Whitney's bedridden dad pleads: Pay up. Ailing John Houston goes on TV to urge his daughter to settle the $100 million suit his management company filed against her

By Gary Susman
Updated December 06, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

At least Whitney Houston and her dad agree on one thing: the $100 million lawsuit his management company filed against her isn’t personal. ”I never thought about suing my daughter,” John Houston told TV’s ”Celebrity Justice” from a hospital bed, where the 82-year-old is being treated for an undisclosed ailment, according to Reuters. ”I thought about suing the corporation that belongs to Whitney and she happened to be right in the middle of it.”

In October, John Houston’s company filed suit against his daughter, saying that the singer failed to pay the company for such management services as straightening out the legal mess surrounding her 2000 pot bust (she was stopped for possession at a Hawaii airport; the charges were ultimately dropped) and negotiating her contract renewal with Arista, which resulted in a $100 million deal for her in 2001.

Addressing his daughter directly on ”Celebrity Justice,” Houston said, ”You get your act together, honey, and you pay me the money that you owe me. If you do that, you haven’t got a lawsuit,” he said. ”At my age, I haven’t got that long. Now if you think I got that long, you think about it. You step into my shoes. I would like to spend the last years of my life on a boat some place.”

The elder Houston’s plea came a day after Houston’s interview with Diane Sawyer on Wednesday’s ”Primetime,” in which she and husband Bobby Brown acknowledged past drug use. According to early Nielsen numbers, Houston’s interview drew 21.3 million viewers to ABC, making it one of the most-watched interviews (along with Gary Condit and Monica Lewinsky) of recent years. That attention bodes well for the release of ”Just Whitney,” the singer’s new album, which hits stores next week.

During the program, the 39-year-old singer said of the lawsuit, ”It hurts right now. And I’ve been dealing with it. And we’ll work it out, ’cause no matter what, he’s my dad. And I’m his daughter.” Still, it didn’t sound like she’d respond to her dad’s plea. ”They’ll never get $100 million out of me,” she told Sawyer. ”I know that.”