PEOPLE has the first look at Williams’ daytime exclusive interview with Crawford, whose memoir A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston, hits shelves Tuesday. (An excerpt is available in the current issue of PEOPLE.)
During the sit-down, Williams, 55, and Crawford, 58, rehash the expletive-filled 2003 radio interview in which Houston confronted Williams about rumors and gossip, including drug use and financial issues, being reported — at times by Williams — about the singer, who was married to Bobby Brown at the time.
“I’ve never met Whitney, I had never met her,” Williams tells Crawford of Houston, who struggled with drug use and died in 2012 at the age of 48.
“You act like, you talk like you did,” the author retorts.
The TV host recalled her early radio career, reminiscing about speaking with Houston only once for the infamous interview. “I’ve only seen her in concert once and that was at the Beacon Theater in Boston when I was a burgeoning radio star in college radio. … I’ve only talked to her once, and that was on the radio. And that was that interview,” Williams says.
“I heard that interview, I got a call from my former assistant. I wasn’t working with Whitney. And she said Whitney’s going to be on Wendy Williams. I said, ‘What do you mean she’s going to be on Wendy?’ ” Crawford recalls. “That was the cumulative, fed up Whitney Houston that I heard.”
After Williams asks if Houston was “fed up with me or fed up with the world?” Crawford told her, “You had been talking about Whitney and myself for so long,” referring to rumors that she and Houston had been in a romantic relationship.
“But it all came true. A lot of what I said is in this book. A lot of things I said were in this book,” Williams says, noting Crawford’s new memoir in which she finally details their love story.
Crawford further recalls the day she and Houston heard the interview, revealing to Williams that the pair wanted to confront her in person.
“Everyone lived by the radio back then. We’re in the car, you’re talking like you lived with us, like you’re roommates with us. We’re in the car, sitting still and Whitney would say, ‘Who the… who is she? Who is this woman? I don’t even know what she looks like,’ ” she remembers.
“We were gonna… We didn’t know what you looked like and our plan was to go down to Hudson Street … and wait for you right outside,” Crawford tells Williams, who appears shocked. “We weren’t gonna fight, we just wanted to see you face-to-face and have a chat.”
After hearing Crawford’s revelation, Williams says with a sigh of relief: “I’m frightened. Oh my gosh, I dodged that bullet.”
Crawford had never spoken about being the singer’s romantic partner in the early ’80s until now in her new memoir. Seven years after Whitney’s tragic death, she writes, “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.”
During the two decades of Whitney’s rising fame as a global superstar, Crawford was by her side as her closest confidante. “We wanted to be together,” writes Crawford, “and that meant just us.” However, Houston ended the physical part of their relationship soon after she signed a record deal with Clive Davis at Arista.
Williams’ full interview with Crawford airs Tuesday, Nov. 12 on The Wendy Williams Show (check local listings on wendyshow.com).