Kevin Costner said he refused to shorten his 17-minute eulogy for Whitney Houston: “I was her imaginary bodyguard.”

Kevin Costner has opened up about his friendship with Whitney Houston, more than three decades after they filmed 'The Bodyguard' together. Costner also spoke about his eulogy for the late singer passed away in 2012 at age 48, he told the “Armchair Expert” podcast that he refused to have his speech interrupted for his friend.

Costner, who not only starred in but also produced the 1992 film, said he saw Houston on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and knew he wanted to cast her in the film, which is about a singer who stalker and falls in love with her. bodyguard.

Costner said the film's director, Mick Johnson, did not want to cast Houston. “She's very smart. That was a movie I probably should have directed. I just thought someone could do it better. But he didn't feel comfortable with her,” he told hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. “She was my choice. So I was the actor. I produced it. I chose her.”

He told Houston she couldn't have an entourage on set, but he promised to take care of her. “And I don't know what it was, but we had a moment and I realized that the world had a higher idea of ​​who we were, so I basically embraced it. I was her imaginary bodyguard,” he said.

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Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in 'The Bodyguard'.

Warner Brothers


Costner said Houston, who already was a powerhouse at that time, but had few acting roles, trusted him. “I started mentoring her, and I tried not to usurp my director. But I made her a promise,” he said, not to the director.

He said he promised Houston and producer Clive Davis that the film would be a hit and that he fought to keep scenes in the film. “The Bodyguard” grossed almost $122 million, according to BoxOffice Mojoand Houston's cover of Dolly Parton's “I Will Always Love You” for the film won several awards, including a Grammy for Record of the Year.

“And that was my promise to her,” Costner said. “She will always love me in the song. I would always keep my promise to her.”

The pair remained friends until Houston's death of an accidental drowning at the Beverly Hilton hotel. Houston was plagued by years of drug abuse and an autopsy report found that there were 'cocaine and metabolites' in her system at the time of her death. Costner said he didn't see her in pain.

Houston's aunt, singer Dionne Warwick, asked him to speak at the memorial service, which he initially declined to do.

Costner said he spent a week writing the speech and when he arrived at the church it felt exciting, but he still didn't feel like he was the right person to give the speech. However, he ultimately decided to do it anyway.

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Kevin Costner delivers a eulogy for Whitney Houston at New Hope Baptist Church.

CBS


But the eulogy almost hit a snag when he learned that CNN, which broadcast the funeral, wanted speakers to keep their remarks short because of commercial breaks. “And I said, they can get over that,” Costner said. “They can play the commercial while I'm talking. I do not give a hoot. But I came here when I didn't feel like, you know, I didn't want to play two minutes.”

The eulogy, he said, lasted 17 minutes. “And you said everything?” Shepard asked.

“That's what I thought I should say,” Costner replied.

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