higher love

Whitney Houston’s Best Friend Says They Had a Love Affair: ‘We Wanted to Be Together’

Whitney Houston Photo: Suzie Gibbons/Redferns

Whitney Houston’s life has been on display for decades, ever since her voice propelled her to stardom. But now, seven years after her death, her best friend Robyn Crawford is coming forward about the one secret Houston had to keep: They were lovers. Crawford opened up to People magazine and shared details from her memoir, A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston. The two women met as camp counselors in New Jersey when Houston was 16 and Crawford was 19. They became best friends and, over time, romantic partners. “We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” writes Crawford in her memoir. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”

“We wanted to be together and that meant just us,” Crawford said to People. But as Houston rose to prominence, their relationship had to fade. “Whitney told me her mother [gospel singer Cissy Houston] said it wasn’t natural for two women to be that close, but we were that close,” Crawford stressed. In 1982, with pressure from her family and fame just around the corner, Houston ended their physical relationship. “She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore because it would make our journey even more difficult,” the 58-year-old writes. As a parting gift, Houston gave Crawford a blue Bible. “She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us,” recalled Crawford, “and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.”

Soon after, Whitney Houston signed to Arista Records with Clive Davis and got to share her voice with the world. Crawford, on the other hand, “found comfort” in her own silence. A Song for You is Crawford’s way of paying respect to that part of their lives. “I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame,” Crawford said. “And in that, to embrace our friendship.”

Whitney Houston’s Best Friend Says They Had a Love Affair