Bobby Brown: Whitney Divorce Rumors False

01/20/2006 at 08:10 AM EST

Bobby Brown: Whitney Divorce Rumors False
Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston
F.Scott Schafer/Bravo
Bobby Brown is brushing off reports that he and wife Whitney Houston are headed for divorce court. "The rumors are wrong," Brown told PEOPLE on Thursday. "They're false."

Among several recent reports about the couple, New York's Daily News said the R&B singer, 36, was telling friends that he was planning to divorce Houston, 42. (The Atlanta-area based couple have a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, 12). The Daily News also reported that earlier this month Brown was seen with several women backstage at Connecticut's Foxwoods Casino.

Asked by PEOPLE on Thursday how the story started, Brown replied, "I really couldn't tell you. They say I said something about it, but I joke a lot. ... I don't think I said it, but if I did it was a joke. Trust me. ... It's someone that got the words mixed up."

When Houston heard the story, Brown says, "Oh, she called me! She's calling me on a regular basis like, 'Bobby! Did you say this? Did you say that?'"

Brown describes Houston as "definitely upset." As for himself, he says, "There's no way I can be upset, because I didn't say it and I'm not trying to divorce her, and that's the most important thing.

"She's my friend," he adds. "She's the better half of me. They say opposites attract, but we're not opposites. We're one person. We're loving life, and we're just trying to be as good to each other as possible. And we're moving on."

Brown went on to say that, despite his and Houston's admitted drug and alcohol battles and domestic squabbles (two years ago, police charged Brown with misdemeanor battery after he allegedly assaulted Houston in their home): "What's important is that we love each other. It doesn't matter what people say. They want to try to break us down anyway. That's not for us. We're here, and we're gonna be together for a long time, so people can expect us to stay together. ... I'm with my wife for the duration – and that's life."

One place they weren't together was Brown's gig on Thursday, at Toad's Place in New Haven, Conn. "She missed her flight because she had a dental appointment," said Brown, "but ... I will dedicate this show to her."

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