Robyn Crawford’s Secret Love Affair With Whitney Houston

Zehra Kabak

In 2022, the biographical film ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ gave insight into Whitney Houston’s life, exploring her relationship with Robyn Crawford. Before the film’s release, Crawford shared details of their years together in her book, ‘A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston.’

The former assistant’s book revealed that the two’s friendship started at a camp when she was a 19-year-old basketball player in college, and the singer was a 16-year-old going to Mount St. Dominic Academy, although it turned into something more in the following years.

Houston and Crawford formed a sexual relationship sometime after their first meeting, which lasted for only two years, while their closeness continued for more than 20. The singer ended the romantic part of their friendship after signing her first deal with Arista Records by handing her partner a Bible and saying she didn’t want to make her path in the music industry in the ’80s more difficult.

Still, the two continued as friends, and Houston hired Crawford as her assistant when her career grew. They lived in the same house and remained close, even occasionally sharing a bed, although the author admitted that things became difficult for her after the late singer started dating Jermaine Jackson, Eddie Murphy, and finally, Bobby Brown, whom she married.

Commenting on that period, Crawford wrote:

“The physical part of our friendship was no longer, but the intimacy… our friendship was intimate on all levels, that’s how deep it was, and I wanted her to call me and say, ‘Guess what, this is happening [with Jermaine].’ And she wasn’t doing that, and that hurt more than anything. It didn’t feel like she was cheating on me – it felt more like she was leaving me out.”

Meanwhile, rumors about the two’s affair started to spread in the media, as a serious profile in Time magazine once hinted at the relationship. So, Houston’s lawyer called Crawford to ask whether they were true, which she refused to answer, angering the singer, who wanted her to say ‘no.’

On the other hand, within the ‘I Will Always Love You’ singer’s inner circle, hostility toward Crawford grew due to their friendship. Her mother, Cissy, called their affair unnatural and wanted her daughter’s friend not to be seen with her in public. She also refused to listen to her suggestions about getting help for Houston’s drug addiction.

Later, Houston’s father banned Crawford from business meetings. In 1997, he even excluded her from a 10-date Pacific Rim tour after years of touring together. A few years after that, Robyn quit her job and distanced herself from the singer, establishing a new life in rural New Jersey.

The former assistant met her now-wife, Lisa, and had two children with her there. She didn’t talk to Houston for years until her death in 2012, although she said:

“But I was always there for her. I kept feeling she was going to come, and I told Lisa, ‘When Whitney comes to our door, that door has to open.'”

Houston lost her life in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office later revealed that drowning and the ‘effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use’ were the reasons for her death. In the years following that, her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, told Us Weekly that he thought Houston would be alive today if Crawford remained in her life.

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