Whitney Houston Biopic Screenwriter Says Friendship With Robyn Crawford Kept Singer Steady

Whitney Houston fans are anticipating her first authorized biopic slated for release this week. The film promises to unpack Houston’s personal life, including her unprecedented rise to fame and how it impacted her privacy. One relationship besides her marriage that’s always been tabloid fodder is her longtime friendship with Robyn Crawford. Houston’s drug use has been long documented, but the movie’s screenwriter and others say things went from bad to worse when Crawford was no longer in Houston’s life.

Robyn Crawford and Whitney Houston together at event
Robyn Crawford and Whitney Houston together at event – Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford were not in communication when Whitney died

Houston and Crawford met when they were teenagers working at the same summer camp. They became fast friends and even shared an apartment together when Houston first moved out of her parent’s home. Crawford witnessed Houston’s quick rise to superstardom and was there every step of the way.

Rumors of the two being more than platonic friends ran rampant, but Houston denied such. Crawford and Houston’s close associates later confirmed they had a brief sexual relationship in the ‘80s, but Houston stopped it due to her image, career, and religious background. She married Bobby Brown in 1992.

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Crawford worked as Houston’s assistant before being promoted to creative director. She went on tour, accompanied her to award shows, and handled other business affairs. But as Houston’s drug use escalated, Crawford grew frustrated.

She quit working for Houston in 2000 amid her “My Love Is Your Love” world tour after an argument with Brown. They remained in scattered communication. Crawford says their final conversation occurred after Houston and Brown’s alleged domestic dispute in 2003. They never reconnected before Houston’s death in 2012.

Screenwriter says Robyn Crawford kept Whitney Houston steady but when their friendship deteriorated, so did Whitney

Crawford is portrayed by actress Nafeesa Williams in Houston’s forthcoming I Wanna Dance With Somebody biopic. The movie shows how Houston’s estrangement from Crawford made her more suspectable to self-destruction as Crawford was no longer around to keep things under some form of control. People in Houston’s camp have echoed similar sentiments in interviews, including in the Showtime documentary Can I Be Me

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“They had a very intense friendship that began as physical…probably for a couple of years before it became just a deep and abiding friendship,” says screenwriter Anthony McCarten in an interview with Vanity Fair.

He adds: “It was a great amount of love and trust there that didn’t end. But eventually, Robyn stopped working for Whitney, and when you lose a close friend, you lose an adviser, someone who can steady you. I think Whitney would’ve benefited from Robyn’s presence.”

Robyn Crawford was not happy that Whitney Houston denied their romance

Crawford didn’t confirm the romantic relationship with Houston until she released her 2019 memoir, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston. In an interview with The Chi creator Lena Waithe for Oprah.com, Crawford revealed she wasn’t always a fan of how Houston handled questions about their relationship.

“I didn’t like some of the things she said. I didn’t feel like it was helping things. But she didn’t care at that point. She would say: ‘They’ll say what they want to say,’” Crawford explained.

According to Crawford, Houston didn’t want to be labeled. “And Whitney also always pushed back on labels,” she added. “That went for her music, too. She didn’t sing Black music or white music; she just sang.”