In a new memoir, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston, Robyn speaks at length about her years working for Whitney, first as an assistant and later as a creative director. She also says that she and The Bodyguard star were romantic partners in the early 1980s.
“I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship,” Robyn writes in the book, explaining why she’s telling their story now, according to excerpts that appeared in People magazine on Wednesday. “And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent.”
Robyn and Whitney met as teens while working together at a community center in East Orange, New Jersey. The two women were soon inseparable, and according to Robyn, eventually became physical with one another.
“We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” she writes. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”
Later, she adds: “Whitney knows I loved her and I know she loved me. We really meant everything to each other. We vowed to stand by each other.”
According to Robyn, the physical aspect of the pair’s relationship ended shortly before Whitney signed a contract with Clive Davis of Arista Records in 1983. To break the news, she says Houston gifted her with a Bible.
“She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore, because it would make our journey even more difficult,” she says, adding that pressure from the pop star’s mother, Cissy Houston, didn’t help. “She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us, and back in the 80s that’s how it felt.”
Whitney, who died in 2012 at age 48, denied reports during her lifetime that she was gay or bisexual.
“Listen, I took a lot of grief for shit that wasn’t me, OK, ’cause I had friends, ’cause I was close to people,” she told Out in 2000. “But that ain’t me. I know what I am. I’m a mother. I’m a woman. I’m heterosexual. Period.”
Attempts to delve deeper into the relationship between Whitney and Robyn, who now works as a fitness trainer and is openly gay, have continued in the years since the pop star’s death.
Bobby Brown, who was married to Houston from 1992 to 2007, claimed in his 2016 memoir that he knew that the pop star was bisexual.
Speaking to US Weekly that same year, he even suggested that things might have turned out differently for Whitney if she’d been permitted to live her truth.
“I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today,” Bobby said. “She didn’t have close friends with her anymore.”