Bobby Brown has urged critics to stop blaming him for his ex-wife Whitney Houston's drug troubles and tragic death, insisting he's "not the reason she's gone".
The New Edition star has long been targeted by fans and members of the media who felt sure he was the man behind Houston's fall from grace, which many believe led to her demise in February.
But, speaking out in his first interview since her passing, Brown claims the singer was using illegal substances "way before" they started dating, and maintains he never tried narcotics before he wed the "I Will Always Love You" hitmaker in 1992.
In a candid chat with Today show host Matt Lauer, Brown, who has been sober for seven years, says, "I didn't get high (on narcotics) before I met Whitney. I smoked weed, I drank the beer, but no, I wasn't the one that got Whitney on drugs at all."
And Brown can't understand why critics want to pin her drug addiction issues on him: "It's just... it's just unexplainable how one could, you know, (say that I) got her addicted to drugs. I'm not the reason she's gone.
"It makes me feel terrible. But you know, I know differently. I think if anyone ever knew us, if anybody ever spent time around us instead of time lookin' through the bubble, they would know how we felt about each other. They would know how happy we were together."
The My Prerogative star also addresses the coroner's findings which named cocaine use as a contributory factor in her death from accidental drowning, revealing he had no idea his ex was still battling her drug demons.
He says, "I was hurt... because, you know, me being off of narcotics for the last seven years (sic), I felt that she was (too)... I didn't know she was struggling with it still. But at the same time, you know, listen, it's a hard fight. It's a hard fight to maintain sobriety that way."
Brown adds that Houston was the picture of good health when he saw her days before her death: "(She) had this glow about her that was just incredible. I'm saying to myself, 'She must be doing really well,' because she looked really well."
The full interview is due to air on Wednesday.