Robyn Crawford has always been incredibly private about her relationship with Whitney Houston, but this week she gave a rare televised interview about their special relationship while doing press for her upcoming memoir.
Thursday, her interview with The TODAY Show’s Craig Melvin aired ahead of the release of A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston, a tender tell-all that promises to give fans a glimpse into a side of the singer that up until now hasn’t been explored beyond rumors and innuendo.
But in an excerpt of the book published exclusively in this week’s PEOPLE, Crawford also talks about Houston’s relationship with comedian Eddie Murphy and what she says happened between them as she prepared to marry to R&B singer Bobby Brown.
How things were
“Our friendship was a deep friendship. In the early part of that friendship, it was physical,” Crawford, 58, explained on TODAY, adding that no one knew about the romantic aspect of their relationship, because “it was ours.”
Their relationship began when they met as teenagers at summer camp in 1980, but one day in 1982, around the time that she signed a record deal with Clive Davis, Houston informed her, “I don’t think we should be physical anymore.”
Crawford says she understood that in those days that was necessary in order to allow Houston’s career to take off.
“The music business was a world we were learning,” Crawford said. “We didn’t want anything to interfere with where she was going.”
When asked if she was angry at the time of the breakup she said no.
“I just felt that I wouldn’t be losing much. I still loved her the same and she loved me,” she said, noting, “We were intimate on many levels.”
"She said, 'I don't believe we should be physical anymore.' … We didn't want anything to interfere with where she was going."
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 7, 2019
For those questioning why Crawford is finally speaking up after keeping this secret for almost four decades, she explains it comes from a desire to let the world see a more complete view of the woman she knew and loved for most of her life.
“I watched [Houston] rise to the top of her game and I felt compelled to share who that woman was behind all the fame,” she explained.
“I never envisioned speaking publicly about my life and then I asked myself the question: ‘What would Whitney want? Would she understand you know, the time is now?”‘
This week’s interview comes ahead of Crawford’s hour-long NBC Dateline special, ‘A Song for Whitney’ which is set to air Saturday night. Then on Monday, she will return to TODAY for her first live interview.
Eddie Murphy tried to warn her
As details from Crawford’s book are revealed leading up to its November 12th release, one tidbit has already started raising some eyebrows.
In the passage from PEOPLE, Houston’s best friend claims Murphy tried to stop the singer from marrying Bobby Brown on their wedding day.
According to Crawford, in 1989 even while Brown was courting the pop star, “She was more interested in Eddie Murphy, but he was elusive.”
“One day when Eddie was supposed to come for dinner, I caught a glimpse of Whitney,” writes Crawford. “She was wearing a black dress and low-heeled slingbacks. For a moment, I thought ‘Boy, I wish she was doing that for me.’”
She went on to say her friend “lost herself” in the pursuit of the comedian, but Murphy “never showed up that night,” and his rejection left Houston devastated.
Despite his hot and cold behavior, on the morning of her July 18, 1992 wedding to Bobby Brown, Crawford details how shocked Houston was when she got a call from Murphy.
“[That day] Eddie Murphy called to say she was making a mistake,” she writes, “but she pressed ahead.”
Brown and Houston did go on to have a troubled relationship that many others believed to be a misstep. But through all the heartaches, Crawford says she stood by her friend’s side as a protector and hopes the book will now let the public see why Houston was so easy to love.
“I have a lot of beautiful, wonderful, exciting, adventurous, loving, caring memories of Whitney,” she says. “Whitney was a beautiful friend, the friend that I prayed for.”
In the documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me, former bodyguard David Roberts claims that Crawford and Brown would get into physical fights over their shared love of the singer. In 2000 Crawford ended her working relationship with Houston amid reports that the growing animosity between Crawford and Brown had fueled a rift between the women.
Houston and Brown ultimately divorced in 2007 and Houston died unexpectedly in 2012 at the age of 48.
A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston will be released on Nov. 12 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon.