Whitney HoustonOpens in New Window‘s best friend and personal assistant, Robyn Crawford,Opens in New Window is finally speaking out about her same-sex romanceOpens in New Window with the late music icon, decades after rumors about their close relationshipOpens in New Window first swirled, and two years after RadarOnline.com confirmed the news with familyOpens in New Window.
In her upcoming memoir, A Song for You: My Life with Whitney HoustonOpens in New Window, first obtained by PEOPLE, Crawford, 58, opens up about her and Houston’s lifelong friendship — and passionate romance.
“We wanted to be together,” Crawford writes, “and that meant just us.”
The two met when Crawford was 19 and Houston was just 17, but from that moment on, they remained inseparable, she said.
In her book, Crawford recalls the first time the two were intimate.
“One day, Whitney and I were spending time together and she whispered, ‘We’re spending the night at Larry’s.’ At the apartment we took off our clothes and for the first time, we touched each other. Caressing her and loving her felt like a dream,” she writes.
“We didn’t share what happened that night with anyone. I wasn’t ready to give up our intimacy either, though I understood how hard it could be in the music business.”
Still, when Houston signed a record deal with music mogul Clive Davis at Arista in 1982, she told Crawford their physical relationship had to end. She even gifted her friend a Bible.
“She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore,” Crawford says, “because it would make our journey even more difficult and living that kind of life would mean we would go to hell.”
“She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us,” Crawford continues, “and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.”
Crawford says that despite the fact that they ended their physical relationship, she still had passionate romantic feelings for Houston and stayed by her side throughout her relationships with men and her marriage to Bobby Brown.
She found comfort in keeping their secret for decades, but still, their close relationship sparked many rumors throughout Houston’s years in the spotlight.
Even the singer’s mother thought their bond “wasn’t natural.”
Crawford’s father told RadarOpens in New Window in 2017 that he knew of their romance all along: “I knew 40 years ago, we all knew,” Dennis Crawford said. “I saw them together.”
“We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” Crawford writes in her memoir. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”
Sadly, overcome by her incessant drug use, Houston died in 2012 at the age of 48.
“Whitney knows I loved her, and I know she loved me,” Crawford says. “We really meant everything to each other. We vowed to stand by each other.”
In the book, Crawford recalls the heartbreak she felt when Houston married Brown, 50 — though she was “more interested in Eddie MurphyOpens in New Window” — and again when she realized her friend was in an abusive marriage.
In 1993, when Houston’s daughter Bobbi KristinaOpens in New Window was born, Crawford says the singer continued her drug use, and fell into an even darker downward spiral.
Crawford tried to get her help, but Houston refused, saying she wasn’t ready. It was then that Crawford quit her job as Houston’s manager and cut ties with her.
Though they still spoke once in a while, their friendship was never the same. In 2012, Crawford was having dinner when she heard about Houston’s death. “I felt my insides shattering” she writes.
Now, seven years after Houston’s death, Crawford hopes to “stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent.”
“I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship,” she says of her book about Houston.
Crawford now lives with her partner, Lisa Hintlemann, and their two children.