Kevin Costner refused to shorten his Whitney Houston eulogy at her funeral

Kevin Costner refused to shorten his Whitney Houston eulogy at her funeral

Kevin Costner recently opened up about his unwavering commitment to honoring Whitney Houston during her funeral, revealing that he refused to shorten his eulogy despite external pressures. The actor, who shared a deep bond with Houston after co-starring in the 1992 hit film “The Bodyguard,” reflected on this poignant moment during an appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast.

Costner, now 69, reminisced about the emotional journey of crafting his speech for Houston’s funeral in 2012. He recalled the meticulous effort he put into writing the eulogy, aiming to encapsulate everything he felt needed to be said about his late friend. However, as the funeral approached, he faced a request to cut his remarks short to accommodate commercial breaks for CNN’s broadcast.

“Someone mentioned that CNN was here and they wouldn’t mind if my remarks were kept shorter because they had commercials,” Costner shared. “I told them, ‘They can play the commercial while I’m talking, I don’t care.'”

Costner’s determination to deliver his full tribute was rooted in his desire to honor Houston properly. He emphasized that he needed to say everything he had prepared, resulting in a 17-minute eulogy that he refused to abbreviate. His speech was one of eight delivered at the funeral, which included contributions from Houston’s sister-in-law and manager Patricia Houston, and music legend Dionne Warwick.

The actor’s connection with Houston began when they starred together in “The Bodyguard,” a romantic drama where Houston played a famous singer haunted by a stalker, and Costner portrayed her bodyguard. Their on-screen chemistry translated into a lasting friendship that spanned two decades. Despite their close relationship, Costner initially hesitated to speak at her funeral, only agreeing after encouragement from Warwick.

“I could feel the weight on her, and now it had shifted to me,” Costner recalled. “I thought, ‘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!”

Houston’s contributions to “The Bodyguard” extended beyond her acting role. She co-executive-produced the film and recorded six new songs for its soundtrack, including her iconic cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” The song became one of the best-selling physical singles of all time and won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1994. The soundtrack itself won Album of the Year.

Reflecting on Houston’s impact, Costner noted, “I don’t think we’ll ever forget when that little song came out, and she just blew up. She sang the first part of it a cappella, and musically, the world was never the same. We have a moment of her in that movie we’ll never ever forget, and I think that when movies are working at their best, that’s what can happen.”

Costner’s recent podcast appearance also touched on his current projects, including his self-funded film “Horizon.” The film is part of a four-part Western passion project that spans a 15-year period before and after the American Civil War. The project has garnered significant attention, with Costner receiving a 10-minute standing ovation at the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

In an emotional speech at Cannes, Costner expressed his gratitude for the audience’s reaction to his long-awaited film. He thanked those in attendance for giving him their “precious time” and acknowledged the support of the actors and collaborators who believed in him and continued to work alongside him.

Costner’s dedication to his craft and his unwavering loyalty to his friends, as demonstrated by his refusal to shorten his eulogy for Houston, underscores the depth of his character. His heartfelt tribute to Houston remains a testament to their enduring friendship and the profound impact she had on his life.

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