"Not true," the R&B singer, 43, tells Matt Lauer in a Today show interview Tuesday, Brown's first since the Feb. 11 death of Houston. "I didn't get high [on narcotics] before I met Whitney. I smoked weed, I drank the beer, but no, I wasn't the one that got Whitney on drugs at all."
Brown insists drugs were already part of Houston's life "way before" their relationship. "It's just unexplainable how one could, you know, [claim that I] got her addicted to drugs. I'm not the reason she's gone."
Expressing the popular sentiment of fans and those "who say they were close to Whitney [that] her life went downhill when she met Bobby Brown," Lauer asks, "How does it make you feel when you hear it?"
Replies Brown: "It makes me feel terrible. But I know differently. I think if anyone ever knew us, if anybody ever spent time around us instead of time lookin' through the bubble, they would know how we felt about each other. They would know how happy we were together."
Last Time He Saw HerHouston and Brown, who says he's now "very much clean and sober from narcotics," were married for 14 years. Their daughter, Bobbi Kristina, is now 19.
The last time Brown saw Houston was a week before her death, as he was having dinner with Bobbi Kristina. "Everything about her was going upward," he says. "She had this glow about her. Incredible. I was thinking to myself, she must be doing very well."
Describing his reaction to hearing that Houston was dead (he learned via a text received by a New Edition band mate, then called his daughter), Brown says, "I was hurt ... because being off of narcotics for the last seven years ... I didn't know she was struggling with it still. But listen, it's a hard fight. It's a hard fight to maintain sobriety that way."
His theory is that Houston's death was attributable to using the day she died, not because of long-term use. "It had to be that one, because that's all it takes," Brown says. "One hit, you know ... it could definitely take your life away from you. And, unfortunately, that was it."
Of his own responsibility as a former husband, one who still loves her, he says, "Maybe I could've done something different to insure she had a longer life. But you have to want it. God probably just wanted her up in Heaven, in the choir."