For the first time, Whitney Houston’s longtime friend Robyn Crawford is going public about the nature of their relationship.
Crawford confirms she and Houston were romantic partners in her new memoir, A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston.
“We wanted to be together,” Crawford writes in an excerpt published Wednesday by People, “and that meant just us.”
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The two met when they were teenagers at summer camp in East Orange, New Jersey in 1980.
Crawford, now 58, says they developed a close bond and she told Houston, “I’m going to look out for you.”
Houston’s longtime friend says they became physical, but that part of their relationship ended after the singer signed a record deal with Clive Davis at Arista.
Crawford claims Houston gave her a blue Bible on the day she broke things off in 1982.
“She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore,” Crawford writes, “because it would make our journey even more difficult.”
Crawford adds that Houston feared the relationship would hurt her image.
“She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us,” says Crawford, “and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.”
Crawford also claims there was pressure from Houston’s family, including her mother Cissy Houston.
“Whitney told me her mother said it wasn’t natural for two women to be that close,” says Crawford, “but we were that close.”
As Houston became an international superstar, Crawford worked as her assistant and creative director. The two remained friends for decades, leading to speculation that their relationship was romantic.
“We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” writes Crawford. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”
Houston died at age 48 in 2012, from drowning due to the effects of heart disease and cocaine intoxication.
Crawford lives with her partner, talent agency executive Lisa Hintelmann, and they have two children. Crawford says she wrote the book to explain who Houston was before she became famous.
“I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship,” she says.
Published by Penguin Random House, Crawford’s book will be available on Nov 12.