Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Greatest Love of All?

Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born political activist best known for his work with the LGBT movement in England, writes in the ever-reliable Daily Mail that Whitney Houston died of a broken heart -- driven to drugs, alcohol and despair after being forced to abandon her true love, Robyn Crawford, in order to appease her family, her church and the demands of her high profile career. He may well be right -- it would certainly explain a lot of things. (Many people believe it.) I just wish his "evidence" came across as a bit more credible. Saying that he saw the childhood friends at a 1991 HIV vigil in London "holding hands in the back of the car like teenage sweethearts"and saying she'd been "outed" by Bobby Brown’s sister, Tina, and by her former bodyguard, Kevin Ammons, all cause me to raise my eyebrows. For one, has he never seen how female besties interact before? And relying on a member of the Brown family for anything besides disappointment seems foolish at best. As for the bodyguard, he may be the most credible, although we shouldn't forget Ammons was selling a "tell-all" book when he made his claims. And if we are to believe him, we are also asked to believe that Whitney's mother -- Queen of the Church Choir Cissy Houston -- once slugged Robyn in the jaw so hard that Whitney's alleged lover fell to the ground, at which point Cissy kept punching and kicking her, yelling, ‘I’ll kill you, you stupid b**ch!" If this too is true, it would certainly make the old "apple not falling far from the tree" adage a lot easier to believe. (Most picked Whitney decades ago in the Who Would Win if Madonna, Mariah and Whitney got into a throwdown game!)

For her part, Robyn Crawford spoke eloquently to Esquire right after Whitney's passing, and nothing about it made me think ex-lover. Was she paid to go away and keep quiet? Does she have so much love for Whitney that keeping her secret is something she wants to do for her, simply out of love and unreciprocated devotion? I haven't a clue. But until I hear it from her, there's still something about this story that has a certain Gayle and Oprah feel to it -- albeit slightly elevated -- where people cannot accept that two people could be extremely close without being lovers.

It doesn't matter to me if Whitney was or wasn't romantically involved with Robyn Crawford, I was a fan either way just the same. The only reason I'm curious is because if the story is true, it adds a layer of sadness and despair to the already tragic ending of a charmed life -- and deserves to be noted in "our" history lessons.

Perhaps my view is skewed, however, having experienced this myself. Some people in my own life still do not believe I was never more than friends with a childhood pal of mine ("You slept over at each other's house every weekend for how many years and nothing ever happened? Not even once??? And you're BOTH gay??? I find that IMPOSSIBLE to believe!") and later a good friend of mine in Washington. We were inseparable for a period of time -- and frequent travel companions -- and many assumed we were a couple. But as the great Olivia Newton-John once said, "Once the rumor spreads, the truth is just a thing of the past."


Anonymous said...

Andrew Sullivan has a post on the same subject. Incredibly, he seems to believe it is wrong to out someone AFTER they have died. I don't know about you but I have a fundamental problem with this idea that gayness is to be kept quiet and hidden away for some people, that you can blab all you want about extramarital affairs and drug use, but when it comes to sexuality you have to shut up -- after death too!

Matthew Rettenmund said...

It's pretty well known they were lovers. I realize that people can say "it's pretty well known" about things that aren't true, but it would be like saying, "How do we KNOWWWW" (How will I know?) "that Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates had a marriage of convenience."

You left out Bobby Brown talking about her being a lesbian while in his AA meetings (so much for confidentiality) and in his book.

Fullmoondoc said...

I heard this rumor a lot and that she was afraid it would affect her career at the time. Her solution I also heard was to go out and marry the biggest bad boy she could find. Of course as you said what a horrible punishment to inflict on oneself. I was discussing this with one of my straight female patients last week and she said it best, " I would rather be a BIG lesbian than to ever be Mrs. Bobby Brown." That quote took away some of my sadness watching the funeral on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

oops, i'm an idiot, i misinterpreted Andrew's post, he believes you can't "out" someone who is dead in the same way you can't libel them. feel free to delete the comment

Thomas said...

...And the price of rice in China is ... ? Who cares ? All of you sound like a bunch of gossiping teenagers !

Anonymous said...

I do believe she was in love with a woman, and sad that for her it was "the love that does not speak its name".

As someone mentioned, even Bobby Brown knew why Whitney married him. He was fine with it, I suppose.

Sad for her that she had to leave a life of lies for at the end it only hurt her.

Reminds me of similar reason Karen Carpenter died. She never seemed happy with men she married, but something about her anorexia and wanting to be like Olivia Newton John (isn't she one, too?).

No matter, sad that she wasn't able to be happy here on earth ... the good things a better life awaits her in the spiritual world than in the living hell she was living here on earth.