After almost four decades, Robyn Crawford has answered the long-discussed rumours. In her new memoir, A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston (out yesterday), Crawford shares that she and Houston once had a romantic relationship. Crawford, now 56, was known for being Houston’s close friend and assistant. Houston passed away in 2012 at the age of 48.
Beginning in the ‘80s, the media often speculated about the nature of Crawford and Houston’s relationship. Back in 2016, Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown said that Houston was bisexual and had once had a romantic relationship with Crawford. But this is the first time Crawford has addressed the rumours herself.
According to Jezebel, Crawford’s memoir claims that she and Houston were in a romantic and sexual relationship for about two years, beginning soon after they met during the summer of 1980. They were both working at the East Orange Community Development Centre; Houston was about to turn 17, and Crawford was 19.
In an excerpt printed in Out, Crawford writes of that time, “We were together that entire summer. We could not stay away from each other. We didn’t share what happened with anyone, but our connection was undeniable. You could feel it… We were partners. I didn’t know how long it was going to last, but I knew we were meant to be.”
She continues, “We never talked labels, like lesbian or gay. We just lived our lives, and I hoped it could go on that way forever. From a young age, I loved beautiful people. Sometimes the beauty that captured me came in the form of a male, and sometimes it came in the form of a female; either way worked for me.”
Crawford writes that when Houston’s career began to take off in 1982, Houston stopped the romantic aspect of their relationship by giving Crawford a Bible. In an excerpt printed in People, Crawford writes, “She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore, because it would make our journey even more difficult."
In an interview with Lena Waithe for O, The Oprah Magazine, Crawford shared why she decided to tell her story now. “I had comfort in my silence for many years. When her daughter Bobbi Kristina passed [in 2015], that’s when I first really felt the need to stand up, hearing the way people were treating Bobbi, Whitney, our friendship, and their version of my story,” Crawford said. “And I felt the legacy of my friend was buried underneath all of that.”
She added that she felt that Houston approved of her decision. “I actually sat there and asked her up above: ‘What would you want me to do? Do you understand why now?’ Feeling her yes, that was my clearance,” Crawford said. “When I felt complete in my being that I could have the confidence to stand up and lift her legacy out of the trash, to elevate it and put it back in her hands, while also honouring our friendship... that’s when I felt ready.”