Rosie O’Donnell has opened up about her memories surrounding Whitney Houston. Appearing on the Hot Takes & Deep Dives podcast this week, the former talk show host and actor looked back on her relationship with the Legend, who died in 2012.
via: New York Post
“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 rumored same-sex orientation.
In a wide-ranging discussion on the “Hot Takes & Deep Dives” podcast 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” chanteuse 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.”
In the book, she said the pop diva ended their love affair to move forward as platonic gal pals when she signed a music deal with Arista Records in 1983.
Prior to her cocaine-linked death, Houston never confirmed her alleged queerness.
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 talked 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 centerpiece portrayal of the Fairy Godmother in the 1997 television adaptation of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” starring Brandy Norwood. The film was rereleased on the Disney+ streaming platform last month.
“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.”
See the clip in full above.