Kevin Costner refused to shorten eulogy at Whitney Houston’s funeral: ‘They can get over that’

Yellowstone actor Kevin Costner refused to shorten his eulogy at the funeral of his friend and former co-star Whitney Houston, he has revealed.

The 69-year-old became close with the “I Will Always Love You” singer, in a friendship that lasted over 20 years, when he played her love interest in the 1992 hit movie The Bodyguard .

In 2012, Houston died from accidental drowning aged 48. Costner was one of eight speakers at her funeral, which took place that year. Others included her sister-in-law and manager Patricia Houston, and music legend Dionne Warwick.

“I had been working on this speech… and I tried to compile everything I wanted to do and finally crafted this speech,” Costner told Dax Shephard on a recent episode of the actor’s Armchair Expert podcast.

“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,’” recalled Costner.

His eulogy eventually ran to 17 minutes, which he declined to cut short until he had said everything he “needed to say”.

Although initially hesitant to speak at the event, he was eventually persuaded by “Heartbreaker” singer Warwick.

“I could feel the weight on her, now it’s shifted to me,” Costner said. “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!”

Costner and Houston developed a close friendship after they both starred in ‘The Bodyguard’ in 1992 (Getty Images)
Costner and Houston developed a close friendship after they both starred in ‘The Bodyguard’ in 1992 (Getty Images)

Houston co-executive-produced The Bodyguard and recorded six new songs for the soundtrack, which included her Grammy award-winning cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love you”.

Costner has recently been promoting his new self-funded film, Horizon. The film is part of Costner’s four-part Western passion project project, which spans a 15-year period pre and post the American Civil War.


The Dances With Wolves star received a 10-minute standing ovation after the film’s premiere at Cannes Film Festival last month.

In an emotional speech, Costner said he would “never forget” the audience’s reaction to his long-awaited film and thanked those in attendance for giving him their “precious time”.

Costner, who co-wrote, directed and stars in Horizon, called the reception “such a good moment, not just for me, but for the actors who came with me, for people who believed in me, who continued to work”.