Star reveals Whitney ‘troubled’ by sexuality
Rosie O'Donnell has spoken out about the tortured relationship songstress Whitney Houston had with her sexuality.
"Whitney was troubled by, I think, the gay part of her life and didn't want it exposed," O'Donnell said of the late music icon's rumoured same-sex orientation.
In a wide-ranging discussion on the Hot Takes & Deep Dives podcast on Monday, O'Donnell, 59, claimed the six-time Grammy Award-winning powerhouse was "conflicted" by her conservative cultural values and much-storied bisexuality.
"It's hard in black culture to accept gayness. It's culturally more difficult, I think," the openly gay actress said of Houston - who died in a drug-related accidental drowning at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in February 2012. She was 48.
"And the church … the Baptist Church weighed heavily on her," O'Donnell added, noting the rigid dichotomy between religion and homosexuality.
"Growing up in the church and singing gospel, (for Houston) I think that there was a lot of conflict about that."
O'Donnell recalled meeting the I Will Always Love You singer and her purported girlfriend, Robyn Crawford, at a party in New York.
She said that at the time, it was understood that Crawford, who was couched as Houston's childhood friend and personal assistant, was actually the megastar's "partner".
Crawford, 60, confirmed longstanding rumours of her hush-hush romance with the Saving All My Love For You singer in her 2019 memoir, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston.
In the book, she said the pop diva ended their love affair to move forward as platonic friends after she signed a music deal with Arista Records in 1983.
Houston later married and divorced R&B musician Bobby Brown, who confessed that he knew his wife of 14 years was bisexual in his 2016 autobiography Every Little Step: My Story.
O'Donnell - who the I Wanna Dance With Somebody vocalist once endearingly referred to as her "Irish sister" - went on to discuss Houston's well-documented battle with addiction.
The Emmy Award-winning talk show host also spoke about Houston pulling a no-show 45 minutes before the singer was to sit for an exclusive interview on her live daytime television program The Rosie O'Donnell Show back in the late 1990s.
"(Houston) was, at that time, really in a downward spiral with drugs, and it was obvious to anyone who was watching her," O'Donnell said on the podcast.
At the time, the troubled singer was set to promote her centrepiece portrayal of the Fairy Godmother in the 1997 television adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Brandy Norwood.
"She didn't show up," O'Donnell said of Houston's last-minute cancellation, an infraction she attributed to the celeb's drug use.
"So I said to her crew, 'This is all on all of you. Because when she dies, everyone is going to ask why you didn't do something.'"
O'Donnell said that later on, "Robyn had written me and told me that was a very big day for them - the crew around her - to think that they had to make inroads to try to help her, and sadly, they didn't. Or couldn't."
This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission
Originally published as Star reveals Whitney 'troubled' by sexuality