Kevin Costner Refused to Shorten His Eulogy at Whitney Houston’s Funeral Just So CNN Could Air Commercials During the Telecast: ‘They Can Get Over That’

Kevin Costner said during an interview on Dax Shepard’s ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast (via Entertainment Weekly) that he refused a request to shorten his eulogy for Whitney Houston just so television networks like CNN could air commercials during the live broadcast of Houston’s funeral. Costner and Houston became lifelong friends after starring together in the 1992 romance blockbuster “The Bodyguard.” Costner was one of eight people who spoke at Houston’s funeral in 2012.

“I had been working on this speech…and I tried to compile everything I wanted to do and finally crafted this speech,” Costner said. “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.'”

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Costner’s eulogy was 17 minutes long, but he was initially hesitant to speak at Houston’s funeral. It was only due to the encouragement of Dionne Warwick that Costner agreed to give a eulogy.

“I could feel the weight on her, now it’s shifted to me,” Costner said about speaking at the funeral. “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 starred in “The Bodyguard” as a former U.S. Secret Service agent who is hired to be the bodyguard for a famous star (Houston) when she is targeted by an unknown stalker. The film grossed $411 million worldwide to become the second highest-grossing movie of 1992, and Houston’s renditions of “I Will Always Love You” and “I Have Nothing” powered the official soundtrack to a Grammy win for album of the year. It remains the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time.

“I don’t think we’ll ever forget when that little song came out, that [Houston] just blew up,” Costner recalled in 2022 about “I Will Always Love You” and Houston’s success after the movie. “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 that and I think that when movies are working at their best, that’s what can happen.”

Houston died in 2012 at the age of 48.

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