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Entries in Whitney Houston (66)

Monday
Feb272012

Bodyguards Protect Whitney Houston's Grave Site

Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A 24-hour armed guard is reportedly keeping watch over Whitney Houston's grave site in New Jersey to protect it from thieves. 

According to UK tabloid the Daily Star, family and friends of Whitney are concerned that criminals will target her coffin following reports that she was buried wearing designer clothing and jewelry worth an estimated $500,000. 

"There is a very genuine fear that her coffin will be targeted by grave robbers," a source tells the paper.  "It would be hard for them to actually dig her casket up, but that won't stop psychotic fans or people who think it could make them money."

The source adds, "It’s ironic that Whitney, who was most famous for The Bodyguard movie when she was alive, has to have bodyguards even in death."

Police told The Star-Ledger that fans hoping to pay a visit to Whitney's final resting place at a Westfield, New Jersey cemetery this week were met by closed gates. Fairview Cemetery closed Monday, and on Tuesday, two off-duty police officers were only admitting people with family or loved ones buried there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Whitney Houston Open Casket Photo: Has Tabloid Gone Too Far?

Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- The National Enquirer has published a photo of Whitney Houston in an open casket on the cover of this week’s issue, sparking outrage over whether the tabloid has finally gone too far.

The unauthorized picture, accompanied by the headline “Whitney: The Last Photo,” shows Houston lying in a gold coffin with cream-colored lining accentuated with her childhood nickname, “Nippy,” and music symbols. Houston is wearing a purple dress, a broach and earrings.

According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, the Enquirer claims the picture was taken at the private viewing held at Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., last Friday, on the eve of Houston’s funeral. The Enquirer did not reveal who took the picture, and there was no credit on the photo.

The image has provoked a strong reaction on Twitter. “No privacy for Whitney, even in death,” one person tweeted. “Disgusting,” tweeted another.

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More than 1,000 friends and relatives, including Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner, and Tyler Perry gathered for the funeral service for the pop star at her childhood church, New Hope Baptist in Newark.

Houston’s lifeless body was found in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel the night before the Grammy Awards. She was 48 years old when she died.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb222012

Will Bobby Brown Release Book About Whitney Houston?

Sandra Rose/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- With Whitney Houston's death still fresh in fans' minds, her ex-husband may try to revive a memoir he worked on years ago.

An unnamed publisher tells The Huffington Post that Bobby Brown shopped a tell-all book in 2008 but didn't draw much interest at the time.

However, the publisher says, "Now is the time for a book that details an honest look into the life of Whitney."

A friend of Houston's believes Brown would want to write a memoir just so he can make some money.  However, The Huffington Post speculates that Brown might not go ahead with the project out of consideration for the ex-couple's teen daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

The report also states that he signed a confidentiality agreement when he divorced Houston.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb212012

Mariah Carey Remembers Whitney Houston on 'Good Morning America'

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mariah Carey was among the first to tweet a heartfelt eulogy for Whitney Houston a week ago when the singer passed away, and Carey later canceled an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America because she said she was still mourning for her late friend.  After attending the star's funeral on Saturday, Mariah finally made her appearance on Good Morning America Tuesday, during which she spoke about Whitney.

At first, she declared herself "almost incapable of talking about this, still," but then, she told ABC's Robin Roberts, "We all loved her. We were all inspired by her, and we all loved her. May she rest in peace, and her legend's gonna go on forever."

Asked what it was like to work with Whitney on their hit duet "When You Believe," Mariah said, "It was great and I don't think people could ever understand our relationship. There was always this supposed rivalry in the beginning, and then we did the duet and we became friends. I saw her toward the end and...I loved her."  Mariah later tweeted a link to a YouTube video featuring a montage of her and Whitney singing together.

Carey also talked about her husband Nick Cannon, who recently announced plans to quit his radio show after struggling with health issues that included kidney failure and blood clots in his lungs.  "Nick is doing well," said Mariah.  "The best thing, I think, was the choice that he made to leave the radio show and just focus on [America's Got Talent] and Up All Night."

She added, "The thing is, he's a young, healthy person and it's about changing the lifestyle...it's just a lifestyle choice, and an awareness of what can really happen to you no matter how young or in great shape you are   So I think he's gonna, like he always does, turn something that happened into a positive thing."

Mariah also revealed that she's working on some new music -- specifically, she mentioned a song that she wants to get done next week. "It just happened and I feel like it's appropriate for the moment right now," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb212012

Whitney Houston Dresses Headed for Auction

Kevin Mazur/AMA2009/WireImage(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) -- Several dresses that belonged to the late Whitney Houston will go on the auction block in late March.

Julien's Auctions, based in Beverly Hills, has announced that its "Hollywood Legends" auction will also include earrings that Houston wore while shooting her 1992 film The Bodyguard.

Though Houston died just over a week ago, Darren Julien, the owner of Julien's Auctions, says the timing of the sale is a coincidence.

He says, "This is an auction that we've been planning for over six months, so some of the items we've had in our auction and consigned to us prior to her passing."

He says the items in the auction from The Bodyguard set were consigned by an anonymous person who worked with Houston on the movie.

Julien expects the dresses to raise at least a couple of thousand dollars each.  Other items in the auction are expected to fetch much more than that -- for example, a Batman costume from the 1992 film Batman Returns is expected to bring in between $60,000 and $80,000.

The "Hollywood Legends" auction will also feature items connected to Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, and Charlton Heston, among others.  The live/online auction will be held on March 31 and April 1.

Julien says his company will auction off more Houston items in the future.

He says, "We have over 50 requests from people wanting to consign other items, but it's past our catalog deadline, so we'll put those in a future auction."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb202012

Whitney's Daughter Bobbi Kristina to Spend Time with Family

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Now that Whitney Houston has been laid to rest, sources say her daughter Bobbi Kristina will be spending time with family and friends as she as deals with the loss of her beloved mother with whom she was incredibly close.

Denise Council, who attended the ceremony at New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday told People that during the ceremony "Bobbi Kristina broke down, but she was good. She was up in the front row ... and (did) pretty good, all considering."

Council added that Houston's mother Cissy was "wonderful."

One of the more moving moments of the weekend was the image of Bobby Kristina hand in hand with her grandmother, Cissy Houston, entering the Newark funeral home on Friday to say goodbye to Whitney Houston privately.

It was the first time the 18-year-old had been seen since her mother was found dead on Feb. 11.

The only child of Houston and singer Bobby Brown had been in Los Angeles with her mother to attend pre-Grammy festivities and was staying at the Beverly Hilton Hotel when Houston was found dead in her hotel room.

Whitney Houston's brother-in law, Billy Watson, told ABCNews.com that Bobbi Kristina was "doing OK" after she "broke down" the weekend Houston died and had to be taken to the hospital twice for stress and anxiety.

Bobbi Kristina spent some time with her father in California before returning to New Jersey for her mother's funeral.

"My daughter Bobbi-Kristina is doing much better," Bobby Brown said in statement last week. "We continue to provide love and support to Bobbi-Kristina. She is dealing with the tragedy of her mother's death and would prefer to do it outside of the public eye. I ask again that our privacy be respected."

On the family's reality-TV show, Being Bobby Brown, it was Bobbi Kristina Brown who often acted more like the parent in the often-erratic relationship between her mother and father.

Sources close to the family say that Houston's well-known battles with addiction were also a heavy burden for her daughter to bear.

"It's very common, when a parent has an addiction, for the child to be parentalized," Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's Dr. Drew, told ABC News. "It's almost a survival mode to try and control and maintain that addictive parent safely, the child takes on the role of parent or parents."

Bobby Brown has denied that Bobbi Kristina has used drugs.

After the National Enquirer published photographs in May that appeared to show Bobbi Kristina snorting cocaine, her father Bobby Brown told ABC News Now, "I don't know anything about that. My daughter, she doesn't, she doesn't do that."

Bobbi Kristina Brown also defended herself on Twitter a day after the photos came out, saying she was "set up" by a money-hungry ex-boyfriend because of "a horrible relationship that went sour."It's really not what it looks like," she wrote.

The Daily Beast reported that after Saturday's funeral service, Bobbi Kristina disappeared for several hours leading, to panic in the Houston family. Cissy Houston was reportedly "beside herself."

According to the report, "there was some confusion about Bobbi Kristina's whereabouts last night for a short time, but she's OK," a Houston family spokesperson told The Daily Beast. "She needed some time alone."

The spokesperson added that Bobbi Kristina isn't on drugs and is just emotionally fragile at this time. "She is going through a very hard time as you can expect."

Brown, an aspiring singer herself, posted a video in September of her singing acapella Adele's Someone Like You on her Twitter page.

Despite her rich musical lineage the road ahead musically could be tricky.

"There is no way people are not going to compare her to her mother -- not to Rihanna, to her mother -- and if she doesn't sound on par with her mother or better, people are going to say horrible things," Billy Johnson Jr., a senior editor at Yahoo! Music, told ABCNews.com. "The public scrutiny is so great.

"I would encourage her to take her time," Johnson said. "People said the same thing about Michael Jackson's children. She needs to sort out things in life a little bit more before rushing into this adult world.

"I think she's already dealing with a lot," he told ABCNews.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb192012

Bobby Brown Performs on Stage after Whitney Funeral

Sandra Rose/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just hours after the funeral of his ex-wife Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown was on the Mohegan Sun Arena stage, resplendent in white jacket, black vest, black pants and a black hat, performing with New Edition for a cheering crowd.

Brown thanked the crowd for keeping his spirits up.

“Blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. I love you,” he said, and pointed his finger in the air.

Brown left Whitney Houston’s funeral at Newark, N.J.’s New Hope Baptist Church shortly after the service began on Saturday.

In a statement put out by his representative, he explained, “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston.  We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions.

“I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us and no one else to move,” he said.  “Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi-Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene. My children are completely distraught over the events. This was a day to honor Whitney. I doubt Whitney would have wanted this to occur. I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb182012

Kevin Costner Remembers His Friend Whitney Houston

RDA/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Kevin Costner’s tribute to Whitney Houston at her funeral played out like a Hollywood blockbuster: It made them laugh, cry, stand up, and cheer. He shared many anecdotes about Houston in his nearly 20-minute long speech, the most touching of which was probably recounting how he fought for her to be in their movie, The Bodyguard.

“I thought she was the perfect choice but the red flags came out immediately,” he said. “I was reminded that this would be her first acting role. You could also think about another singer, was the suggestion — maybe somebody white. Nobody ever said it out loud, but it was a fair question, it was. There would be a lot riding on this. Maybe a more experienced actor was the way to go.”

“I told everyone that I had taken notice that Whitney was black,” Costner said. “The only problem was that I thought she was perfect for what we were trying to do.”

He ended up postponing the movie for a year so that Houston could wrap up her tour and star in it. But once filming started, Costner said, her insecurities took over.

“Arguably the biggest pop star in the world didn’t think she was good enough,” he said, recounting tears on the set as Houston questioned her makeup and voice.

“Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you, you weren’t just good enough, you were great,” he said. “You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was. A lot of leading men could’ve played my part … but you, Whitney, I truly believe you were the only one who could’ve played Rachel Marron at that time. You weren’t just pretty; you were as beautiful as a woman could be. And people didn’t just like you Whitney, they loved you.”

He offered advice on behalf of Houston to her daughter and millions of other aspiring singers.

“To you, Bobbi Kristina, and to all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, thinking that maybe they aren’t good enough, I think Whitney would tell you, guard your bodies,” he said. “And guard the precious miracle of your own life. Then sing your hearts out. ”

He choked up towards the end. “Off you go Whitney, off you go,” he said. “Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him, don’t you worry. You’ll be good enough.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb182012

Stars To Attend Houston's Homegoing Service

Kevin Winter/WireImage(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Whitney Houston’s casket arrived at Newark, N.J.’s New Hope Baptist Church today while mourners began streaming into the church in preparation for the star’s 12 p.m. funeral.

The singer will be buried Sunday in Westfield N.J.’s Fairview Cemetery. She will be laid to rest next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003. Media will be able to start setting up at 6 a.m. Sunday and arrangements for street closures have been made.

The Saturday event will be a “going home service,” which is more upbeat than a traditional funeral.

On Friday night, members of Houston’s family and inner circle were seen getting out of gold limousines for a private viewing at a funeral home. Among them were Bobbi Kristina, Cissy Houston and Clive Davis.

Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, is expected to attend. Brown performed in Maryland Thursday night and is scheduled to perform in Connecticut following the Saturday service.

He was by the side of his daughter with Houston, Bobbi Kristina, for much of this week. She was hospitalized for stress and anxiety after Houston’s Feb. 11 death.

“My daughter Bobbi Kristina is doing much better,” Brown said in an email statement to ABCNews.com Tuesday. “We continue to provide love and support to Bobbi Kristina. She is dealing with the tragedy of her mother’s death and would prefer to do it outside of the public eye. I ask again that our privacy be respected.”

One of Houston’s family members told ABC News that while many people in the family don’t want Brown to attend the funeral, they can’t stop him because of his connection with Bobbi

Houston’s record producer from the start of her career, Clive Davis, will speak also eulogize the singer.

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger reported that Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby will attend, along with the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Others confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe and CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Brandy and Ray J, the singer Houston was rumored to be in a relationship with before her death on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb182012

Whitney Houston Broke Racial Barriers

Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Family and friends will say their final goodbyes to Whitney Houston on Saturday.

In 1981, Houston became one of the first black models to grace the cover of Seventeen magazine.

Music producer Clive Davis molded her into a cross-over music sensation, and Houston still holds the Billboard record for the most consecutive No. 1 hit singles — seven in a row from 1985 to 1988.

Along with Michael Jackson, she helped open the door for a generation of black artists with landing music videos on MTV.

“Whitney really transcended race,” said Jess Cagle of Entertainment Weekly. “She was Whitney. You really didn’t think of her as a black singer. You really didn’t think of her as a black actress. You really just thought of her as Whitney.”

Houston was catapulted into mega stardom on the silver screen in 1992 after landing a leading role in the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard, starring opposite actor Kevin Costner.

The film was originally slated to star Diana Ross and Ryan O’Neal, but after Costner was tapped for the roll, he insisted he needed Houston as his co-star.

In a 2002 interview with World News’ Diane Sawyer, the singer described how terrified she was to do The Bodyguard.

“Scared to death, terribly frightened,” she said. “I mean, Kevin Costner, I said, ‘why me?’ He said, ‘because you’re the only one that can sing.’”

Houston’s film debut was an enormous hit, and The Bodyguard, which grossed over $400 million after its release, became famous for the star’s signature ballad, I Will Always Love You and the dizzying shot of the long, unforgettable kiss shared between Houston and Costner.

At the time, a black woman and a white man sharing such a tender moment together on the big screen sparked widespread discussion about interracial issues.

“It was interesting that The Bodyguard also came out the year of the Rodney King riots, when tension between the races was very much in the news and very much a concern of everyone,” Cagle said. “Then there was The Bodyguard, it was an interracial romance. There was no discussion about it. It was a monster hit. People loved it. People loved those two stars. For anyone to say that there was a problem with the interracial romance made you look stupid. It made you look completely out of step with the rest of the culture.”

Of course, there had been other films that bridged this racial divide, including the groundbreaking and first ever interracial kiss in a movie in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and many subsequent kisses with actors Wesley Snipes and Laurence Fishburne, to name a few. But those movies made interracial love their pivotal plot points, whereas The Bodyguard seemed to blur race.

“I don’t think it’s a milestone that a black person and a white person made a movie together,” Houston said of the film in the 2002 interview. “I think for people to look at this color-blind is a milestone.”

 

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