Whitney Houston Funeral: Singer Laid to Rest

Houston was buried next to her father in New Jersey.

ByABC News
February 19, 2012, 7:15 AM

Feb. 19, 2012 — -- Singer Whitney Houston was laid to rest this morning in a private burial service in Westfield N.J.'s Fairview Cemetery.

She was buried next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003.

A small procession of limos followed the hearse carrying her casket as it headed toward the cemetery with a police-escorted motorcade.

The actually site where Houston was buried cannot be seen by any of the media on the ground.

The burial follows a nearly four-hour "home going" ceremony Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.

Houston's mother Cissy Houston and her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, were joined by mourners at the invitation-only service.

"I never told you that when you were born, the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long," Cissy Houston wrote in the funeral program, The Associated Press reported Saturday. "And I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years."

There were musical tributes from some of the biggest names in the industry including Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys.

The audience included the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey.

A tearful Alicia Keyes remembered how Houston would reach out to young artists.

"[She] made us feel strong and capable and loved," Keyes said before she sang.

Aretha Franklin, who had been confirmed as a performer, said Saturday she would not sing at Houston's funeral. "Unfortunately I had terrible leg spasms and locked leg muscles," Franklin said in a statement. "My heart goes out to my dear friend Cissy, Dionne, Bobbi Kristina and the rest of the family. "

Houston's longtime friend and the man who jumpstarted her career, Clive Davis, said a talent like Houston's was rare.

"You wait for a voice like that for a lifetime. You wait for a face like that, a smile like that, a presence like that for a lifetime," he said. "When one person embodies it all, it takes your breath away."

During the service, Kevin Costner remembered his "The Bodyguard" co-star as someone who shared the same interests and values. Both grew up in the Baptist church, a bond he said they shared over the years of their friendship.

Costner recalled Houston's nervousness when she had to do a screen test for the role of singer Rachel Marron in the movie.

"The Whitney I knew was still wondering if I'm good enough. Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?" he said. "It was what made her great, and what caused her to stumble at the end."

One person conspiciously absent at the service was Houston's ex-husband, Bobby Brown.

Brown made a brief appearance at the funeral. He touched the casket and then left with his children Landon and LaPrincia at the start of the ceremony.

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."

Brown had had spent much of the week with his daughter with Houston, Bobbi Kristina, who was hospitalized for stress and anxiety after Houston's death on Feb. 11.

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 didn't want Brown to attend the funeral, they had no way to stop him because of his connection with Bobbi Kristina.

At the end of the nearly four-hour long funeral, Whitney Houston's rendition of "I Will Always Love You" played, as her mother Cissy led her casket out of the church. Bobbi Kristina followed.