Crawford revealed never-before-heard details of their romantic relationship in an interview with TODAY’s Craig Melvin that aired Thursday morning ahead of an hour-long special of “Dateline,” titled “A Song for Whitney,” that will air Saturday night.
“We were intimate on many levels. And all I can say is that it was very deep, and we were very connected,” she told Craig.
Crawford is doing media appearances ahead of the debut of her new memoir, "A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston," on Nov. 12. During her discussion with Craig and in her writing, Crawford pulls back the curtain on Houston’s three-decade career and offers her firsthand accounts of the late singer’s triumphs and tragedies.
Crawford said they first met when Houston was just shy of 17.
"Our friendship was a deep friendship. In the early part of that friendship, it was physical," she told Craig. Crawford said no one else knew about the romantic aspect of their relationship.
“It was ours,” she said, adding their physical intimacy stopped just before Houston's rise to fame in the early 1980s.
“And she said, ‘I don't believe we should be physical anymore,’” Crawford said.
“Were you sad? Were you angry? Were you disappointed?” Craig asked.
“I just felt that I wouldn't be losing much," she replied. "I still loved her the same. And she loved me. And that was good enough."
Crawford said she remained best friends with Houston and became her closest confidante in the years that followed.
She said she’s telling her story now because she “felt the need to stand up for our friendship.”
“I never envisioned speaking publicly about my life,” Crawford said. “And then I asked myself the question, ‘What would Whitney want?’ Would she understand, you know, the time is now?”
Craig asked Crawford why people should believe her story, saying others will question her account.
“How do I know (you’re) not making all this up?” he pressed.
“I can't even — I can't even get into that,” she replied. “I mean, some people may feel that way. Hopefully they won't.”
The “Dateline” episode will air Saturday, Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. EST. Crawford will also join TODAY for her first live interview on Monday, Nov. 11.