Several online tabloids and gossip sites have reported that Bobby Brown has recently released (or, in some reports, is about to release) a new tell-all memoir called Bobby Brown: The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But. And in this book, he apparently reveals his ex-wife, Whitney Houston, married him to quell rumors that she is bisexual.
First of all, how many times does a story need to be recycled to make the news? The rumor that Whitney Houston married Bobby Brown to deflect attention from her close relationship with assistant Robyn Crawford dates back to the 1990s. For example, the book So You Want To Be A Lesbian by Liz Tracey and Sydney Pokorny included this tidbit: “Whitney Houston marries Bobby Brown, giving her ‘personal assistant’ Robyn Crawford a Mercedes as a consolation present.”
That book was published in 1996, the era known as “Before Ellen.”
These same rumors resurfaced in April of 2008, when excerpts of Brown’s memoir leaked to the press. An excerpt from the New York Post from April 3, 2008 reads as follows:
I think we got married for all the wrong reasons. Now, I realize Whitney had a different agenda than I did when we got married … I believe her agenda was to clean up her image, while mine was to be loved and have children.
Whitney, he alleges, had been under “a lot of pressure”:
The media was accusing her of having a bisexual relationship with her assistant, Robyn Crawford. Since she was the American Sweetheart and all, that didn’t go too well with her image . . . In Whitney’s situation, the only solution was to get married and have kids. That would kill all speculation, whether it was true or not. In the short, I think I got caught up in the politics and ended up marrying one of the biggest stars in the world.
In order to find the truth, the whole truth, I had to endure the embarrassment of asking for this book at a Borders on Park Avenue in Manhattan, a neighborhood so straight laced and corporate that I couldn’t even pass it off as hipster irony. The look on the clerk’s face, a mixture of disdain and morbid curiosity, was priceless. My ears actually turned red in shame. (Damn you, AfterEllen.com.)
First, this book is not “new” or “upcoming” — it was published a year ago. A rambling and marginally literate foreword by a fellow called Derrick Handspike indicates that the book was originally intended to be an autobiography, but then Bobby Brown got cold feet, so Handspike decided to release the book as an unauthorized biography. Handspike, according to dubious internet sources, is a prolific writer and hip hop producer, but an Amazon.com search only turns up the Bobby Brown book. Shady all around.
On page 210 of this fine piece of literature, Bobby Brown is quoted as saying exactly what the Post said — and that’s it. Anti-climatic, indeed.
Perhaps we should take note from the direct source, as Whitney addressed the rumors in Time magazine in 1987:
At 17, Whitney completed her extended family when she met the “sister I never had.” Robyn Crawford — tall, slim, severely handsome — was 19 then; they have been nearly inseparable ever since. Four years ago Robyn dropped out of Monmouth College, where she had played basketball on scholarship, and later became Whitney’s personal assistant. They share a North Jersey flat with a view of Manhattan.
Because of their easy intimacy, the tattle mill has ground out the story that they are lovers. Both women shrug off the rumor. Says Robyn: “I tell my family, ‘You can hear anything on the streets, but if you don’t hear it from me, it’s not true.’ ”
Whitney also alludes to family: “My mother taught me that when you stand in the truth and someone tells a lie about you, don’t fight it. I’m not with any man. I’m not in love. People see Robyn with me, and they draw their own conclusions. Anyway, whose business is it if you’re gay or like dogs? What others do shouldn’t matter. Let people talk. It doesn’t bother me because I know I’m not gay. I don’t care.”
I will close with one comment: If I really wanted to clean up my image, marrying Bobby Brown is probably the exact opposite of what I would do. I think that book should have been filed in the fiction section for that assertion alone. In fact, I think I would just drive off into the sunset in a Mercedes with my personal assistant at my side.