Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown

Gregg DeGiure/WirEImage.com

Whitney Houston's cause of death is still unknown, though that hasn't stopped many from weighing in. And if you listen to some very vocal—and very angry—fans, all the blame could be put on one man: Whitney ex-husband Bobby Brown.

Not so, says a close friend to the late singer, who's known Whitney since before she met the New Edition singer in 1989: "Bobby Brown did not start Whitney Houston on a road that led to her death."

Then what did lead to the super-star's well-documented demise?

"Whitney's death is not Bobby's fault," insisted the Houston source, responding to those allegations that mark Brown as a bad influence and turning point in Houston's life.

"It was Whitney herself," the Houston pal confided. "I think even she has admitted that. And Bobby never forced her to do anything. These were her choices."

Even though it didn't always appear as such.

"All people ever saw," continued Whitney's friend and business colleague "were the drugs, the fighting, Bobby's terrible temper and that horrible reality show."

Meaning Being Bobby Brown, which was arguably the lowest openly self-destructive point in the couple's 14-year marriage. The bickering duo, whose daughter, Bobbi Kristina, often seemed helplessly caught in the crossfire, would attack each other incessantly while the cameras rolled on.

"What people don't know," explained the Houston source, "is that the fighting wasn't just caused by drugs. It really had to do more with Whitney's secrets."

I asked the Houston insider, as well as another friend to the late legend, to elaborate on just what those secrets were. In other words, what was the "biggest devil" that Houston so famously mentioned to Diane Sawyer in 2002?

"That is not for me to say," answered the first Houston source.

The other Whitney friend, who knew the 48-year old performer more socially, would only say:

"This is so very sad. But, I'm sure in a year a book will be written about that very question."

Or sooner.

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