There was nobody nearer to Whitney Houston than her greatest good friend Robyn Crawford. Of their years collectively, she was Whitney’s gatekeeper, closest confidante, and most loyal protector.
She was additionally, within the early ’80s, the singer’s romantic accomplice. One thing she has by no means spoken about till now.
Seven years after Whitney’s tragic dying, she says, “I’d come to the purpose the place I felt the necessity to rise up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to face up and share the girl behind the unbelievable expertise.”
From the second Crawford, then 19, first noticed Whitney (then virtually 17) in 1980 once they had been each counselors at an East Orange, New Jersey summer season camp, she advised her, “I’m going to look out for you.”
And that’s precisely what she did for the subsequent twenty years as Whitney turned a worldwide celebrity.
“We wished to be collectively,” says Crawford, “and that meant simply us.”
Whitney ended the bodily a part of their relationship early on, quickly after she signed a file take care of Clive Davis at Arista.
The singer broke the information by giving Crawford a present of a slate blue Bible sooner or later in 1982.
“She mentioned we shouldn’t be bodily anymore,” writes Crawford, “as a result of it could make our journey much more tough.”
“She mentioned if folks discover out about us, they might use this towards us,” says Crawford, “and again within the ’80s that’s the way it felt.”
And so, she says, “I saved it protected. I discovered consolation in my silence.”
There was additionally strain from Whitney’s household, together with her mom gospel singer Cissy Houston. “Whitney advised me her mom mentioned it wasn’t pure for 2 girls to be that shut,” says Crawford, “however we had been that shut.”
Their closeness spawned relentless hypothesis about Whitney’s sexuality for a few years.
“We by no means talked about labels, like lesbian or homosexual,” writes Crawford. “We simply lived our lives and I hoped it might go on that manner perpetually.”
However as Crawford writes so movingly in her ebook, that connection was only one a part of her deep and lasting bond with Houston, who struggled with drug use and died in 2012 on the age of 48.
“Whitney is aware of I beloved her and I do know she beloved me,” says Crawford. “We actually meant the whole lot to one another. We vowed to face by one another.”
One thing she nonetheless does to today.
Now a household health coach, Crawford lives quietly together with her accomplice, expertise company govt Lisa Hintlemann, with whom she adopted two kids.
She hopes by writing her ebook, she will be able to set the file straight about who Whitney really was.
Says Crawford: “I wished to raise her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was earlier than the celebrity, and in that, to embrace our friendship.”
For extra of Robyn Crawford’s recollections of Whitney Houston, decide up the newest concern of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.