The funeral/Going Home ceremony for the late singer Whitney Houston took place yesterday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ and featured a host of celebrity friends of Whitney paying tribute to her memory and celebrating her life. Among the attendees was Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina, her mother Cissy Houston, her cousin Dionne Warwick, friends Tyler Perry, Clive Davis, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and more. Whitney’s co-star from The Bodyguard, Kevin Costner, was also in attendance and he was asked to speak … and by pretty much all accounts, his eulogy was the most touching, most funny and most loving speech among all of the other touching, loving speeches and tributes. Click below to watch video of Costner’s eulogy for Whitney Houston and see some photos from yesterday’s beautiful funeral service.
The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend. He started by saying: ‘I would like to thank Cissy and Dionne for the honour of being here. Everyone treating my wife and I so gracefully. The song I Will Always Love You almost wasn’t. She was meant to sing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. So what becomes our broken hearts. For a moment we should dry our tears, suspend our sorrow and anger. Never forgot that Cissy and Bobbi Kristina are sitting among us. Your mother and I had a lot in common,’ he said to Bobbi Kristina. ‘He’s a boy, she’s a girl. I’m white, she’s black. You’d think we had nothing in common but we did. We both grew up in a Baptist church. My grandmother led the choir and played the piano.’ Kevin told stories of his childhood in the church that Whitney enjoyed him telling her when they worked together including him ‘drinking grape juice’ in the back of the church. He laughed: ‘I can see her as a skinny girl running around this place, using her smile to get out of trouble and Cissy having enough of it. As I’m sure of Whitney’s place in musical history. I’m also sure of how she felt about her mother. Was she good enough. Could I have done better. Did they really like me or were they just being polite because they’re scared of you Cissy?’ He spoke about how there was initial anxiety about Whitney, a black woman, to play alongside Kevin Costner. He said that there was a sigh of relief when it turned out that Whitney was going to be able to do The Bodyguard because she was going to be one tour. But Kevin said he would wait a year for so she would be available. ‘Whitney was nervous and scared that she wasn’t good enough for the role. But I told her I would be with her every step of the way. I wanted to tell her that the fame was rigged. That I didn’t care how the test went, that she could fall down and start speaking in tongues. That somehow it was a kind of acting method. The Whitney I knew despite her worldwide fame always worried. Am I good enough. Am I pretty enough. Will they like me. The part that made her great and the part that made her great was also the part that made her stumble. A lot of men could have played my role. But you Whitney were the only person who could have played Rachel Marron. People didn’t just like you Whitney. They loved you. I was your pretend bodyguard once. And now you’re gone too soon. What you did was the rarest of achievements. You set the bar so high. That your colleagues don’t even sing that little country song. What’s the point. I think Whitney would tell you, little girls wanting to become singers. Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle you have.’ Fighting back tears he said: ‘Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him. Don’t you worry. You will be good enough.’
I have to be honest … when I first heard that Kevin Costner would be speaking at Whitney Houston’s funeral, I thought … why? Sure the pair worked on a film together 20 years ago but of all the people in the world that could eulogize Whitney, why Kevin? After hearing his speech at yesterday’s funeral, I knew why … because he truly loved and cared for her like not many people could. They shared a very special time together and clearly she had a strong impact on his life. I was quite surprised that it was Kevin Costner — in a church with Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Marvin Winans and the ENTIRE Winans family — that ended up “stealing the show”, as it were. His eulogy was pitch perfect … funny when it needed to be, touching when it needed to be and seriously poignant when it needed to be. His tribute to Whitney Houston was just … beautiful.
Here are some screenshots from the funeral itself:
And here are photos of Whitney’s golden casket being loaded into the hearse after the funeral ceremony was over:
I was unable to watch the multi-hour funeral ceremony yesterday but I did manage to catch the end portion of the ceremony. It seemed like a fitting way to say goodbye to our beloved Whitney Houston. She may be gone from this world but she will never be gone from our hearts and minds. Today, Whitney Houston will be laid to eternal slumber next to her father John Russell Houston, Jr. at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, NJ. Gone but never, ever forgotten.
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