The late singer Whitney Houston was at her happiest in the 1980s when she was with a “female partner”, human rights activist Peter Tatchell said today.

Mr Tatchell wrote: “Whitney Houston RIP. She was happiest and at her peak in the 1980s, when she was with her female partner. They were so loved up and joyful together.

“It’s important to tell the truth about this aspect of her life. Colluding with the cover-up of her same-sex relationship is not right.”

Rumours of gay relationships were denied by Houston, who died on Saturday aged 48.

She was married to Bobby Brown from 1992 to 2007.

The Daily Beast reports Houston saying about a rumoured relationship with her personal assistant in 1987: “My mother taught me that when you stand in the truth and someone tells a lie about you, don’t fight it. I’m not with any man. I’m not in love. People see Robyn with me, and they draw their own conclusions.

“Anyway, whose business is it if you’re gay or like dogs? What others do shouldn’t matter. Let people talk. It doesn’t bother me because I know I’m not gay. I don’t care.”

Mr Tatchell continued: “I met Whitney and her partner at the Reach Out & Touch HIV rally in London in 1991, organised by Vernal Scott. Whitney spoke very movingly in support of people with HIV, at a time when many other stars kept their distance.

“She was pressured into the Bobby Brown marriage. It was a disaster. Her life started going downhill soon afterwards.

“Perhaps her inability to accept and express her same-sex love contributed to her substance abuse and decline?

“Whitney’s death is a tragic loss of a great vocal talent.”

In 2009, Houston’s former sister-in-law said the singer had had cocaine-fuelled gay encounters.

She had said she was making the claims in order to help the late musical legend overcome a drug habit.