Seven years after the death of Whitney Houston, and well into a time of consciousness about gender and sexuality, one of the most sensational storylines in the late singer’s life has remained: What was the deal between the singer and her best friend, Robyn Crawford?
Crawford is finally spilling the tea on their relationship, which she says was indeed physical, at least for a short while.
“We wanted to be together,” Crawford writes in a new memoir, “A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston,” excerpted by People.
The two met as counsellors at a New Jersey summer camp in 1980, when Houston was 16, pushing 17, and Crawford was 19, according to the book. Immediately taken with each other, they eventually became romantic, but Houston apparently ended that when she signed a record deal in 1982.
“She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore, because it would make our journey even more difficult,” Crawford writes. “She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us, and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.”
She likely was right. “The Bodyguard” star’s older brother certainly let it rip about Crawford in Lifetime’s “Whitney,” the family-authorized documentary that came out in 2018.
“Robyn was a nobody. She was an opportunist, a wannabe,” Gary Houston said in the film. “She happened to involve herself with [Whitney] for whatever reasons. … She was something that I didn’t want my sister involved with. It was evil, it was wicked.”
“Whitney” director Kevin Macdonald told The Times in 2018 that the singer’s brother “was very angry” about his sister’s relationship with Crawford.
“I wanted the audience to see that that’s what Whitney had to deal with,” Macdonald said. “That’s what Robyn had to deal with. That attitude, which has its origins in their religious beliefs.”
Another more sensational 2017 biopic that aired on Showtime, “Whitney: Can I Be Me?,” inconclusively speculated that Whitney and Robyn might have been lovers.
Crawford says in her memoir that she and Whitney “never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” but instead just lived their lives. The tabloids, of course, would never let questions about her sexuality go, and Houston denied rumours for years.
Houston met singer Bobby Brown in 1989, and eventually married, had a child with and divorced him — but not before he and Crawford clashed so badly that she left Houston’s life in 2000. The “I Will Always Love You” singer passed in 2012, dying by drowning in a hotel bathtub, with cocaine use and a heart condition as contributing factors.
Crawford is now a fitness trainer and partnered with a woman. They have adopted two children.
“A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston” will be released Nov. 12.