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A best friend is usually someone who can finish your sentences, and make you smile when you want to cry. For Whitney Houston,that person was her best friend Robyn Crawford. PEOPLE, describes Crawford as “Whitney’s gatekeeper, closest confidante, and most loyal protector.”

But, in the 1980s the pair were also romantically involved. Something she has never spoken about until now.

In her new memoir A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston, Crawford, 58, is finally sharing her story, including their love story.

Seven years after Houston’s tragic death, she says, “I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent.”

The pair met as teenagers while working at a summer camp in 1980. They were immediately drawn to each other, and Crawford promised her, “I’m going to look out for you.”

And that’s exactly what she did for the next two decades.

“We wanted to be together,” says Crawford, “and that meant just us.”

Houston ended the physical part of their relationship soon after she signed a record deal with Clive Davis at Arista.

“She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us,” says Crawford, “and back in the ’80s that’s how it felt.”

Their closeness fueled speculation about Whitney’s sexuality for several years.

“Whitney knows I loved her and I know she loved me,” Crawford told PEOPLE. “We really meant everything to each other. We vowed to stand by each other.”

She hopes by her book can set the record straight about who Houston truly was.

“I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship,” Crawford says.

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