You know I will go anywhere that promises me some Angela Basset and some bonus vintage ANTM (Yaya!). So I'm already all-in for the possibly terrible, hopefully fantastic Whitney Houston Lifetime movie. But I didn't expect to actually learn from this movie — the movie reveals the historical pop culture footnote that Whitney Houston dated Eddie Murphy. Well, sort of — it depends on who you ask. Turns out these two gossip legends, like two ships passing in the night, were actually at their least dramatic when they were spending time together. There was so little drama that the legitimacy of their relationship has come under question, and has been described a few different ways.
Here's what we know for sure: in the mid-1980s, Houston and Murphy met and started spending time together. As two of the most famous people in the world at the time, with their movies, music, and comedy widely quoted, this all took place in the public eye. But the Lifetime movie isn't just about Whitney's life. It's specifically about the evolution of her relationship with Bobby Brown, so it won't spend much time on her relationship, friendship, or however you define it, with Murphy.
But in hindsight, Murphy claims that they weren't really "dating" so much as they were "hanging out," as he says in the interview with Extra below.
As Eddie said in the interview, this was before Whitney came under "bad" influences and before the stress of fame really got to her. Whitney's mother, Cissy, gives a similar account of their relationship in her book, Remembering Whitney, which states that Houston and Murphy were just friends.
Record executive Clive Davis was heavily involved in Whitney's career and their relationship was very close, especially in the '80s and '90s. And he also recalled Houston actually dating Murphy, in an interview with The Grio.
In a 2004 interview with Sister2Sister transcribed by blog Classic Whitney, Houston herself remembered the night she first met Brown, and says she was "going with" Eddie at the time.
Bobby: I just wooed her.Jamie: Wait a minute! How did that happen? Everybody tells a different story about how you all got together.Whitney: I was going with Eddie (Murphy) at the time.Bobby: Yeah, Eddie couldn't handle it.Whitney: Noooo. Shut Up, Bobby. I saw Bobby at a "Soul Train Awards" show.. I'll never forget it. [...] He comes onstage with an all-cream, jersey knit suit on and I said, "He is fly." He and I clicked and you know what I said to myself? I bet he's a good friend. I wanted to be his friend...
So what's the verdict? It seems that the two did date, in that they spent time together and went on dates, but they each classified the relationship differently. Houston seemed to refer to it as a relationship, though a very casual one, in her interview, which David echoes, while Murphy and Houston's mother simply considered them friends who went out sometimes. We'll have to wait and see which version is depicted in Whitney when it premieres on Saturday night at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
Image: Jack Zeman/Lifetime