Some of Whitney Houston’s friends, including gay rights activist Peter Tatchell have said that the singer took to drugs and drinks because she was hiding her true sexuality.
Tatchell even insisted her marriage to Bobby Brown was a smokescreen, and that she was “only really happy” in the 1980s when she was with a “lesbian partner”.
“It’s important to tell the truth about this aspect of her life,” the Daily Star quoted him as saying.
Although the Britain-based Tatchell didn’t say who the partner was, other sources said it was her ex-assistant Robyn Crawford.
Crawford wrote a Valentine’s-themed tribute to Houston hours after she died, saying she could not believe she would never again see her “peachy skin”, feel her hugs or hear her laughter.
Tatchell’s claims were backed by accounts from Houston’s sister-in-law and her ex-bodyguard Kevin Ammons.
Even her former husband has hinted their marriage was a cover-up for her desire for women.
“Whitney was happiest and at her peak in the 1980s when she was with her female partner,” Tatchell said.
“They were so loved up and joyful together. Perhaps her inability to accept and express her same-sex love contributed to her substance abuse and decline,” he added.
His comments sparked a storm of outrage from Whitney fans who branded him a “racist f***” and slammed him for taking a “cheap shot” by “outing” a dead woman, but he stood his ground.
“Colluding with the cover-up of her same-sex relationship is not right.
“She was pressured into the Bobby Brown marriage. It was a disaster. Her life started going downhill soon afterwards,” he said.
The campaigner also praised the star for her work supporting HIV sufferers after he met her at a 1991 gay rights rally in London.
Houston’s closest relatives said they also believed she was gay. Bobby Brown’s sister, Tina Brown, told how Houston had wild sex sessions with women while out of her mind on crack cocaine.
“I saw her with a woman a couple of times,” she said.
She said the singer’s drug habit made her even crazier than usual for sex with girls.
Bobby, 43, wrote in his biography that he was convinced she had a “different agenda”.
“The marriage was doomed from the beginning,” he wrote.
His comments have been taken to be a reference to Houston using the marriage to stop rumours she had lesbian lovers.
Ammons said in his book that the diva had a relationship with her assistant Crawford.
According to him, Crawford slapped Houston when she saw her flirting with men and was furious when she vowed to marry Brown.
He also claimed she paid off ex-publicist Regina Brown to keep quiet about her affair with Crawford.
The former assistant’s tribute to Houston was published in a US magazine barely a day after the 48-year-old’s body was found in a bath at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California. She had taken a cocktail of drugs and booze.
“I first met Whitney when I was 16 and knew right away she was special,” she said.
“Whitney was modelling and had peachy-coloured skin and didn’t look like anyone I’d ever met in New Jersey.
“I can’t believe that I’m never going to hug her or hear her laughter again,” she added.
However, Houston had herself spoken out against the lesbian rumours in 2000.
“I am a mother, not a lesbian. I am not gay,” she had said.