Though Houston was beautiful, she didn’t exude sex, the way someone like Angelina Jolie does. She was the perfect African-American woman for prudish America to cling to—very pretty, fresh-faced, and immensely talented. In her early days, scandal never touched her.
Beyond her friendship with Crawford, the lesbian reports were also fueled by supposed sightings of Houston and Kelly McGillis. In the '80s and '90s, McGillis was best known for playing Tom Cruise’s flame in Top Gun. Houston, it was said, regularly visited McGillis in Chicago in 1991 when McGillis was filming The Babe. Then, McGillis was in the closet but rumored to be a lesbian in Hollywood entertainment circles; she came out in 2009.
The rumors about Houston and McGillis dated back to 1988, during the filming of The Accused, leading to one of the more absurd pieces of Hollywood scuttlebutt ever to emerge: that Whitney Houston was part of a love triangle also starring Jodie Foster and McGillis.