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Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford’s First Kiss Sounds Extremely Cinematic

Life has a way of continuing after death in the memories of those who loved us. That’s exponentially more true in the lives of our beloved stars who died too soon, whose loved ones write down the biggest memories and secrets in memoirs. Whitney Houston died in 2012, and seven years later, her childhood friend Robyn Crawford has published a memoir, A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston. The book details their relationship, which at first was physical and then not.

Their origin story, as told by Crawford, reads like a romantic drama meets bildungsroman. The two met in 1980, when Houston was nearly 17 and Crawford was 19, at a summer camp in East Orange, New Jersey, where they were both working as counselors. The future superstar invited Crawford over to her house one day. “We talked and talked,” writes Crawford. “And then all of a sudden, we were face to face. The first kiss was long and slow, like honey. As we eased out of it, my nerves shot up and my heart beat furiously. Something was happening between us.”

She told People, “We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay. We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.” In the end, though, they snuffed out the romantic side of their relationship because it was the ’80s. “She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore because it would make our journey even more difficult,” Crawford writes. Houston signed with Clive Davis at Arista in 1982. “Whitney told me her mother said it wasn’t natural for two women to be that close, but we were that close.… She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us, and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.” So they continued their lives and remained close, living together as roommates and sparking rumors of a relationship, but they put a moratorium on the physical stuff, according to Crawford.

Several years later, at the end of the ’80s, Houston’s eventual husband, Bobby Brown, was pursuing her, while she pursued comedian Eddie Murphy, who proved harder to get. Crawford recalls two stories about Murphy. The first is that Houston “lost herself” chasing Murphy, she says, citing one night when the singer was having him over for dinner in her New Jersey mansion and he never showed. Despite that kind of treatment, Murphy “called to say she was making a mistake” on the day of Houston’s wedding to Brown in 1992. “But she pressed ahead,” Crawford writes. After their marriage Houston grew more isolated.

Brown himself confirmed Houston’s relationship with Crawford to [Us Weekly]((https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/bobby-brown-whitney-houston-had-same-sex-romance-with-robyn-crawford-w209306/) and alleged that Houston was bisexual in his own 2016 memoir. It’s a label that Houston denied throughout her life. In a 1987 Time magazine profile, she said of the rumors: “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.”

Houston drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub with a cocktail of drugs in her system, which Brown said could have been avoided with Crawford’s help.

“I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today,” Brown said in 2016. “She didn’t have close friends with her anymore.”

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