Whitney Houston’s life and turmoil have been in the headlines since the singer was found dead on February 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Many looked back on her years of drugs use and blamed ex-husband Bobby Brown for her notorious downward spiral.
However, rumors are now surfacing that Whitney Houston’s break-up with lesbian partner Robyn Crawford caused her emotional descent.
In a 1987 interview with Time magazine, Whitney Houston, then 23, said that Robyn Crawford was the “sister [she] never had.”
Both Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford denied being romantically involved.
“My mother taught me that when you stand in the truth and someone tells a lie about you, don’t fight it. I’m not with any man. I’m not in love. People see Robyn with me, and they draw their own conclusions. Anyway, whose business is it if you’re gay or like dogs? What others do shouldn’t matter. Let people talk. It doesn’t bother me because I know I’m not gay. I don’t care,” said Whitney Houston.
Robyn Crawford told Time magazine: “I tell my family, <<You can hear anything on the streets, but if you don’t hear it from me, it’s not true.>>”
Robyn Crawford (right) and Whitney Houston had denied a gay relationship since 1987
However, British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell reports it differently. He described meeting Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford, whom he refers to as the singer’s female partner, at the Reach Out & Touch HIV vigil in London in 1991. Whitney Houston attended the event to advocate the welfare and human rights of those living with HIV.
“When I met them, it was obvious they were madly in love. Their intimacy and affection was so sweet and romantic,” said Peter Tatchell.
“They held hands in the back of the car like teenage sweethearts. Clearly more than just friends, they were a gorgeous couple and so happy together. To see their love was infectious and uplifting.
“Whitney was happiest and at the peak of her career when she was with Robyn. Sadly, she suffered family and church pressure to end her greatest love of all.”
According to Peter Tatchell, Whitney Houston was afraid of the backlash she would face from her family – who raised her in the church -and fans if she made her relationship with Robyn Crawford public.
Whitney Houston then married Bobby Brown in 1992, just one year after the HIV vigil.
Whitney Houston met Robyn Crawford when she was 16-years-old at a summer job in East Orange, N.J. The two soon became inseparable. Robyn Crawford dropped out of Monmouth College to work for Whitney Houston.
British-based gay rights activist Peter Tatchell claimed that Whitney Houston attended an AIDS event in London, in 1991, with her gay partner Robyn Crawford.
Though he initially declined to identify her, the organizer – respected gay rights and equality consultant Vernal Scott – said that Peter Tatchell was referring to Robyn Crawford.
Peter Tatchell even said Whitney Houston’s marriage to Bobby Brown was a smokescreen.
Now, Peter Tatchell tells the story of how he met the two lovers, Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford.
“I met Whitney and her female partner at the Reach Out & Touch HIV vigil in London in 1991.
Whitney spoke movingly in support of people with HIV, at a time when many other stars kept their distance. Her support was much valued.
She advocated the welfare and human rights of people with HIV. It was a commendable stand.
I have, in the past, declined to name Whitney’s female partner. But most of the media have since named her as Robyn Crawford.
When I met them, it was obvious they were madly in love. Their intimacy and affection was so sweet and romantic.
They held hands in the back of the car like teenage sweethearts. Clearly more than just friends, they were a gorgeous couple and so happy together. To see their love was infectious and uplifting.
Whitney was happiest and at the peak of her career when she was with Robyn. Sadly, she suffered family and church pressure to end her greatest love of all.
She was fearful of the effects that lesbian rumors might have on her family, reputation and career. Eventually she succumbed. The result? A surprise marriage to Bobby Brown.
The marriage was a disaster. Bad boy Bobby was never her true soul mate. Giving up Robyn – they’d been inseparable for years – must have been emotionally traumatic.
Whitney’s life started going downhill soon afterwards. Previously wholesome and clean-living, she went on drink-and-drug binges – evidence of a troubled personal life and much unhappiness.
It seems likely that the split with Robyn contributed to her substance abuse and decline.
There is a known correlation between denial of one’s sexuality and a propensity to self-destructive behavior. Homophobia undoubtedly added to the pressures on Whitney and hastened her demise.
Soon after her very sad death, I was quoted as saying that Whitney was happiest when she loved a woman. Some fans accused me of <<insulting>> and <<smearing>> her.
But there is nothing shameful about a woman loving a woman. It’s not dirty or sordid and shouldn’t be kept hidden.
I did not out her as lesbian/ bisexual. She semi-outed herself by dedicating her albums to Robyn.”
Whitney Houston pictured with Robyn Crawford (right), the star’s greatest love, according to British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell
Years ago, Whitney Houston was outed by Bobby Brown’s sister, Tina, and by her former bodyguard, Kevin Ammons.
Bobby Brown hinted in his autobiography that Whitney Houston married him to dispel lesbian rumors: “I believe her agenda was to clean up her image . . . The media was accusing her of having a bisexual relationship with her assistant, Robin Crawford . . . that didn’t go too well with her image. In Whitney’s situation, the only solution was to get married . . . [to] kill all speculation.”
Peter Tatchell continued: “Telling the truth does not besmirch Whitney’s memory. It honors the most important relationship she ever had.
What’s wrong is ignoring or denying the one love that made her truly happy.
Homophobia contributed to Whitney’s fall.
I want to see a more tolerant society where people don’t feel the need to marry to deflect rumors of homosexuality, and where they are not driven to self-destruction because of their inability to accept and express their love for a person of the same sex.
Achieving this goal would be a fitting tribute to Whitney Houston.”