Who is Robyn Crawford? Whitney Houston's assistant and former girlfriend speaks of secret relationship

22 December 2022, 15:31

Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford
Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford. Picture: Getty

Whitney Houston's biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody features all the important people in her life and career.

Alongside Whitney's mother Cissy and father John, and husband Bobby Brown, it also features her assistant and creative director Robyn Crawford.

Robyn and Whitney kept their relationship secret from the public during the singer's lifetime, but Robyn finally spoke about their life together in 2019.

  1. Who is Robyn Crawford and when did she meet Whitney?

    Robyn Crawford with her book in 2019
    Robyn Crawford with her book in 2019. Picture: Getty

    Robyn Crawford was born in Newark, New Jersey on December 17, 1960. She marked her 62nd birthday in 2022.

    She had a difficult childhood, and both her mother, Janet Crawford, and her brother, Marty, were diagnosed with HIV. They both died of AIDS-related illnesses in the 1990s.

    She first met Whitney Houston in 1980, when Crawford was 19 and Houston was 16.

    The pair were both acting as counsellors at an East Orange summer camp.

  2. What was Robyn and Whitney's relationship?

    Whitney in 1986
    Whitney in 1986. Picture: Getty

    Whitney and Robyn were long-term friends for years.

    The pair were rumoured to be in a romantic relationship, but during her lifetime, Whitney always denied it.

    However, in 2019, Robyn spoke publicly about their relationship in her book, A Song For You.

    She revealed that after meeting as teenagers, the pair had a sexual relationship that lasted for two years.

    She wrote: "It wasn't all about our sleeping together. We could trust each other with our secrets, our feelings, and who we were. We were friends, we were lovers.

    "We were everything to each other. We weren't falling in love. We just were. We had each other. We were one: that's how it felt."

    She added: “We never talked labels, like lesbian and gay. We just lived our lives, and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”

  3. When did they break up?

    Whitney had grown up in a very religious home, and she apparently at one stage went to Robyn's house and handed her a Bible, telling her that they had to stop being intimate.

    She is said to have told Crawford it was “because it would make our journey even more difficult” and that, “if they found out – because her career was taking off – they’d use it against us”.

    Despite their sexual relationship coming to an end, Robyn and Whitney remained friends. Whitney also hired Robyn as her assistant, and they lived together for several years.

    Robyn was also Whitney's maid of honour at her wedding to Bobby Brown in 1992.

    Robyn explained: “The physical part of our friendship was no longer, but the intimacy… our friendship was intimate on all levels, that’s how deep it was."

    She eventually quit her role as her assistant in 2000.

    By the time Whitney had died, Robyn was living in New Jersey with her wife Lisa and their children and they hadn't spoken in years.

    She later said: “But I was always there for her. I kept feeling she was going to come, and I told Lisa, ‘When Whitney comes to our door, that door has to open.’”