After years of speculation, Whitney’s Houston longtime friend Robyn Crawford is opening up about her relationship with the legendary singer in detail for the first time in her new memoir, A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston.
While there has been persistent speculation regarding Crawford and Houston’s close relationship, neither had ever publicly addressed the rumors until now.
In excerpts from the memoir, obtained by PEOPLE, Crawford says that the two had a "physical relationship" in the 1980s. According to the outlet, Crawford was 19 when she first met then-16-year-old Houston in 1980 while they were both counselors at a New Jersey summer camp.
It was there that Crawford told Houston, “I’m going to look out for you.” The two soon became close friends, a relationship that stretched over the next two decades. As her closest confidante, Crawford stood with loyalty by Houston’s side throughout her globally renowned career.
Crawford alleged Whitney ended the “physical” part of their romance in 1982 after the singer signed a record deal with the Sony imprint Arista Records.
“She said we couldn’t be physical anymore because it would make our journey even more difficult,” she penned in the book. “She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us, and back in the ‘80s, that’s how it felt.”
Crawford explained that their dynamic was further complicated by outside pressure from Houston’s family, including her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, who allegedly disapproved of the love affair. Crawford claimed that “Whitney told me her mother said it wasn’t natural for two women to be that close, but we were that close.” She continued, “We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay. We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”
As for her impetus to speak on their relationship seven years after Houston’s tragic passing, Crawford told the entertainment magazine that she felt it was time to finally shed the truth on their relationship.
“I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship,” the 58-year-old told the publication. “And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent.”
Read more excerpts from Crawford’s A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston memoir here.
(Photo: Frederic REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)