Jada Pinkett Smith fights back tears during interview with Whitney Houston’s close friend Robyn Crawford

Adam White

Jada Pinkett Smith has recalled her “complex relationship” with the late rapper Tupac Shakur during a conversation with Whitney Houston’s lifelong friend Robyn Crawford.

The actor and mogul, who hosts the Facebook interview series Red Table Talk, fought back tears in the show's latest episode as she recalled her last memories of Shakur, and how reading Crawford’s book on Houston was “healing” for her.

“I read your book,” Pinkett Smith said. “I was in from page one. When you — I don’t want to cry — when you said it’s a love letter to Whitney, that resonated as just so powerful.

“It was so healing for me in so many different ways. It’s hard to love someone who has had a legacy at the level that she has had and then to lose them under tragic circumstances — because I have a very similar situation.”

Pinkett Smith and Shakur both attended the Baltimore School of the Arts in the late Eighties, remaining close friends as their respective careers ascended in the Nineties. They would eventually grow apart shortly before Shakur was murdered in 1996, with Pinkett Smith telling Howard Stern in 2015 that Shakur believed she had changed and “gone Hollywood”.

“When you made the decision to walk away,” Pinkett Smith continued, “I can only... I know the depths of that struggle, having had to do it as well.”

Crawford is the author of A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston, a new autobiography in which she recalls her lifelong relationship with Houston. She confirmed this month that the pair were sexually intimate, before Houston broke off that aspect of their relationship.

They remained close friends throughout the early years of Houston’s marriage to rapper Bobby Brown, before going their separate ways in the late Nineties.

Pinkett Smith’s intimate conversation series Red Table Talk, in which she appears on occasion with mother Adrienne, daughter Willow and husband Will, has been the breakthrough hit of Facebook’s move into original content.

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