Kevin Costner Says He Agreed to Speak at Whitney Houston's Memorial After Getting a Call from 'Broken' Dionne Warwick |

Kevin Costner Says He Agreed to Speak at Whitney Houston’s Memorial After Getting a Call from ‘Broken’ Dionne Warwick

Kevin Costner delivered beautiful remarks at Whitney Houston’s funeral, but he says he only agreed to do it after getting a call from Dionne Warwick.

via People:

Although he and Houston, who died at age 48 on on Feb. 11, 2012, had developed a close bond while shooting their hit 1992 film The Bodyguard, Costner initially opted to grieve his friend privately.

Until Dionne Warwick called.

“Whitney was certainly so worthy to talk about, but it’s not my first instinct to go out there, to rush to the mic,” the Academy Award winner, 69, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “But I got a call from Dionne Warwick and I could tell in her voice she was broken. I said yes to her when I had been saying no all week.”

“I heard in her voice how tired she was, how many decisions she was probably having to make, who would speak, who wouldn’t speak,” Costner continues. “She goes, ‘Kevin, can I ask you?’ and I [just] said, ‘Yes.’ “

But he immediately had second thoughts.

“I’m thinking, ‘Why am I speaking? I just was her imaginary bodyguard,’ ” he says, allowing that he’d made “a promise to protect” Houston during the shoot.

“I didn’t read the tea leaves correctly, how much it meant to other people,” he explains.

Costner recalls being deeply moved by his experience at the memorial, held at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.

“I remember being in the pews, and I had never been in a church that was more electric,” he says. “Two bands were playing … I thought this place was on fire.”

When someone informed Costner he might want to keep his speech short since “CNN’s covering this,” he bristled.

“I said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize CNN was here, but they can take a commercial break,’ ” the actor tells PEOPLE. ” ‘I’m going to say what I want to say. I came a long way to talk about this little girl.’ “

Before he took the stage to deliver what would be a heartfelt 17-minute eulogy, Costner says nerves kicked in. “I remember looking back and seeing Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey … I think they were sitting together, and I went, ‘Can you do my speech?’ ” he recalls.

“I really wanted them to do it. I didn’t want to go up, but I did,” Costner adds.

We’re happy Dionne made that call. It was a touching moment we’re sure Whitney loved from above.

Share This Post