Whitney Houston’s former husband has taken legal action against the BBC over a documentary lifting the lid on her life.

Houston, one of the best-selling artists of all time, was found dead in a hotel bathtub in 2012, at the age of 48.

Bobby Brown, who had a tempestuous marriage with the late singer from 1992-2007, is seeking $2 million (£1.56m) in damages, according to the court documents filed in New York.

In the filing, made on behalf of himself and the couple’s daughter Bobbi Kristina – who died three years ago, in similar circumstances to her mother – Brown alleges that the film makers used footage showing them, without their permission.

Whitney: Can I Be Me was shown on BBC Two on Christmas Day last year.

Brown, a musician, also names US cable network Showtime and the production team. Nick Broomfield, the British director, is not named in the suit.

Brown alleges that the team used footage from their 2005 reality show, Being Bobby Brown, without permission.

The suit claims that Brown and his late daughter appear in the documentary for more than 30 minutes despite never having signed releases for the footage.

“The footage was actually recorded prior to the divorce in 2007 between Brown and Houston,” reads the document, which was obtained by Variety.

“Brown never signed or executed a release for the airing of the material that appears in the film. The footage of Brown is approximately 15 years old.

“Assuming that Plaintiff(s) have proper title to the footage, they do not have proper title to its contents.”

The suit does include as an attachment a 2016 letter from Broomfield to Brown’s representatives trying to obtain a fresh interview for the documentary.

“I am particularly keen to do a positive piece that explains the life of Whitney in a loving and enlightening way,” Broomfield wrote in the letter.

“We have a huge respect for Bobby Brown, his work as an artist and his achievements. We’re of the firm belief that he has been judged very hard and would like to see this as an opportunity for him to tell his story from the heart.

“We can assure you we have no agenda and come in good faith.”

The film premiered at last year’s TriBeCa film festival, and aired in the US on Showtime in August, before being screened in the UK by the BBC at Christmas.

The BBC said they had no comment. Showtime is also yet to respond.