LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Whitney Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown struck back at claims he was responsible for getting the pop star hooked on drugs or that he somehow played a role in her cocaine-fueled death in February.
"I'm not the one that got Whitney on drugs, at all," Brown said in an interview to be aired this week on the "Today" show on U.S. television network NBC.
"I'm not the reason she's gone," he added.
Houston, 48, was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub on February11 from what authorities called accidental drowning brought on by cocaine use and heart disease. White powder and drug paraphernalia were found in the bathroom where she died.
The singer had spoken publicly about a long battle with cocaine, marijuana and crack, particularly during her tempestuous 15-year marriage to Brown. They divorced in 2007, but some fans and members of Houston's family have blamed Brown for her untimely death.
In his first TV interview since the singer died, Brown, 43, told "Today" show host Matt Lauer that he had been off drugs for seven years and was hurt to hear that Houston had been using cocaine.
"I was hurt ... because, you know, me being off of narcotics for the last seven years - I felt that she was, you know, I didn't know she was struggling with it still. But at the same time, you know - listen, it's a hard fight," he said.
Brown said drugs were part of Houston's life before he met her in 1991. "I smoked weed, I drank the beer, but no, I wasn't the one that got Whitney on drugs at all," he said.
"So this was a part of her life before you and she got together?" Lauer asked.
"Way, way before. Yeah ... 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," Brown replied.
Brown said Houston had a "glow about her" when he last saw her about a week before she died. He was at a restaurant having dinner with their daughter, Bobbi Kristina.
"She just looked like she was in a good place," he said about the "I Will Always Love You" singer.
The interview will be aired on "Today" show on Wednesday and Thursday.
Brown turned up for Houston's funeral in New Jersey but left before the service started saying he felt unwanted and disrespected.
Six weeks after Houston died, Brown was arrested and charged in Los Angeles with drunk driving and driving on a suspended license. Brown has pleaded not guilty.
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant)