'I was your pretend bodyguard once… and now you're gone too soon': Kevin Costner delivers heartbreaking eulogy for his friend Whitney Houston
Kevin Costner delivered a moving, often humorous, but ultimately heartbreaking eulogy for his old friend today.
The 57-year-old recalled the close relationship he developed with the late star when they worked together on 1992's smash hit movie, The Bodyguard.
He talked about how much the twosome had in common, despite appearances to the contrary.
'We had more in common than you think': Kevin Costner talked movingly about his friendship with Whitney Houston as he delivered a eulogy for his friend
He started by telling the congregation that the song I Will Always Love You 'almost wasn’t. She was meant to sing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.'
Before adding: '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.'
'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 then recounted stories of his childhood in church that Whitney enjoyed him telling her when they worked together.
'I can see her running around this church as a skinny little girl': Costner obviously found speaking about his beloved friend difficult at times
'You weren't just pretty, you were as beautiful as a woman could be': Costner addressed Whitney, and discussed her fears of not being good enough as a singer
He recalled: 'The church was the centre 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. 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. 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. I can also see her in trouble, too. Trying to use that beautiful smile, trying to talk her way out of it, and Cissy not having any of it,' he added.
Kevin continued: ‘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 having Whitney, a black woman, to play against Kevin Costner.
But he said for him 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 on tour and he felt so strongly about it that he would wait a
year for so she would be available.
Fond memories: Costner recalled how he and Whitney used to share stories about their upbringings around the Baptist church
Protection: Costner seemed sad that he played Britney's bodyguard yet failed to save her in real life
‘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
‘The Whitney I knew despite her worldwide fame, always worried. Am I good enough Am I pretty enough Will they like me’ Costner shared.
‘The part that made her great and the part that made her great was also the part that made her stumble.’
'Only Whitney could've played the part:' Costner admits his role could've been played by anyone but Houston made the film
The real bodyguard: Whitney's protector of eleven years, Ray Watson, spoke after Costner at the funeral
‘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.
‘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.
‘Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father,’ Costner said.
‘When you sing before him. Don’t you worry. You will be good enough.’