Kevin Costner Shares Why He Didn’t Want to Give the Eulogy at Whitney Houston’s Funeral

More than 20 years later Kevin Costner starring opposite Whitney Houston in the classic 1992 film, The bodyguardThe 69-year-old recalls his relationship with the late singer and his infamous eulogy in their funeral 20 years after they met.

During a new appearance on Dax Shepard and Monica Padman Armchair expert podcastCostner recalled his time with Houston, who was just 29 when the film hit theaters in November 1992. The romantic drama, in which Houston played a famous singer with a stalker who falls in love with her bodyguard, played by Costner , received mixed reviews, but was a huge success at the box office, grossing $410 million worldwide.

“She was my choice,” says the two-time Oscar winner. “So I was the actor, I produced it and I cast her.”

Costner claims that director Mick Johnson was “uncomfortable” with Houston as the lead, but Costner was determined to have the singer make her film debut in the film.

“Listen, the first girl I thought was pretty was Diana Ross. I saw her in The Ed Sullivan Show and I thought, ‘Fuck yeah, let’s go, that’s nice.’ And I’m like 10 years old. “I know what’s pretty,” he tells Shepard and Padman. “She loved her, so she’s not a giant mystery. “I knew then that she should be the one.”

Kevin Costner remembers his friendship with the late Whitney Houston, with whom he starred in 1992’s ‘The Bodyguard’.Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Costner says Houston “trusted him” in a way he never did with anyone else on the production. “I started mentoring her and I wasn’t trying to usurp my director, but she had made a promise to him,” she shares. “I had promised Whitney that I would be good in it… We had this movie that worked and that was my promise to her. She will always love me in the song and I will always keep my promise.”

The bond between Costner and Houston remained close over the years, to the point that the actor was called to deliver a eulogy at his public monument in February 2012.

The actor tells Shepard and Padman that he initially did not want to speak at the funeral, and it was only at Dionne Warwick’s urging that he accepted the invitation to eulogize his dear friend.

“I just said yes. I could feel the weight on her, now it’s passed on to me. What am I going to say about this girl? And (then) I went back to that church in Newark and it was full,” he recalls. . “It was electric. There were two bands playing, the church was alive. It was like a boom!”

Costner admits that he didn’t feel qualified to give the speech, joking that he saw Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer in the crowd and wanted to ask them if they would give the speech for him.

Kevin Costner with the late Whitney Houston and his wife, Cindy Costner, at the premiere of ‘The Bodyguard’ in 1992.Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

“I had been working on this speech… I tried to compile everything I wanted to do and finally put together this speech,” he says. “Someone said, ‘CNN is here, you wouldn’t mind if your comments were shorter because they’re going to have commercials.’ And I said, ‘You can get over that. You can play the commercial while I’m talking, I don’t care.'”

“And I started and about 17 minutes later I finished,” Costner adds, saying he felt like he had said everything he “needed to say” in those minutes.

Costner was one of eight speakers at Houston’s funeral. In his moving and widely praised eulogyrecalled that “I Will Always Love You” was not originally intended to be on The bodyguard” since the first option was “What happens with a broken heart.”

“So what’s up with our broken hearts?” she asked. “Whitney returns today to the place where it all began, and I urge all of us, at home and abroad, across the country and around the world, to dry our tears, suspend our pain – and perhaps our anger – long enough, just long enough to remember Whitney’s sweet miracle.”

Even more successful was The bodyguard soundtrack, on which Whitney co-produced and recorded six new songs. Her cover Dolly Parton “I Will Always Love You” remains one of the best-selling physical singles of all time, going 18 times platinum, and earned the performer the GRAMMY Awards for Album of the Year and Record of the Year in 1994. He would go on to be named the RIAA’s best-selling Soundtrack Album of the Century.

Speaking with ET on the red carpet of the Oscars 2022Costner recalled his time with Houston: “She was a very smart girl, she knew things.”

“I knew she could handle the role, but she “I wasn’t sure I could handle it,” Costner added. “There came a time when she had to make a decision and I saw that she trusted me and we had it, from that moment on.”

“That was my promise to her, that I would look great and be great,” he added with a smile. The film earned two Oscar nominations, both for Best Original Song, and became an international box office hit.

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