Which—as Today's Matt Lauer pointed out during an interview with Brown, his fiancée and three of his children airing Wednesday and Thursday—would surprise those who have assumed for years that Brown got the diva hooked on drugs.
"It makes me feel terrible," Brown says of being blamed for the habit that ultimately led to Houston's death on Feb. 11 at only 48 years old. "But I know differently."
So, just how skewed, according to Brown, were those assumptions regarding his and Houston's 14-year marriage?
"I think if anyone ever knew us, if anybody ever spent time around us instead of time lookin' through the bubble"—which, for a time, included the reality show Being Bobby Brown—"they would know how we felt about each other. They would know how happy we were together."
"And the reality show gave us a wake-up, because we saw each other in—we looked at the bubble and saw ourselves," Brown, 43, says. "We was able to see what other people were saying about us, you know? We was able to see that our drug use had affected our relationship, had affected the love that we felt for each other."
Brown tells Lauer that he smoked weed and drank beer before meeting Houston, but he "wasn't the one who got Whitney on drugs at all." He doesn't include marijuana and alcohol in his description of the "narcotics" that the couple used during their marriage.
The Bravo show lasted one season in 2005. The couple separated the following year and Houston filed for divorce in October 2006.
Brown says that he was "hurt" when he found out that cocaine use contributed to his ex-wife's death.
"Me being off of narcotics for the last seven years...I felt that she was...I didn't know she was struggling with it still," the new edition singer says. "But at the same time...listen, it's a hard fight. It's a hard fight to, you know, maintain sobriety that way."
He speaks the truth: Though he maintained his innocence after his arrest, Brown pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge last week and was ordered to complete a three-month alcohol program.
Whatever their struggles, the father of 19-year-old Bobbi Kristina Brown says that he has always loved Houston.
"I can honestly say that I love that woman with...everything that I am," Brown says. "And I believe she loved me the same way. We wouldn't have been able to make the most beautiful girl in the world without love. And that's the truth."
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