Robney Crawford's 30-year-old Whitney Houston best friend says she and the singer have ended their early romantic relationship to protect the budding career of the singer.
Crawford, 58, broke her silence over their short secret romance for the first time this week, seven years after the sudden death of Houston at 48.
She spoke to Craig Melvin of The TODAY Show in an interview broadcast on Thursday and described the early days of their relationship, which began when they met as teenagers in the summer camp in 1980.
& # 39; Our friendship was a deep friendship. In the beginning of that friendship it was physical, & Crawford told Craig Melvin of TODAY.
She said no one knew about the physical aspect of their relationship because & # 39; it was ours & # 39 ;.
The terms of their relationship shifted when the Houston career began to fly. Crawford told how Whitney came to her one day in 1982, around the time she signed a record deal with Clive Davis and said: & # 39; I don't think we should be more physical. & # 39;
& # 39; The music business was a world we were learning & & # 39 ;, Crawford said. & # 39; We didn't want anything to interfere with where she was going. & # 39;
Asked if she was angry about the Houston decision, Crawford said no.
& # 39; I just felt that I wouldn't lose much. I still loved her in the same way and she loved me, & she said, adding: & # 39; We were intimate on many levels. & # 39;
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30-year-old Whitney Houston's best friend Robyn Crawford spoke about how she and the singer ended their early romantic relationship to protect the budding career of the singer in an interview broadcast on Thursday morning on The TODAY Show (photo)
Crawford, 58, broke her silence about their short secret romance for the first time this week, seven years after the sudden death of Houston at 48. The couple is depicted on an undated photo
Crawford said her relationship with Houston shifted from romantic to platonic in 1982 when the singer's career began. Houston performs at a concert in 1985
Crawford explained that almost four decades later she opened up to romance because she wanted the world to get a more complete picture of the superstar she knew and loved.
& # 39; I saw (Houston) rise to the top of her game and I felt compelled to share who was behind that fame, she said.
& # 39; I had never considered publicly talking about my life and then I asked myself the question: & # 39; What would Whitney want? Would she understand that you know it is time now? & # 39;
Melvin asked if Crawford is concerned that people will speculate that she made up the story, to which she replied: “Some people might feel that way. Hopefully they don't.
The interview came ahead of Crawford & # 39; s NBC Dateline special of one hour, & # 39; A Song for Whitney & # 39 ;, which was broadcast Saturday night.
She returns to TODAY on Monday for her first live interview.
Crawford has also talked about the more than three decades she has spent on the side of Houston in her upcoming memoir A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston.
Crawford said she wasn't angry about the decision to end the physical aspect of their relationship because: & I just felt that I wouldn't lose much. I still loved her the same way and she loved me & # 39;
Crawford was 19 years old when she met Houston, then nearly 17, while in 1980 they worked as counselors in a summer camp in East Orange, New Jersey.
& # 39; It was during that first summer that we met, the first time our lips touched, & # 39; she revealed during the Dateline special.
& # 39; It was nothing planned, it just happened. And it felt great.
& # 39; And then, not long after, we spent the night together. And that night was the night we touched. And that just brought us closer. & # 39;
When asked if she is shocked that their relationship becomes physical, Crawford replies: & # 39; No, I was not surprised. I was at that time. He was ours. She suddenly came into my life.
Crawford talked about her relationship with Houston in her upcoming memoir A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston
& # 39; I didn't know how long it would take, but I just enjoyed the moment. And that's what we did, we just enjoyed it. & # 39;
In her memoir, Crawford explained how Houston ended the physical part of their relationship one day in 1982 and gave her a blue Bible to ease the blow.
& # 39; She said we shouldn't be physical anymore, because it would make our journey even more difficult & # 39 ;, Crawford wrote in an excerpt from People.
& # 39; She said that if people found out about us, they would use it against us, and in the & # 39; 80 it felt that way. & # 39;
Crawford said the Houston family also put her under pressure to end the relationship.
& # 39; Whitney told me her mother & # 39; – gospel singer Cissy Houston – & # 39; said it was not normal for two women to be so close & & # 39 ;, she wrote. & # 39; But we were so close. & # 39;
Crawford said that after Houston announced that she wanted to end their romance, she respected her wishes.
& # 39; I have saved it safely. I found comfort in my silence, & she wrote.
Crawford & # 39; s interview with NBC is the first time she spoke about their romance on camera
Crawford, 58, was one of Houston & # 39; s most trusted and loyal protectors for more than three decades, from the moment they met in a summer camp in New Jersey in 1980 to the sudden death of the singer at the age of 48 age in 2012. The couple is seen together in an undated photo
The romantic relationship of Crawford and Houston became a platonic relationship around the time the singer signed with music legend Clive Davis in 1983. In the following years, the couple (above in 1988) maintained a friendship so close that it made crazy speculations about Houston & # 39; s sexuality fed
Crawford said that after Houston announced that she wanted to end their romance, she respected her wishes. & # 39; I have saved it safely. I found comfort in my silence, & she wrote
Houston (left) and Crawford (right) are seen with singer Bobby Brown's husband and another woman at an undated event in New York City
The couple maintained a friendship so close that it has fueled years of speculation about Houston sexuality.
& # 39; We have never spoken about labels such as lesbian or gay, & # 39; Crawford explained.
& # 39; We just lived our lives and I hoped it would stay that way forever. We wanted to be together, and that meant only us. & # 39;
She said the romantic bond was only part of her lasting bond with Houston.
& # 39; Whitney knows I loved her and I know she loved me, & # 39; Crawford wrote.
& # 39; We have really meant everything for each other. We vowed to assist each other. & # 39;
In the years after Crawford and Houston ended their try-out, the singer was romantically associated with actor Eddie Murphy and football star Randall Cunningham.
She married singer Bobby Brown in 1992, with Crawford by her side as her bridesmaid, and the following year they welcomed daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown.
The tumultuous marriage of the couple often made headlines and divorced in 2007.
Crawford was the bridesmaid of Houston on her marriage to singer Bobby Brown in 1992
The tumultuous marriage of Houston and Brown often made headlines and divorced in 2007. They are shown together at the 1993 MTV Movie Awards in Culver City, California
Houston died 48 years old in 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. A coroner's report indicated that the singer, who was struggling with substance abuse, had accidentally drowned in the bathtub due to a combination of heart disease and cocaine use.
Her daughter, Bobbi, died three years later after a drug-related incident in the bathroom of her home in Georgia.
Crawford now works as a fitness instructor and lives a peaceful life with her partner, talent agency executive Lisa Hintlemann, and their two adopted children.
She said she hopes her memoirs will show the world the Houston she knew and loved.
& # 39; I wanted to abolish her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before fame, and embrace our friendship in it, & # 39; she said.
Crawford now works as a fitness instructor and lives a quiet life with her partner, talent agency executive Lisa Hintlemann (above together in 2003), and their two adopted children
The rumor romance of Houston and Crawford was portrayed in the 2015 Lifetime original film Whitney.
Asked about the rumors at the time, director Angela Bassett said: & I can't tell you.
& # 39; There have always been (rumors) and they persist and I don't know. But there was always speculation, so my thing was, let it stay. & # 39;
She added: & # 39; But it would be that the public would see it. When they read in it, they read it in (about) their lives – two women who are close by and love each other and support each other. & # 39;
Brown had mentioned his ex-wife's affair with Crawford in his 2016 memoir: Every Little Step: My Story.
& # 39; I really feel that if Robyn was accepted in Whitney & # 39; s life, Whitney would still live today, & # 39; he told Us Weekly at the time, speculating that Crawford could have helped Houston through her drug addiction.
& # 39; She no longer had good friends with her. & # 39;
Cissy, the mother of Houston, also talked about the allegations during an interview with Oprah in 2013, and said she & # 39; absolutely & # 39; would have had a problem with the fact that her daughter was gay.
The Dateline special is broadcasted on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Robyn is live on Monday TODAY.
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