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Kevin Costner says he refused to shorten his eulogy for Whitney Houstons funeral

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Kevin Costner was one of only eight speakers at Whitney Houston‘s 2012 funeral, and he recently revealed that he refused to cut his eulogy short, despite being asked to do so.

Appearing on Dax Shepard‘s podcast Armchair Expert, Costner says he was the one who decided that Whitney should star in The Bodyguard, and he promised both Whitney and her manager that she’d be great in the film. Costner says when it didn’t test well with focus groups, he insisted on re-editing the film — and the test scores improved dramatically.

“I was always gonna keep my promise to her,” he says, describing himself as Whitney’s “imaginary bodyguard.”

But despite the fact that he and Whitney were extremely close, he says he didn’t want to speak at her funeral until Dionne Warwick called him and asked him to do it.

“I had been working on this speech … and I tried to compile everything I wanted to do and finally crafted this speech,” he tells Shepard.

In the church ahead of the service, someone told him that CNN was there. As Costner recalls, he was told, “They wouldn’t mind if your remarks were kept shorter, ’cause they’re gonna have commercials.”

“And I said, ‘They can get over that. They can play the commercial while I’m talking, I don’t care."”

But Costner said he nearly chickened out. “I saw Oprah and Diane Sawyer, and I was like, ‘Will you do my speech for me?’ I didn’t feel like I was the right guy to go up there, but I did.”

“I started and about 17 minutes later, I was done,” he concludes. “And I said everything that I felt I needed to say.”

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