Jack Zeman/Lifetime Television; Warner Bros/Everett
Amanda Michelle Steiner
January 17, 2015 09:25 AM

With the Lifetime biopic Whitney set to air Saturday, Cissy Houston, the mother of the iconic singer, who died in 2012, is speaking out about the TV movie that was made without the family’s cooperation.

“I’m glad the Lifetime project is finished,” Cissy Houston tells PEOPLE. “I hope from now on her fans will keep her child, [Bobbi Kristina Brown], in their prayers, and I hope people will let my child rest.”

Adds a Houston family friend: “The family is not happy about this project. Bobby [Brown] and Whitney had a complicated relationship. I don’t even think their loved ones understood it. So, for people who didn’t know them to take on what, to some extent, dishonors them – and their relationship – that is the most hurtful.”

“I think everyone would agree that they had a complicated relationship, but they loved each other,” the family friend continued. “It’s hard to think that people who love her would do a Lifetime movie about her. They are promoting it as a real-life story and maybe that is the most offensive – the relationship was so complicated, and so for them to take that on is difficult for the family.”

The film, which stars Yaya DaCosta as Whitney Houston and Arien Escarpeta as Bobby Brown, was directed by Angela Bassett, who costarred with Houston in 1995’s Waiting to Exhale.

“I certainly felt her presence every day in the making of [Whitney],” Bassett, 56, told Entertainment Tonight.

But that isn’t enough to satisfy the Houston family.

“It’s a love story with Bobby and Whitney done by people who didn’t know either one of them,” the Houston family friend said.

Reporting by LIZ MCNEIL

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