May 2, 2012 at 7:56 AM ET
Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston may no longer have been a couple when she died in February, but as he told TODAY's Matt Lauer in an interview that aired Wednesday morning -- his first interview since her death -- he still misses her fiercely.
"Our relationship was great," he said. "I had 14 beautiful, beautiful years with that woman." And it's not just his revisionist history, he insisted: "I can honestly say that -- I love that woman with -- with everything that I am. And I believe she loved me the same way."
Still, Whitney and Bobby's relationship was, almost from the start, filled with conflict of one kind or the other. Brown says he never used hard drugs before meeting Houston, and said that she had used drugs before they were involved. "I worried about it when ... we first got together until I tried it," he said. "And when I tried it, for some reason, I have an addictive personality."
He does have some regrets, wondering to Lauer whether "I coulda done something different, you know to -- ensure that she had a longer life. But ... you have to want it, you know?"
The 2005 single-season reality show "Being Bobby Brown," which put an uncomfortable spotlight on their relationship and showed Houston's temper flaring, he says, was a "wake-up, because we were able to see what others were saying about us .... (to) see that our drug use had affected our relationship, had affected the love we felt for each other."
But Houston declined to appear on a second season of the show, and the pair separated in 2006; they divorced the following year. Still, said Brown -- who told Lauer he would be getting remarried "soon" -- he still has a lot of room in his heart for his late former wife.
"My fiancee knows how I felt about that woman," Brown said. "My kids know how I feel ... how I felt about Whitney. It's not a secret, you know? I was in love with her deeply."
Did what Bobby Brown said change your opinion of him and his relationship with Whitney Houston? Discuss on Facebook.