Jada could relate to guest Robyn Crawford's experience with Whitney Houston, saying it's "hard to love someone who has a legacy" and to "lose them under tragic circumstances."
Jada Pinkett Smith found herself fighting back tears on Monday's new episode of "Red Table Talk" on Facebook Watch, as she and Robyn Crawford compared notes about having love for someone who's struggling in the spotlight.
As Crawford spoke about her romantic relationship with Whitney Houston and her new memoir "A Song for You," Smith continued to bring up her own complex friendship with Tupac Shakur. To Jada, the similarities were startling.
"When you said [the book is] a love letter to Whitney, that resonated as so powerful," Smith told her guest. "It was so healing for me in so many different ways. It's hard to live someone who has had a legacy at the level she has had and then to lose them under tragic circumstances. I have a very similar situation."
While Whitney and Robyn were allegedly intimate with each other, that wasn't the case for Jada and the late rapper. Even so, as Crawford spoke about Houston's possessiveness after they stopped being romantic with each other, Smith could relate.
Recalling how Whitney allegedly confronted her about sleeping with one of her backup dancers, Crawford said the singer tore up an inscription she had written in a Bible she gave Robyn. "She was angrily upset," she said, "She just grabbed it and ripped out the back page and she started tearing it up, ripping it into little pieces."
"That I understood, because of the complex relationship I've had with Pac in those moments of his, 'Who's that?!,' knowing damn well there ain't nothing like that between us," Jada said. "Him feeling like, 'You're the only stability I got, I can't afford for you to put that attention elsewhere.' For him, it was, we were an anchor for each other. Anytime he felt like that anchor was threatened, oh my God."
When Robyn said it wasn't jealously, but Whitney being "possessive and protective," Jada agreed. "It's a lot of things I didn't understand while I was in in with Pac," said Smith.
Talk then turned to Whitney's marriage to Bobby Brown and her downward spiral from there. Robyn said she and Bobby never got into any physical altercations with each other, but claimed he "did get in my face a couple times." She added that he never asked about their relationship and didn't believe Whitney had accidentally cut herself on a piece of flying glass after she returned from her honeymoon with a gash on her cheek.
"The more I saw and heard and the messier it got, I thought she'd get tired of it," Robyn recalled. "Whitney had a lot of pride and a strong will. But every time I thought that would be it, it wasn't."
It was at this point, Robyn walked away from working with Whitney.
"I know the depths of my struggle, having to do it as well," Jada told her, nearly breaking down as she spoke. "Did you have any hope that in you making the decision to walk away that it would change something and what do you think needed to change in order for you to remain?"
Speaking with Howard Stern in 2017, Jada said she and Pac got into a "hardcore" fight before his death, as she feared his life was going into a "a destructive direction." The two weren't speaking when he was killed in September 1996.
"When I made the decision I never once thought or believed I was leaving Whitney," Robyn told Jada. "I needed her to stop and think about herself and look at where we were. It was so many people, she wasn't paying attention, the situation was out of control and I felt like I had done all I could do in the current climate of what Nippy Inc. was at that time."
Crawford expressed shock over how Whitney had died, saying she was a swimmer who loved the water. Her death by drowning in a bathtub was "hard for me to wrap my heart and head around."
The episode ended with Jada asking what Robyn would say to Whitney now, if she were to miraculously appear at the Red Table.
"I would wanna say, you know Nip, you know I love you," expressed Robyn. "And I got you. I will represent. I love that girl like yesterday and she's with me all the time."
Robyn Crawford's memoir "A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston" is out now. See more stories about the book below!