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!)
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
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."