One of the world’s best selling artists, there are few souls over the age of 20 who don’t know Whitney Houston’s name. Massively talented, you’ve probably danced around the room to ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ or had a little cry to ‘I Will Always Love You’ (which is also the best selling single by a woman in history).
That’s why it was devastating to so many fans when she passed away in 2012. The singer had faced a well documented battle with drugs during her career, something which contributed to her unfortunate passing.
But, as her drug use and chart-topping hits garnered plenty of headlines, another scandal laid in wait. Oft-rumoured was that Whitney Houston’s childhood friend, Robyn Crawford, was also her lesbian lover. And in ‘Whitney’, the upcoming Lifetime movie about her life, Crawford is set to feature.
Yolonda Ross, the actress who plays Robyn Crawford in the film told The Daily Beast that:
“It’s interesting how that, which was a thing that was actually written in the press at one time, was squashed and brushed away when all the other stuff happened in her life later. It’s an interesting part of her life. Whether they were together or not, they were people who were so important to each other.”
As the (alleged) story goes, Whitney and Robyn were incredibly close and in a TIME magazine interview in 1987 Whitney told the publication that Robyn is “sister [she] never had.” According to gossip mongers, the two did date and LGBT activist Peter Tatchell suggested that not only were they an item but that Whitney later married Bobby Brown in 1992 to quell the gay rumours that had run rampant in the late 80s.
Throughout her life though, Whitney denied it, once saying that:
“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.”
Meanwhile, following Whitney’s passing Robyn wrote in Esquire:
“And we went around the world. I was her assistant and then her executive assistant and then her creative director. I was her point person for the day-to-day. I traveled all around the world first-class and anyone who ever worked for her will tell you her checks never bounced. You knew she was going to take care of you. She wasn’t going to be in a five-star hotel while you were in a two. I flew the Concorde the way some people ride the bus. She shared the fruits, and she changed a lot of lives. The record company, the band members, her family, her friends, me — she fed everybody. Deep down inside that’s what made her tired.
…And that was Whitney. She could not pick up the phone, and that meant it was too painful. I have never spoken about her until now. And she knew I wouldn’t. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. I was never going to betray her. Now I can’t believe that I’m never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that’s what I miss most, that’s what I miss already.”
So with a firm denial, an unclear obituary and more than a handful of rumours to go on, the producers of the Whitney movie couldn’t exactly state for certain that Whitney and Robyn dated. There is more than a bit of subtext in the film as they make it clear that the two women could have been a romantic pair.
You’ll be able to see it for yourself when the film premieres on Lifetime on January 17th, 2015.