Brown sat down with Robin Roberts for 20/20
on Tuesday, and the "My Prerogative" singer was very open about his and Houston's drug and alcohol abuse problems, and blamed their youthful fame and fortune for starting them down a dark path.
"At such a young age for us both to have any and everything that we wanted was both a blessing and a curse," Brown shared.
According to the 47-year-old musician
, the couple's drug use was at its height during "the last few years of our marriage."
"It was terrible. Both of us, you know, trying to be clean, or one of us trying to be clean and the other one don't wanna be clean. It's a big struggle," he explained.
After struggling with sobriety for years, Brown says he has been drug free for over a decade, but still has a number of demons that he's battling. "I'm clean from narcotics, yes. I haven't done narcotics in 10 to 12 years," he said, adding, "Alcohol has been a problem."
"I go back often to reboot, but s**t, that's life. Everybody drinks. Sometimes I drink," Brown admitted.
Brown was candid about his substance abuse issues, but denied that he was ever abusive towards his late ex-wife.
"They've said that, you know, I've harmed Whitney. That I was violent towards her," he recounted. "It was just lies. I've never been a violent man towards a woman. Ever."
However, in Brown's upcoming memoir, Every Little Step, the singer confessed that he did hit Houston once during their marriage.
Brown confirmed the account in the interview, telling Roberts that the incident occurred while Brown was trying to battle his substance abuse issues. "Me, at the time, trying to maintain [my] sobriety [while] the person that you're in a relationship is not going along with it... it was rough," he recounted.
The famous couple met at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989 and sparked a romance two years later, eventually tying the knot in July 1992. In March 1993, they welcomed Bobbi Kristina
, their only child together.
Their scandal-plagued marriage came to an end in 2006, when Houston filed for separation and later, divorce. The split was finalized in April 2007, with Houston getting full custody of Bobbi Kristina
, who was then 14 years old.
According to Brown, the marriage crumbled because of Houston's refusal to get sober and stop using drugs. "She just wasn't ready to go that direction," Brown said.
Brown also claims to have not gotten any money from their divorce, and denies claims that he was secretly after the beloved singer's fortune from the start of their relationship.
"I've been rich since I was 17," said Brown, who formed R&B group New Edition with his childhood friend at the age of 9. "I came into the marriage with money. I left the marriage with nothing."
On Feb. 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in a hotel room bathtub
at the Beverly Hilton at the age of 48. On Jan. 31, 2015, Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive in a bathtub at her home in Atlanta, Georgia. After spending almost six months in a coma, Bobbi Kristina died
on July 26. She was 22.
In the emotional interview, Brown spoke candidly about the couple's drug use, revealing that the first time Houston offered him cocaine was before the two tied the knot in the backyard of Houston's New Jersey mansion. Brown argued, "It wasn't me that started her [on drugs]."