Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown denies he got Whitney Houston addicted to drugs, in his first interview since her death

Bobby Brown has hit back at claims that he was responsible for getting Whitney Houston addicted to drugs.

In his first interview since her death in February, Brown told The Today Show's Matt Lauer that he was not to blame for introducing her to the drugs that ultimately led to her death.

He said: "I didn't get high before I met Whitney. I smoked weed, I drank beer, but no, I wasn't the one that got Whitney on drugs at all."

For years, the "bad boy" has been blamed by fans and Houston's family for turning the former church girl on to a life of drugs, including alcohol and cocaine.

But in the interview, the 43-year-old RnB star claimed that drugs were a part of her life "way before" they got together.

The couple, who married in 1993, had a turbulent marriage against a background of reports of drug addiction and domestic violence. They divorced in 2007.

"It's just unexplainable how one could [say that I] got her addicted to drugs. I'm not the reason she's gone," Brown said.

He told his host that he was "very much clean and sober from narcotics," and was hurt when he heard the news of Houston's death.

"I was hurt because me being off of narcotics for the last seven years, I felt that she was... I didn't know she was struggling with it still.

He said battling drug addiction was not easy. "It's a hard fight. It's a hard fight to maintain sobriety that way," he added.

Houston, 48, died on 11 February at the Beverley Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

She was found submerged face down in the bath in her hotel room on the eve of the Grammy Awards ceremony.

A coroner's report confirmed a death of accidental drowning brought on by cocaine use and heart disease. White powder and drug paraphernalia were found in the bathroom where she died.