrong going on.
What he knows, what he thought we don`t know, but he had an instinct something wasn`t right and that`s exactly what the doctor is supposed to do. Why the guy is prescribing the benzodiazepine didn`t have the same instinct is what kills me.
Guys, thank you. Thank you, Nicci. Thank you, Dylan, as always. Jennifer, thank you.
Now, I think we agree we live in a nation that is interested to pills. We are a pill popping nation. My concern is epidemic of abuse of addictive substances and we have to address this. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER, ABC ANCHOR: Is it alcohol? Is it marijuana? Is it cocaine? Is it pills?
WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER, ACTRESS: It has been at times.
HOUSTON: At times.
(WHITNEY HOUSTON VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
PINSKY: That, of course, was Whitney Houston in better days, in 1991, singing the national anthem at the super bowl on ABC.
Now again, I want to remind people, we are live tonight. and share with you that Nicci and Dylan on that last segment are still in the green room fighting with each other whether or not this is a healthy conversation. So, this is something we`ll continue to fight here as well.
Now, we obviously have a prescription problem. I always call it the problem of our time. The prescription drugs, it is the number one cause of fatal overdose in the United States. 2500 adolescents use pills illicitly for the first time today and every day, pill death, prescription death, is exceeding accidents in young people`s lives in terms of cause of death, exceeding cocaine and heroin combined. We have to keep talking about this. And Whitney unfortunately has been the object of this scrutiny, what brought this to light.
Joining me tonight, Anna David, executive director of the fix.com. she in herself, a recovering addicts and has some expertise in addiction. Model and actress, and recovering addict, Jennifer Jimenez. She is also the spokesperson for the clean center. Drug counselor and you recognized him from celebrity rehab, Bob Forrest. He and I worked together 15, 20 years now. And my love line cohort, Mike Catherwood. He is joining is as well.
Now Mike, I said something that you told me the other day -- we brought it up a couple times, it`s a very powerful statement you made about how drugs and alcohol, what it means for you in terms of we use the word love.
I used it on this program, people attack me, no, I love my family more, how can you say that, but the fact is the way the drugs and alcohol, particularly drugs, effect people, you end up connecting to that more than anything.
MIKE CATHERWOOD, HOST, LOVELINE: There`s, without a doubt, an intimate relationship you develop with the drug of choice. And I would be lying if I said I had be able to develop that type of intimacy, that level of sincere romance with anybody since. And don`t get me wrong, not trying to say that I long for the drugs because I don`t have any euphoric recall of what they did to me. But at the same time, that feeling, that passion that I have for my drug of choice, I still haven`t found anybody that can replicate that.
PINSKY: And while you love your family, love, you know, you love these people, but at a time in your life the drugs and alcohol took priority.
CATHERWOOD: I love my family without a doubt. But, there was a time and place when I would abandon them at the drop of a hat to go score what I loved the most, and that was drugs and alcohol.
PINSKY: And Jennifer, you shake your head vigorously.
JIMENEZ: Absolutely. I mean, it is the greatest love I had. Something happened, it failed me and it betrayed me and it broke my heart.
PINSKY: Thank goodness or you would be dead.
JIMENEZ: I would be dead. And I understand that. I mean, I totally get what you`re saying, you know. It didn`t matter the family or the jobs. I mean. I would stand up so many jobs and not show up, and I was making a lot of money at the time.
PINSKY: So, this is what codependents have trouble understanding. Why doesn`t the love of family, your job, why aren`t these things enough for you?
ANNA DAVID, ADDICT EXPERT: Yes. I mean, there`s nothing, it is not a choice. I think that`s what people think. They think it is a moral weakness, they think why can`t the addict get it together.
PINSKY: By the way, it is a different question than why you can`t stop, those are two different things.
DAVID: Right. Right. But I think that celebrities like with the enablers and yes people around, you know, the most disturbing thing I feel like I heard is oh, well Whitney`s handlers never - they always made sure that she wasn`t in the bathroom alone for too long. What? How about you look at the pills that she`s taking and not have to have a rule like that.
PINSKY: Yes, that she was so scary with use of alcohol and pills that she might harm herself, if she left alone for a minutes. That`s pretty scary.
DAVID: I think so.
PINSKY: Roberto, you and I we have been struggling with this for years. I know you come and left unloaded. We actually haven`t even discussed this since Whitney`s demise. But, how many years have we been talking about this?
BOB FOREST, DRUG COUNSELOR, CELEBRITY REHAB: That`s what I`ve been saying. One of the things that are hard for common people to understand is why someone who has a drinking problem can`t smoke pot. And why is it - and now when you throw the prescription drug tsunami in America on top of it all, well, they`re doing what a doctor tells them.
And who are you to tell them they shouldn`t see the doctor. Well, I am the guy supposed to help them with the drug and alcohol problem and they`re not going to see that doctor, that doctor is going to kill them. And how many more celebrities have to die for anybody to hear the message.
PINSKY: I held up a list. I have the list last night. This is the list again of celebrities that died from pill deaths only. This is the list.
FOSTER: One of my favorite sober person`s dies at drug. That`s prescription drugs.
PINSKY: Who was that?
PINSKY: He is on the list. He was one of the most solidly sober people ever. And you know what happened to him? I`ll never get over this. His treating physician said when are you going to stay away from those people that are trying to brain wash you? He was dead in two weeks. You tell that to an addict, it is game on.
FOSTER: Who are you to tell me what to do when my doctor says to do this? I just had this argument today, I cry help. Today, with an addict saying you`re not a doctor. Well, you know. Sometimes, the medical profession is not certainly the addict community.
PINSKY: They don`t seem to understand the process.
FOSTER: Benzo`s for sure, every addict that walks into the office.
PINSKY: Well, they are anxious, Bob. They can`t sleep. Who are you to tell them they shouldn`t take it? You, if you were to give that medicine, either of you, my goodness.
JIMENEZ: I mean. It happened to me. Again, it`s like there`s also people that walk into the doctor`s office and get prescribed the first time Benzo`s and don`t realize they have the disease, and all of the sudden, they`re in their 30s and 40s and boom, it takes effect.
DAVID: And what`s frustrating, sorry. Is that, you know. There are SSRI that can treat anxiety.
DAVID: That addict should be given. Addict should never be prescribed then.
PINSKY: In fact, I have a guest who I think is going to make it to d block, got into a fight with Whitney the night she died. And she`s running late. She`s coming I think to d block when I was going to do on call segment.
But one of the questions in there is that we have pharmaceutical drugs advertised on the show. Those are antidepressants. They`re not addictive. I am not anti-medication. Doctors only have three things. They have a knife, they have medicine, and we have a relationship with you. That`s it. That`s all we`ve got.
And guys like me that don`t operate, we have a relationship and we have the pills. That`s it. That`s all we`ve got. So, we use chemicals to manipulate biology. And there are some that are dangerous and addictive, and some that are not.
Mike, you told me that the rooms at the 12 step meetings are filled with people that are now pill users.
CATHERWOOD: In the matter of a decade, the meetings have transformed from mostly people who are addicted to narcotics and alcohol to mostly, without question, people addicted to prescribed medications and a couple alcoholics scattered about. It has become -- you are not overstating it when you say it is without a doubt an epidemic in this country.
PINSKY: Robert, you and I have seen it happen.
FOSTER: We watch it. Anybody in America, benzodiazepine, Xanax, is one of the most deadly drugs you can take.
PINSKY: If you`re an addict. It is a great medicine, used in short term.
FOSTER: If I am an addict, if I am prescribed one Xanax, one Xanax can make me feel pretty good. I am an addict. I know six Xanax and some booze will make me feel great.
PINSKY: But look, I got 20 seconds here. But here is what everyone thinks and the medical community means. You are a bad patient, you are a bad boy.
CATHERWOOD: Doesn`t matter love, pills, powder, or booze, it is manifestations of disease from within.
PINSKY: A brain disease we call addiction. I have to go to break. My guests, stay with me. We`re continuing this conversation. I hope you`re getting something out of this. We`re going to keep going. Stay with me.
(WHITNEY HOUSTON VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
PINSKY: And that apparently is the last time we know of Whitney Houston sang. We hear about, of course, the Hollywood drug problem and it is being talked about.
But I`ll tell you what, it doesn`t happen just in Hollywood. It is prevalent in small town USA. As I said before, repeated, more than 2500 children misused a painkiller for the first time today. That happens each and every day.
Anna, you said you weren`t surprised about Whitney`s situation.
DAVID: No. I mean, honestly, at the fix, I actually assigned a story when she left rehab early I think it was.
PINSKY: Was this in May or just one before that?
DAVID: Whatever the last use was.
PINSKY: By the way. May was an outpatient program which is to me, you got to be kidding, someone recalcitrant like this.
DAVID: I know. I developed this callous attitude of just like well; it is a matter of time.
PINSKY: Wait. You mean, you wrote an obituary for her?
DAVID: No. I assigned a story that tracked her life, knowing that we didn`t have the last slide yet, not knowing if the last slide could be, she went to rehab and she got clean or --.
PINSKY: because you could see trouble coming.
DAVID: Yes, I mean, of course.
PINSKY: And Bob?
FOSTER: I am around here every six weeks, every two months with something like this.
PINSKY: So, how long before another one?
FOSTER: Six or eight weeks.
PINSKY: Six or eight weeks and we lose somebody else. Same exact thing.
FOSTER: And when are people going to wake up these drugs are dangerous and deadly.
JIMENEZ: We lose somebody every 19 minutes. But somebody that we know in the public eye, yes. I agree with you, you know. And it is so sad because still there are people in denial, like I`m not like Whitney. You know, it is so sad. Regardless how she -- what exactly happened, what she took when she died. She died because of alcoholism and drug addiction.
PINSKY: What kills me though, yes, and I`ll let Mike address that in a second. But what kills me though is that, just Mike Star, Jeff Conway, you and I both know, we begged them not to see doctors. And they got -- Mike was dead within two weeks of going in and complaining of back pain.
FOSTER: We`re on a battlefield for who addicts are going to listen to, that`s really it.
DAVID: In terms of the doctors, having them has more responsibility.
PINSKY: Right. I mean, this is becoming a story about addiction. So, a lot of people in America, I`m not an addict, you guys are hardcore, that`s not me. It is a spectrum. It is effecting more than just people that identify as hardcore addicts. A lot of people out there abuse these substances dangerously.
And Mike, you have seen it, seen it in the rooms. You had to deal with young people, it is all the time.
CATHERWOOD: And it is always the same spiel. And I certainly feel for these people regardless of their age. Because there`s a certain level of credibility that comes with a doctor. And when you`re prescribed a drug, it gives it a certain sense of safety. But at the same time, you hear the same thing over and over. You ask an opiate addict, what type of pain are you dealing with? It is always 20 out of 10. You don`t understand the type of pain I deal with. I have to take these pills. And I believe and I`m certainly not a doctor, but part of that pain is manifested by the need to continue taking --
PINSKY: It`s called Hyper Algesia, pain made medicine make the pain worst. And what we do with Bob, average patient, they come in 20 or 10. We take them off the meds. They say they stop talking about the pain. And when you prompt them, they say four out of ten.
I have to take another break, guys. Thank you for this discussion. Anna, Jennifer, Bob, and Mike, thank you guys.
Now, the woman reported to have been in a fight with Whitney Houston just days ago is here with me. I was going to do on call segment and answer questions. But I don`t think I will have time to. I want to interview her. She`s up with us next.
PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, two teachers arrested on lewd conduct charges, dozens of trusting students allegedly violated by those in positions of power. An elementary school in turmoil, and now, the district itself may have broken the law. Did it try to buy silence with payoffs? Did it fail to report a suspect teacher on purpose?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): But first, we are back. And as I said, we are live tonight, and I was going to do on-call segment here. I will do it tomorrow. We have lots of on-call questions in you guys. In fact, I`m going to broaden out the on-call segment once we sort of get on past the Whitney Houston story to talk about whatever is on your mind, frankly, particularly, things that are medical, psychological, psychiatric, interpersonal.
But I`m now back with Nicci Gilbert. She is Whitney Houston`s friend and joining us now, Stacy Francis who`s reported to have been in a fight with Whitney Houston on Thursday night. Stacy, I saw your having been interviewed, and I guess, people are really reacting to that interview. Is that --
STACY FRANCIS, CONTESTANT, "X FACTOR": I think people are just reacting in general to the whole thing. And you know, when I went on "Access Hollywood," I wanted to do it, you know, out of respect for Whitney and to tell the story the way that I thought it should be told. And then, I just received so much backlash about it. It`s really just hurtful. It`s hurtful because it seems like --
PINSKY: Let me just join your hands with you, because Whoopi Goldberg took aim at me. I mean, you didn`t see that? My friend, Whoopi. Whoopi, my buddy. What happened here? If you say anything that, you know, has any degree of speculation, I guess, attached to it, people really react to that.
FRANCIS: What did she say?
PINSKY: Whoopi, I really didn`t hear. I just heard it was bad. It was not good. I don`t like to think on negativity.
FRANCIS: No, no. You know what it is? I think that people feel, in all honesty, we should let her be laid to rest, and I agree. I agree that, you know, the woman is not even in her grave yet, and we`re all speculating about what we already knew. Like why are we discussing something or asking questions about what was the obvious. And I feel --
PINSKY: That she was in trouble. She was --
FRANCIS: She was in trouble, and we all knew she was in trouble. And now, the media is, you know, sort of really taking this approach like what was happening. And we already knew and no one was saying anything, and I think that`s the saddest part of the story like no one helped her.
And I feel -- that`s what I feel sad about. I`m not going to go and, you know, bash Whitney Houston. She was someone that meant everything to me. She inspired me to sing.
PINSKY: In fact, I understand, that`s how the evening started out. You were introduced to her, and this was like, oh, my God, this is my hero.
FRANCIS: Yes. That`s exactly how it started out. And we had a really good conversation, I have to admit, Dr. Drew, I almost didn`t make it because I heard, you know, someone said that I was stalking her for the evening and that she got upset and said, get out of my face, and that was, you know? And Nicci, you know, Nicci was there, and that`s why --
PINSKY: Nicci can vouch for Stacy.
FRANCIS: Yes. That`s why I asked Nicci to come on with me, because we were all at the party together. We were downstairs. When Nicci -- sorry, when Whitney came in, I walked in with her, and it was a really great -- we were having a phenomenal time. She`s funny. She`s witty. She had a great sense of humor. I mean, it was like sisters. It was fun.
She even told me about the offer on the table from the "X Factor." And I was like oh, my God, you have to do it. You have to do it. And I was like, oh my God, can I go back for the second season and be your contestant, you know, because anybody would be so fortunate to have you as a mentor. And it was that kind of conversation.
She even looked at me and she said, and I tweeted that. I tweeted, you know, "Whitney just gave me a little tab of information, ssshhh," you know, and then, I showed her the tweet, and she`s like that`s fine, girl, you know? And then I said -- and then she said, you know, Stacy, God is a God of second chances. And she meant me for my age to have been on the "X Factor," and you know, just the way things are going.
PINSKY: Sounds wonderful.
FRANCIS: It was amazing. It was really, really amazing.
PINSKY: And then, she sort of snapped. In my world, when somebody sort of goes negative like that --
FRANCIS: That`s why I came to you, because --
PINSKY: It`s usually because somebody -- when people drink a little too much, and if they have alcoholism or addiction, they can be a different person. They get aggressive, they get grandiose, they get paranoid. Is that the kind of stuff that was happened?
FRANCIS: That was the thing. When I went on "Access Hollywood" yesterday, I said something happened, and what you`re describing is what it seemed to have happened.
PINSKY: So, it doesn`t matter what you guys were fighting about, she got focused on it and got aggressive, and that`s that.
FRANCIS: Yes. Well, I think she was concerned about who I was. And, you know what I mean?
PINSKY: No, I don`t know what you mean.
NICCI GILBERT, WAS WITH WHITNEY TWO NIGHT BEFORE HER DEATH: Whitney has a bunch of people around her all the time. And maybe as the night went on, she`s like wait a minute --
PINSKY: Who are you?
GILBERT: -- you know, who are you?
FRANCIS: But I was there, because I was singing.
FRANCIS: And see, that`s the thing. Kevin Frazier went on "The Talk" today and said that I was some girl that ran over and pushed my way to Whitney and was in her face, and Whitney was like, "get out of my face." I mean, that makes no sense.
PINSKY: Nothing like that. You were spending the evening together. You were with Nicci.
FRANCIS: We were there from 11 o`clock until about two o`clock. I was there to sing, to pay tribute to Etta James. I had to sing "At Last."
GILBERT: "At Last". She killed it.
FRANCIS: Thank you very much. And I was in my area with -- I had a date with me. I was, you know, girls about six or seven of us, and they pulled me over to the stage where Whitney and Ray just happened to be standing. If you can imagine, it was very close proximity to the stage.
PINSKY: Now, Ray J, I know Ray J. And he is trying to -- he`s got a new book out. He`s trying to turn over a new leaf. He`s trying to be --
FRANCIS: Ray is a beautiful person.
PINSKY: He`s a great guy, but he`s trying to be a better person. He chronicles in the book that he wasn`t such a nice guy to women.
FRANCIS: We get it. We get it. We get it. But he comes from a very good background.
PINSKY: Was this flare up over him?
FRANCIS: I don`t know what it was. He was definitely telling her Stacy is family.
PINSKY: He said that to you?
FRANCIS: He was saying that to her, to let her know that I was family. That I was not a threat, that I was family. That it didn`t have to go the way it was going.
PINSKY: OOK. I want to show a little bit of tape here where Ray J talked about his relationship with -- I think it`s Whitney here on "The Insider." Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY J, SINGER/ACTOR: They blow this thing out of proportion. I mean, that`s my friend. I`ve been knowing her for years and years and years, and she`s a friend of the family. So, when we go out, it`s just the next day, it`s everywhere, and so many different stories, but that`s, you know, that`s my people, that`s my friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a friend, but you were once romantically involved with her.
RAY J: You know what, I have a lot of love for her, and I have a lot of respect for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Ray J was romantically involved with a whole lot of people when he was getting around. He wrote about it in his book, and I`m not saying anything out of school here, but he has really turned over a new leaf. And I`m sure he was being just her friend that night, but it could have been anything it sounds like.
FRANCIS: There was a lot of affinity between them. You can tell that there was a lot of affinity and a lot of respect. And you know, you just told me, because -- I mean, I came here because you`re an expert at this, and I was last night on "Access Hollywood." I said, I don`t know what happened. What you just described seems like it was paranoia. It was whatever.
PINSKY: Yes. I heard her voice teacher. He was on CNN, I believe. I think it was "Anderson Cooper," and he said the same thing is that she was -- he said she was a very powerful person. What I heard was aggressive, self willed, these are all things that addicts get when they`re using.
And that`s very different than the Whitney we saw in the like of 2009 Oprah interview and probably different than the Whitney you saw earlier in the evening, who is the person that we all loved.
FRANCIS: She was funny and witty and so much fun. I was like oh, my God, I`m hanging out with Whitney Houston, and this is amazing. She made me feel like we`d known -- because I did tell her. You know, we saw each other in 1995, and she pulled me on stage to sing. And her behavior was like OK, girl, fine. You know, I know you.
You know what I mean? I remember that, but you`re down here with me, so, you know? And it was fine. It was really, really great. And, you know, Dr. drew, the reason, another reason I wanted to come here is because I`m receiving so much backlash as if I did something to Whitney.
GILBERT: She did not.
FRANCIS: But the reality is -- and Nicci knows, because I walked right over to Nicci right after. And I said oh, my God, I can`t believe what just happened.
FRANCIS: And what happened was --
PINSKY: Hang on. I`m going to hold you because I have to take a break.
PINSKY: I`ll let you tell about what did happen. Again, I think you`re right that we`re rehashing things that we already know, you know? And I`m sorry you got caught in the crossfire with this. It really is not fair. I`m glad Nicci, you`re here to support her.
FRANCIS: Thank you.
PINSKY: Let`s try to keep setting this record straight. We`re going to have more with Nicci and Stacy when we come back.
PINSKY: Now, as I keep saying tonight, we are live, live. And I`ve been changing the format of tonight`s show all over the place. I cancelled our on-call segment. I`ll get you guys tomorrow. I`m also going to push out the Miramonte school story.
Not that it`s not really important, and I`m all about it, but right now, I`m having this conversation with Stacy and Nicci, and I want to continue it. I think it`s of interest to people, so I hope you`ll permit me. And tomorrow, I promise, the Miramonte story will get into that in great detail.
So, it`s Nicci Gilbert who`s Whitney Houston`s friend and Stacy Francis, who, as we`re hearing, was spending the evening with Whitney, and having a nice time, and then, all of a sudden boom, something triggered. Now, I think people are sort of -- didn`t get what the fight itself was. Take us through it. You`re starting to tell me that.
FRANCIS: OK. You know a friend of mine today said, you know, Stacy, the truth will set you free, you know? And I, in essence, you know, what I said on "Access Hollywood" yesterday was true. It was true. I was having a great time with her. And I did respect her. And that`s why things did not get out of hand. Had it been, and Nicci knows this.
PINSKY: Now, that`s the part I don`t like to hear you say, I got to be honest with you.
PINSKY: That you would -- that`s writing (ph) people get defensive about --
PINSKY: That you would escalate something with Whitney Houston. I don`t think you would. I don`t believe that.
FRANCIS: No, no. That`s my point.
FRANCIS: That`s exactly my point that I`m making --
FRANCIS: No, no. That`s my point exactly.
FRANCIS: It would never go there with Whitney Houston, because she`s Whitney Houston.
PINSKY: But not only that, you had a nice evening with her.
FRANCIS: This is my point to you, Dr. Drew, and I`m going to be real direct. And a lot of people are not going to like hear me say what I`m saying. I am from Brooklyn, New York. I`m from the hood.
FRANCIS: I mean, let`s really kick it like it is, all right? And people are going to be angry. Her fans are going to be angry of me to say this, but I`m from the hood like any regular person, me standing in a club and her calling me the B word and pushing my head away, putting her face, it`s going to be a fight.
It`s going to be a fight. My point is, I love Whitney just like her fans love her. My point is it doesn`t matter where I`m from, it doesn`t matter if she pushed me, it doesn`t matter if she called me a bitch, none of that matters. I love you too much to go down this road with you. I don`t care what you do to me. You understand? That was my point.
GILBERT: And then, you also, I think Stacy in your defense weren`t aware of where she was mentally, which is a great thing for Dr. Drew to explain.
PINSKY: What I want to straight out for you because when people are using and when they have the addictive disorder, again, she was treated, guys, want to take aim at me now, Whoopi, kind of have (ph) at it.
PINSKY: She was treated three times for addiction. And you don`t get treated three times for addiction and not have addiction. It`s just impossible. So, she has addiction. And people with addiction, when they use, they are not -- they`re not themselves at all. The person that you are fighting with, not Whitney Houston.
FRANCIS: I know that. I know that. And that`s why I wasn`t fighting with her. That`s why when someone says oh, you had a fight with her, I say no, I did not. It was not an altercation, it was not a fight, it was a misunderstanding.
PINSKY: Was there fist to cuffs?
FRANCIS: No, there wasn`t. She took her hand and she moved my face away.
PINSKY: From Ray J?
FRANCIS: I was looking at her. She was having a conversation. She was upset about whatever she was upset about. She moved my face away. I grabbed her hand, and I said I love you too much. I`m not going to have any fight with you here. This is not going to happen.
PINSKY: What did she say?
FRANCIS: She was like, well, you know, what, what, do I owe you an apology? I mean, it was a lot of conversation going back and forth.
PINSKY: And people come in --
GILBERT: She did apologize. There were people there. She apologized to her.
FRANCIS: She apologized, and I, of course, accepted her apology. She was -- it was -- like I said, it was a misunderstanding. But the problem, the reason that I keep speaking out, because everybody is saying, OK, Stacy, just be quiet. She`s not laid to rest yet.
And I agree, because I really feel sad for Bobbi Kristina because let`s look at Bobbi Kristina as an 18-year-old girl who`s lost her mom. Let`s not talk about the fact that she`s Whitney Houston. She`s an 18- year-old girl who`s lost her mom. That alone is very sad.
PINSKY: Stacy, are your parents alive?
FRANCIS: My dad passed away, unfortunately, when I was on the "X Factor." And my mom is alive.
PINSKY: Any addiction in your family?
FRANCIS: None. I don`t know anything about it. I don`t know anything about it. That`s why I`m talking to you.
GILBERT: Which is why it`s great to talk to Dr. Drew.
FRANCIS: Nicci is really the one, and she can tell you. She really persuaded me to come here today, because I was like, I can`t talk, I can`t speak, I can`t say another word, because everyone is attacking me. And I feel like everybody is looking for a hang man. Everybody`s looking for someone to hang out to dry, and it`s not fair.
We all knew what was going on. I think people are passionate, and maybe that`s the reason that you`re getting attacked is because she is not even in the grave yet, and everybody is like, oh, well, was she on drugs. I mean, didn`t we know what was going on?
PINSKY: Yes. We just had a journalist here who had basically written an obituary, I mean, not specifically, but she says she`s written a story with the end in mind, knowing that things were as bad as they were.
FRANCIS: And that`s sad. And I think that the problem is nobody wants to say what we`re saying. Nobody wants to address it right now.
GILBERT: And the other part of it, Stacy, you have to understand because you`re in this industry, and you have the stress of "X Factor," and speaking of "X Factor," one of the things that was amazing, and I have to say this, shout out to Simon Cowell, because he did say to Chris Rene --
FRANCIS: That`s true.
GILBERT: -- if you don`t keep it together, you will not last in this show.
FRANCIS: That`s right.
GILBERT: If you revert back to your old habits, it will not happen. And Whitney Houston was just unaware, obviously, of --
PINSKY: But guys, this is something I have been -- again, here is what I`ve been preaching about on this show is that you have to understand that pills are addictive, that even though you`re doing it the way the doctor told you, you can`t do that and stay sober. It never happens. I`ve just never seen it. You have to be abstinence. You have a chronic condition.
You have to work on it on a daily basis or things happen that are absolutely, you know, obviously, they say you end up in jail, insanity, or dead. That`s where this goes. And, along the way, you do things that aren`t you. This was her being not her.
FRANCIS: My question is how do we help. How do we turn this around?
PINSKY: And I think we are -- I think, people are probably legitimate to say that`s little premature, you know, but when are we going to have these conversations? We`re going to have it when we`re talking about this?
FRANCIS: It`s very, very sad, because it`s true. Very sad. We had, unfortunately, we lost Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley --
PINSKY: I got a list. Some of my friends are on this damn list. It kills me.
GILBERT: Emotional people.
GILBERT: And in order for us to relate, people to relate to what we do for a living, whether you`re actor, a singer, whatever the case may be, you have to be in touch with those emotions. So, Dr. Drew, somebody needs to be there to protect those emotions so you don`t feel like you have to take drugs or you have to do this stuff in order to get through.
FRANCIS: But another thing about it -- another thing is that, you know, for me, for example, I sing from my brokenness.
FRANCIS: You know what I`m saying? I sing from my experience. When someone says --
PINSKY: So did Whitney probably.
FRANCIS: That`s my point. That`s my point. You look at Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson was broken. He didn`t have a childhood. He always talked about that. But when he walked on that stage, there was this magic about him and it was the way that he delivered himself, that you felt moved. He might not have had that ability and that magic had he not been through his background --
GILBERT: -- come down from that. That`s the problem. Artists can`t come down from that.
FRANCIS: That brokenness. You know, when someone says, oh my goodness, I got goose bumps when you sing. It`s because of my divorced.
FRANCIS: It`s because of my being a single mom. You know what I mean?
PINSKY: -- some of that fighting that went on in Brooklyn.
FRANCIS: Listen, I`m not a fighter. You know, I`m 42 years old with two kids. My point was --
GILBERT: What`s she saying is that would be average girl in a club.
PINSKY: I get it. I understand. I understand.
FRANCIS: My point was the average situation may have turned out differently.
PINSKY: You guys are right. However -- I absolutely agree with you. However, when addiction happens, which artists are little higher incidence than the average person, I actually studied this myself, you have to have a very aggressive response. And when you --
FRANCIS: You can try to force someone --
PINSKY: Well, you can. You can. Ultimately, you can, but you can exert a lot of leverage. And that`s what you were talking about.
GILBERT: That`s exactly what I`m talking about. Thank you, sir, for that. That`s exactly what it is.
PINSKY: When the leverage is empty and impotent, and no one is really applying it, and there --
FRANCIS: Because it`s respect, Dr. Drew, too, you know? It`s respect for this person. You know, Whitney Houston --
PINSKY: But the respect is -- I got 20 seconds, I`m going to keep you guys around, so we`ll keep talking. But respect enough to confront them aggressively to save their damn lives.
GILBERT: Yes, sir.
PINSKY: It really is. And that`s the part that people miss. When they think they that evoke something like you -- yes, thank you for the standing ovation. But when you evoke something like what you had, you know what I`m saying from her, then, you think, oh, I must be in the wrong. No, you`re in the right. You got to know that.
I do have to take a break, and we`re back with more with Nicci and Stacy after this. Stay with us.
PINSKY: I`m back with Nicci Gilbert, Whitney Houston`s friend, and Stacy Francis who had been in a -- had spent the evening with Whitney the night before she died, really, wasn`t it? And she`s been very courageous and forthcoming with us tonight. And as I said, this is live television.
And I`ve been interested what Stacy has to say, and I thought, it seems like you`ve been treated unfairly out there.
FRANCIS: Yeah. It`s been very unfair, and I understand. Everybody is like don`t talk, don`t say anything. And you know, Drew, that`s what everyone was doing all along. No one was saying anything. And I think that`s what everybody does all the time with all of our artists, and it`s very sad.
FRANCIS: That we can`t keep up the same status. We got to break the habit that we have been in because it`s just killing our --
GILBERT: Not speaking about the problem.
PINSKY: Go ahead, Nicci.
GILBERT: I was just going to say, if we had had this dialogue when Michael Jackson died, if we`ve had this dialogue when Amy Winehouse died, if we continue this --
FRANCIS: Maybe you could have helped.
GILBERT: Then maybe --
PINSKY: I can`t help it. I can`t help it.
PINSKY: -- because I got to tell you before you go, Stacy, is that when Heath Ledger died, I said, this is the beginning. I feel impotent and guilty now that all those people have died since that and nothing I could do about it.
FRANCIS: You know, it`s about dialogue. It is about opening up. And you know, Dr. Drew, I want to ask you, you know, what do I do from here because I don`t want to be known for the rest of my life as the woman that had a fight with Whitney Houston. I mean, I`m a singer. You know, I have kids. I have my own family.
GILBERT: And you didn`t have a fight with Whitney Houston.
GILBERT: She did not have a fight with Whitney Houston.
FRANCIS: That`s why when they attacked me on Twitter, they attacked me on Facebook. But I did the thing you all would have done. You would have looked your legend in the face and said I love you, you`re my idol, I`m not going to fight you. But why am I being so beat up?
PINSKY: Here`s what let`s do. Those of you that are ringing in on Twitter and Facebook and what not, let`s ring in and support of Stacy for having the courage to come out here and talk about this evening she spent with her idol that ended in a place she could not have imagined it was going to go.
None of us -- none of us expect it. That`s why we`re talking about this. It was a shock to all of us. Maybe not a surprise, because when you look back, we should have been having this conversation years ago, if not months ago. And I personally, I want to thank Stacy for coming in and sharing this.
FRANCIS: Well, thank you for having me, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: I know this is difficult for you. The haters are going to come through, I promise. Twitter is a horrible, disgusting, terrible, angry nasty place.
FRANCIS: But it`s also be very supportive. I have a lot of people on Twitter that are very supportive.
PINSKY: I am calling for those people to come out for Stacy tonight. She has shared with us some final moments with Whitney Houston. And part of it was Whitney that we love, part of was Whitney that was in a disease state, it sounds like, of alcoholism and addiction. Very typical behavior. Not her fault even.
She was under -- her brain wasn`t working right. And Nicci, especially, I want to thank you for being here all week and being somebody that I could stand up and applaud for.
GILBERT: Thank you. Thank you.
FRANCIS: And I want to thank Nicci for being a good friend. Nicci can account for what happened that night. I walked right over to you right after.
FRANCIS: And Nicci said to me, you know what, that`s not Whitney that we know, Stacy. That`s not the Whitney that we know. And just -- I thank God that I didn`t get in a fight with her.
GILBERT: She`s ready (ph) going to go on stage, and she didn`t.
PINSKY: Forget about the fight. Forget about it.
GILBERT: Forget about it.
PINSKY: Forget about the fight. That`s the Whitney -- thank God you did get to share those moments with your idol.
FRANCIS: That`s right.
PINSKY: We ended up with this. We end up with a death certificate. This is where this all ended up. This is where addiction goes. We have to come in aggressively and help the people that have this thing that has a worse prognosis than most cancers, particularly, if you get on recalcitrant and fail multiple treatments. It`s something that I urge all of you to learn from.
I hope we taught you something tonight. Thank you, Nicci. Thank you, Stacy. I really appreciate it. We`ll see you all next time.