Kevin Costner to give eulogy at Whitney Houston’s memorial

Kevin Costner to give eulogy at Whitney Houston’s memorial

Kevin Costner revealed that after receiving a ‘broken’ call from Dionne Warwick, he agreed to give a eulogy at Whitney Houston’s ‘electric’ memorial. 

The Oscar winner, 69 – who is ‘disappointed’ Yellowstone higher-ups didn’t defend him amid controversy over exit from series – recalled the moment while talking to People on Thursday. 

The I Will Always Love You songstress passed away at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012 due to an accidental drowning – 20 years after both she and Costner starred in the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard. 

Kevin – who was one of eight people who spoke at the memorial held in New Jersey – expressed, ‘Whitney was certainly so worthy to talk about, but it’s not my first instinct to go out there, to rush to the mic.’ 

However, despite wanting to grieve over the loss of his close friend following her tragic death, he explained, ‘I got a call from Dionne Warwick and I could tell in her voice she was broken. I said yes to her when I had been saying no all week.’ 

Kevin Costner to give eulogy at Whitney Houston’s memorial

Kevin Costner, 69, revealed that after receiving a ‘broken’ call from Dionne Warwick, he agreed to give a eulogy at Whitney Houston ‘s ‘electric’ memorial; seen in January in Beverly Hills 

The I Will Always Love You songstress passed away at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012 due to an accidental drowning - 20 years after both she and Costner starred in the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard

The I Will Always Love You songstress passed away at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012 due to an accidental drowning – 20 years after both she and Costner starred in the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard

‘I heard in her voice how tired she was, how many decisions she was probably having to make, who would speak, who wouldn’t speak.’

Warwick – who was a first cousin of Houston – then added, ‘”Kevin, can I ask you?” and I [just] said, “Yes.”‘ 

But the star felt doubts upon agreeing to speak at the memorial. ‘I’m thinking, “Why am speaking? I just was her imaginary bodyguard,”‘ but revealed that he had made ‘a promise to protect’ Whitney while filming. 

‘I didn’t read the tea leaves correctly, how much it meant to other people,’ the Dances With Wolves actor continued. 

Costner notably gave a 17-minute, heartbreaking eulogy at the New Hope Baptist Church seven days after she was found unconscious in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. 

The actor opened up to People about the memorial service, and expressed, ‘I remember being in the pews, and I had never been in a church that was more electric. Two bands were playing…I thought this place was on fire.’

Kevin had initially been asked to cut down his eulogy in order for television networks to air commercials during the service – which Costner refused. 

‘I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize CNN was here, but they can take a commercial break. I’m going to say what I want to say. I came a long way to talk about this little girl.”‘ 

Kevin - who was one of eight people who spoke at the memorial held in New Jersey - expressed, 'Whitney was certainly so worthy to talk about, but it's not my first instinct to go out there, to rush to the mic'; seen earlier this month in NYC

Kevin – who was one of eight people who spoke at the memorial held in New Jersey – expressed, ‘Whitney was certainly so worthy to talk about, but it’s not my first instinct to go out there, to rush to the mic’; seen earlier this month in NYC 

Warwick - who was a first cousin of Houston - then asked, '"Kevin, can I ask you?" and I [just] said, "Yes"'; Warwick and Houston seen in 1990 in NYC

Warwick – who was a first cousin of Houston – then asked, ‘”Kevin, can I ask you?” and I [just] said, “Yes”‘; Warwick and Houston seen in 1990 in NYC 

However, before stepping in front of the attendees at the service, Kevin admitted to feeling anxious. 

‘I remember looking back and seeing Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey…I think they were sitting together, and I went, “Can you do my speech?” I really wanted them to do it. I didn’t want to go up, but I did.’

Last month in June, while appearing on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepherd, he further discussed his refusal to cut down his eulogy. 

‘I had been working on this speech…and I tried to compile everything I wanted to do and finally crafted this speech,’ the star expressed. 

‘Somebody said, “CNN’s here, they wouldn’t mind if your remarks were kept shorter because they’re going to have commercials.” And I said, “They can get over that. They can play the commercial while I’m talking, I don’t care.”‘ 

Kevin – whose passion project Horizon is set to hit theaters on June 28 – also talked about Warwick’s desire for him to speak at the service, and explained, ‘I could feel the weight on her, now it’s shifted to me.’

‘What am I going to say about this little girl? [I] went back to that church in Newark and it was filled. It was electric. There were two bands playing, the church was alive. It was like, boom!’ 

At the beginning of his emotional eulogy, Costner had revealed that the hit song, I Will Always Love You, ‘almost wasn’t. She was meant to sing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.’

Kevin had initially been asked to cut down his eulogy in order for television networks to air commercials during the airing of the service - which Costner refused; seen at the memorial above in 2012

Kevin had initially been asked to cut down his eulogy in order for television networks to air commercials during the airing of the service – which Costner refused; seen at the memorial above in 2012 

'I remember looking back and seeing Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey...I think they were sitting together, and I went, "Can you do my speech?" I really wanted them to do it. I didn't want to go up, but I did'; seen earlier this month in NYC

‘I remember looking back and seeing Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey…I think they were sitting together, and I went, “Can you do my speech?” I really wanted them to do it. I didn’t want to go up, but I did’; seen earlier this month in NYC

‘So what becomes of our broken hearts? Whitney returns home today to the place where it all began.’ 

‘And I urge us all, inside and outside, across the nation and around the world to dry our tears, suspend our sorrow – and perhaps our anger – just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney.’ 

Throughout the eulogy, Costner recalled stories that he would tell Whitney about also growing up in the church. 

‘The church was the center of our social life and Whitney and I would laugh, knowing it was also the place where we could really get into big trouble, especially when you were allowed to sit with your friends and not your parents in the big church.’ 

‘I remember more than once being pulled from the pew for whispering and passing notes,’ he continued.

‘I don’t believe my feet ever hit the floor as my father hauled me outside in front of everyone. I believed even the preacher prayed for me. It was easy for us to laugh. The church was what we knew. It was our private bond…’ 

Kevin later recalled casting Whitney in The Bodyguard and stated Houston, ‘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.’

Kevin later recalled casting Whitney in The Bodyguard and stated Houston, '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'

Kevin later recalled casting Whitney in The Bodyguard and stated Houston, ‘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’

'A lot of men could have played that role. But you Whitney were the only person who could have played Rachel Marron,' he had added at the time; seen earlier this month in NYC

‘A lot of men could have played that role. But you Whitney were the only person who could have played Rachel Marron,’ he had added at the time; seen earlier this month in NYC 

Costner continued, ‘The Whitney I knew despite her worldwide fame, always [was] 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 that 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,’ he emotionally expressed towards the end of his eulogy. 

‘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,' Kevin said; Houston seen in 2009 in L.A.

‘I think Whitney would tell you, little girls wanting to become singers. Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle you have,’ Kevin said; Houston seen in 2009 in L.A. 

The Bodyguard was released in theaters in November of 1992, and became a box office hit, raking in $411 million - while also becoming the second highest-grossing film of that year

The Bodyguard was released in theaters in November of 1992, and became a box office hit, raking in $411 million – while also becoming the second highest-grossing film of that year

‘I think Whitney would tell you, little girls wanting to become singers. Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle you have.’

‘Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father,’ Costner stated. ‘When you sing before him. Don’t you worry. You will be good enough.’

The Bodyguard was released in theaters in November of 1992, and became a box office hit, raking in $411 million – while also becoming the second highest-grossing film of that year. 

The movie’s soundtrack – which included I Will Always Love You – is still the best-selling soundtrack of all time. 

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *