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{MIDDAYS WITH JAZZY MCBEE} ROBYN CRAWFORD BREAKS HER SILENCE ON HER RELATIONSHIP WITH WHITNEY HOUSTON

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Whitney Houston’s Best Friend Robyn Crawford Breaks Her Silence on Their Love Affair in New Memoir

Seven years after Whitney’s tragic death, Robyn Crawford says, “I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent.”

There was no one closer to Whitney Houston than her best friend Robyn Crawford. In their years together, she was Whitney’s gatekeeper, closest confidante and most loyal protector.

She was also, in the early ’80s, the singer’s romantic partner. Something she has never spoken about until now.

In her powerful new memoir A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston, excerpted in this week’s PEOPLE, Crawford, 58, is finally sharing her story — and their love story.

Seven years after Whitney’s tragic death, she says, “I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent.”

From the moment Crawford, then 19, first saw Whitney (then almost 17) in 1980 when they were both counselors at an East Orange, New Jersey summer camp, she told her, “I’m going to look out for you.”

And that’s exactly what she did for the next two decades as Whitney became a global superstar.

“We wanted to be together,” says Crawford, “and that meant just us.”

Whitney ended the physical part of their relationship early on, soon after she signed a record deal with Clive Davis at Arista.

The singer broke the news by giving Crawford a gift of a slate blue Bible one day in 1982.

“She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore,” writes Crawford, “because it would make our journey even more difficult.”

“She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us,” says Crawford, “and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.”

And so, she says, “I kept it safe. I found comfort in my silence.”

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