Throughout Whitney Houston’s career and even her marriage to fellow singer Bobby Brown, there had been rumors of a lesbian relationship with her best friend and assistant Robyn Crawford. But the rumors were always denied — until now, seven years after the death of the singer superstar.
Crawford has released a book, “A Song for You,” that admits to the relationship and much more.
“Believe me, I’ve done my best to stay out of the spotlight, keeping quiet while others painted their own pictures of me and of us,” Crawford wrote in the book’s introduction. “In the nineteen years since I left Whitney’s company, I have been pursued relentlessly to share my story. And since her death and that of her daughter, I have been saddened and frustrated by the way she and her legacy have been misrepresented.”
According to Crawford, it is “my duty to honor my friend and to clarify the many inaccuracies about myself and about who Whitney was … bighearted, determined, unselfish, private, hilarious, and confident in her gifts.”
Here are 10 things to know about “A Song for You.”
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Crawford was not only Houston’s secret lover, but she was her best friend, roommate, professional gatekeeper, and even the maid of honor at her wedding to Brown.
The two knew each other for a long time. “Crawford and Houston — who was called ‘Nippy’ by close friends and family — met as teenagers in New Jersey during their summer jobs, working as camp counselors. They became fast friends, and weeks later, shared their first kiss, Crawford writes. The two became physically intimate early into their relationship, and soon were inseparable,” The Washington Post reported.
“You could tell Whitney and I were tight,” Crawford writes. “It wasn’t all about our sleeping together. We could be naked. We could be bare and didn’t have to hide. We could trust each other with our secrets, our feelings, and who we were. We were friends. We were lovers. We were everything to each other. We weren’t falling in love. We just were. We had each other. We were one: That’s how it felt.”
When Houston signed her record deal with Arista, Crawford wrote that Houston told her they could not continue their physical part of their relationship “because it would make our journey even more difficult.”
“By this time, we were feeling the pressure,” Crawford wrote. “People knew we were tight and were starting to ask about us. We were so connected we could communicate without talking…The love I felt for Nippy was real and effortless, filled with so much feeling that when we talked about ending the physical part of our relationship, it didn’t feel like I was losing that much.”
And, yes, wrote Crawford the physical relationship ended for good but not their tight friendship.
In the 2018 documentary “Whitney,” which was sanctioned by the late singer’s estate, it was alleged that Houston had been molested as a child by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick. In the film, Houston’s brother Gary also said he had been molested by the same relative as a young child.
“Following the release of the film, Dee Dee’s sister, singer Dionne Warwick, and Houston’s mother strongly rebutted the claim,” The Washington Post reported.
In Crawford’s book, there is one memory with Dee Dee Warwick, and it was noted that Houston would often remark that “Dee Dee had a ton of talent and easily could have had a successful career but she was just too crazy.”
“Contrary to what has been said, Whitney loved Dee Dee,” Crawford wrote. “She spoke fondly of her cousin and maintained close ties to the Warwick family even after she became famous.”
And in an interview on “Today,” Crawford said Houston never mentioned being molested by Dee Dee Warwick. “If there was any truth to that,” Crawford said, “I would know about it.”
According to Crawford, Houston was romanced by a number of male celebrities. “In the book, Crawford writes that Houston became involved with Jermaine Jackson at the start of her career, but Jackson would rebuff her…Actor Robert De Niro also pursued her, but Houston rejected his advances,” The Washington Post reported.
Houston, however, was actually interested in comedian Eddie Murphy at the time she first met Brown, her future husband.
“Murphy was hot and cold with Houston, giving her a diamond ring but not letting her into his house when she went over as a birthday surprise,” The Washington Post reported. But later Murphy called Houston on her wedding day as she was getting ready, Crawford wrote. He told her she was making a big mistake if she married Brown.
While shopping at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, Houston had a “shopping while Black” moment,” according to Crawford. Houston was with her assistant Vejar. The two patiently waited at the jewelry counter while two white male employees helped another customer, who was also white. “When Vejar asked for assistance, she was told to wait, so she asked a young man at a different counter. He happily obliged, and after a few minutes recognized who he was assisting. ‘You’re Whitney Houston,’ he said, and suddenly the two other employees wanted to help. But Vejar shot back, ‘Oh, now you want to come over? Before, you thought you could just ignore us because we are a Spanish girl and a Black girl? Now you find out the Black girl is Whitney Houston, so here you come.’ Whitney, who had been quiet up until now, asked the young man who had helped them, ‘Do you work on commission?’ He nodded and she said, ‘Go get your manager. I want to buy it from you,’” The Washington Post reported.
Not only did Crawford pen “A Song for You,” but she also recorded the audiobook version herself.
While Crawford finally confirmed the longtime rumors of a sexual relationship with Houston, The New York Times in its book review says the book falls short on giving an in-depth look at the troubled singer.
“Those instincts end up rendering Houston slightly flat in this memoir, which portrays the singer as blindingly talented and incapacitatingly troubled, but not terribly complex. As a retrospective of Houston’s career, it’s spotty, lingering on the earliest days and speeding through the peaks…Many of the most pointed moments in the audiobook tell of things that are done to Houston, not things that Houston does herself. The stories about Houston’s mother, Cissy, are far more vivid and telling. Cissy ‘never helped Whitney get ready for school; she was informed of her teenage daughter’s drug use but turned a blind eye; and, in one confrontation while Crawford was in Houston’s employ, she slapped Crawford for leaving Houston alone,” The New York Times reported.
Although their physical relationship had ended, Hoston wasn’t happy when Crawford spent the day out with another woman and actually slapped Crawford when she returned.
Crawford does touch on the subject of Houston’s drug use. Crawford also used drugs with Houston for some time. “Whitney would often say, ‘Cocaine can’t go where we’re going,’” Crawford recalled. She also wrote of finding burned spoons in Houston’s house and attempts to get Houston into rehab. Crawford exited Houston’s world when this failed, it was around 2000. She “made a conscious decision to…not get sucked back into Whitney World.”
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