“Over the past few days, I’ve tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing. What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words,” he tells Us Weekly in a statement. “The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend.”
The singer also had a special message for the fallen star:
“Nippy, I miss you so much! You were so happy and full of love,” Ray J, 31, says. “Your smile will live in my heart forever.”
Ray J and Whitney’s “friendship” dates back to 2007, when Whitney divorced Bobby Brown. In 2008, Ray J and Whitney were spotted again in Las Vegas at the Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe fight. Even though the media has been pressuring Ray J to fess up about whether his relationship with Houston ever went beyond the platonic, he has always kept the details of their bond private.
“Our friendship is something that people might not understand, maybe because of the age difference, but we’ve always just been friends,” Ray J said. “We hug, we laugh, we go out to dinner. … We talk about, you know, different things in our lives and she’s a cool person,” Ray J told the Insider last Friday.
“We’ve always kept our relationship as private as we could, but when we go out, she’s such an icon, it reaches the masses,” Ray J said. “But, for the most part, we’ve always been friends and we’ve kept everything hush-hush and just quiet and we really don’t focus on that.”