Whitney Houston’s disastrous marriage to Bobby Brown and her ultimate demise may have been triggered, in part, because she loved a woman. She lived in fear her lesbianism would destroy her family and career.
Although rumors followed her throughout her life, she never addressed them, nor did her alleged lover Robyn Crawford, a lifelong friend. But it profoundly affected her life.
In the early days, when Whitney was at her happiest and her career was soaring, she and Robyn were inseparable, according to Peter Tatchell, a gay rights advocated who met Whitney and Robyn at an HIV vigil in London in 1991.
“When I met them, it was obvious they were madly in love. Their intimacy and affection was so sweet and romantic,” Tatchell writes in London’s Daily Mail.
“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.”
Tatchell has talked before about Whitney’s attendance at the vigil with a woman, yet he never named her partner or discussed what he saw. But with Houston’s death, and numerous reports about Crawford’s alleged liaison, he decided to reveal what he knows.
Crawford rose from friend to become Whitney’s Creative Director and Whitney dedicated albums to her. Crawford has never commented on the rumors.
“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.” he says. “She was fearful of the effects that lesbian rumours might have on her family, reputation and career.
“Eventually she succumbed. The result? A surprise marriage to Bobby Brown,” he added.
It was the beginning of a decade-long slide. “Previously wholesome and clean-living, she went on drink-and-drug binges, evidence of a troubled personal life and much unhappiness,” Tatchell writes.
In a 2008 book, Brown accused Houston of marrying him to counter allegations that she was having an affair with Crawford. “In Whitney’s situation, the only solution was to get married and have kids. That would kill all speculation, whether it was true or not. In the short, I think I got caught up in the politics.”
Brown’s sister, Tina, and Houston’s former bodyguard, Kevin Ammons, also claimed Whitney was a lesbian.
Homophobia undoubtedly added to the pressures on Whitney and hastened her demise, Tatchell writes.
“There is nothing shameful about a woman loving a woman. It’s not dirty or sordid and shouldn’t be kept hidden.”