Whitney Houston's Funeral: Stars Expected to Perform, Speak Following Quieter Family Viewing Friday

PHOTO: Whitney Houston performs onstage at the 2011 Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at Beverly Hilton, Feb. 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Share
Copy

Whitney Houston's funeral, following a smaller funeral-home wake tonight, will be a private, invite-only affair -- but it is expected to feature some of the biggest celebrities the late pop icon worked with, including Kevin Costner, and to be viewable remotely by the singer's fans.

Costner, Houston's "Bodyguard" co-star, will speak at the service held at Newark, N.J.'s New Hope Baptist Church starting at noon on Saturday, People magazine reported Thursday. Representatives for Houston and Costner did not respond to ABCNews.com's requests for comment.

Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will sing at the service, and Houston's record producer from the start of her career, Clive Davis, will also speak.

ABCNews.com will stream the services starting at noon Saturday.

Houston's ex-husband, Bobby Brown, has denied reports that he was being barred from the services by Houston's family but has yet to confirm that he will be there.

He has been by the side of his daughter with Houston, Bobbi Kristina, since Sunday. She was hospitalized for stress and anxiety after Houston's Saturday 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."

READ: Top 10 Things You May Not Know About Whitney Houston

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 Kristina.

But it appears that soon after the funeral, he'll strike off on his own. A rep for his band, New Edition, said Thursday that Brown will perform a scheduled concert at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun casino on Saturday night.

On Friday, members of Houston's family and inner circle were seen arriving in gold limousines for a private viewing at a funeral home. Among the wake's attendees were the pop star's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and mother, Cissy Houston, as well as Whitney Houston's mentor, Clive Davis.

The guest list is expected to be even more star-studded for Saturday's service, with multiple celebrities rumored to be attending.

The Star-Ledger newspaper in New Jersey reported Thursday that Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby will be at the services. It also reported that Elton John would attend but John's representatives denied it to ABC News.

The Revs. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton are attending. 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.

Cissy Houston eschewed a big, public memorial at New Jersey's Prudential Center for a faith-focused funeral in the church that launched her daughter's career.

A source close to the family told ABCNews.com that "things changed rapidly" after initial reports that the Houstons were considering putting together a memorial to rival the Staples Center tribute that followed Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

The source said, "This is now a family situation."

Newark Mayor Cory Booker said earlier this week that the city won't be orchestrating a memorial either "in compliance with the family's wishes."

The same funeral home that handled the burial arrangements for Houston's father, John Russell Houston, in 2003, has been chosen to lay her to rest. She will also reportedly be buried next to him at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, N.J.

Watch "One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston," a two-hour "20/20" special, TONIGHT at 9 p.m. ET.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...