Whitney Houston’s sudden death in 2012 left the world in mourning. The Grammy-winning singer, who was just 48 years old when she died, was laid to rest in a private ceremony at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, on February 19, 2012.
Music legends Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder performed music at the service, and several celebrities who were close to the late star delivered remembrances of her, including one of her biggest costars, according to ABC News.
One of the Most Touching Moments During Whitney Houston’s Service Was the Eulogy Delivered by Her ‘The Bodyguard’ Costar, Kevin Costner
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Costner addressed mourners at the service. The actor was a close friend of Houston’s after he played Frank Farmer, a bodyguard hired to protect her character, Rachel Marin, from a stalker in the 1992 film The Bodyguard.
During the gut-wrenching memorial, Costner revealed that Houston’s mega-hit song, “I Will Always Love You” almost didn’t make it into the movie, according to the New York Post
Instead, the original song choice “What Becomes of a Broken Heart,” but it had recently been used in another movie.
“So what becomes of our broken hearts?” Costner asked the audience. “Whitney returns home today, to the place where it all began…”
Costner also revealed that he and Houston had a lot in common
“I know many at this moment are thinking, ‘Really? She’s a girl, you’re a boy. You’re white, she’s black…. So what am I talking about? ‘Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, they don’t have anything in common at all.’ Well, you’d be wrong about that.”
The actor continued with, “We both grew up in the Baptist church… My grandmother played the piano, and she led the choir and her two daughters. My mother and my aunt both sang in it.”
He told the crowd that he shared stories with Houston about his mischievous behavior at church when he was a little boy and that they had a “common bond” when it came to childhoods growing up in the church.
“I can see her in my own mind running around here as a skinny little girl, knowing everyone, everyone’s business, knowing every inch of this place,” he said. “I can also see her in trouble, too, trying to use that beautiful smile, trying to talk her way out of it, and [her mom] Cissy not having any of it.”
Costner then revealed that at the height of Houston’s fame as a singer, he asked her to be his co-star in his film The Bodyguard, but he had people in his ear questioning his choice of the “How Will I Know” singer.
“I was reminded that this would be her first acting role,” he said. “’We could also think about another singer’ was a suggestion.”
He added that while it was “never said out loud,” it was insinuated that “maybe somebody white” or a “more experienced actress” should play the role.
Costner also recalled that Whitney herself was unsure if she was good enough or pretty enough and wondered if movie audiences would like her. But the actor knew from the beginning that there was no one more perfect for the role in the movie that would go on to become one of the highest-grossing films of 1992.
“Whitney if you could hear me now I would tell you, you weren’t just good enough — you were great,” Costner said. “You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was. A lot of leading men could have played my part, a lot of guys could have filled that role, but you, Whitney, I truly believed that you were the only one that could have played Rachel Marin at that time. You weren’t just pretty — you were as beautiful as a woman could be. And people didn’t just like you, Whitney — they loved you.”
At the end of the eulogy, Costner envisioned Houston being escorted to heaven.
“I was your pretend bodyguard once not so long ago, and now you’re gone too soon,” he said. “So off you go, Whitney, off you go . . . escorted by an army of angels to your Heavenly Father. And when you sing before Him, don’t you worry — you’ll be good enough.”
In Addition To Costner, Music Producer Clive Davis, Actor Tyler Perry & Houston’s Cousin, Dionne Warwick, All Spoke At her Funeral Service
Several big-name celebrity friends also paid tribute to Houston with beautiful words at her memorial service.
Clive Davis, the late singer’s first record producer revealed he had waited a “lifetime” for a voice, face, and “presence” such as Houston’s. He also said the late superstar singer never took anything for granted, was never arrogant, and was always “grateful and appreciative.”
Longtime friend Tyler Perry talked about Houston’s faith and “grace” that carried her through her life.
And Houston’s cousin Dionne Warwick revealed that after Houston sold a million copies of her rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ she looked at her and said, “Well, I guess the telephone book is next, huh?”