Kevin Costner Shut Down CNN When They Asked Him to Shorten His Eulogy for Whitney Houston

Kevin Costner was a friend to Whitney Houston until the end. The actor and director, 69, opened up on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast about his final act of protection toward his The Bodyguard co-star following her tragic death in 2012 by accidental downing. 

Two decades after they became friends while filming the iconic 1992 romance/thriller, Costner delivered an emotional eulogy at the Grammy winner's funeral – one he refused to shorten despite timing constraints. "I had been working on this speech... and I tried to compile everything I wanted to do and finally crafted this speech," Costner recalled on the podcast. "Somebody said, 'CNN's here, they wouldn't mind if your remarks were kept shorter because they're going to have commercials.' And I said, 'They can get over that. They can play the commercial while I'm talking, I don't care.'"

Costner continued that he wanted to say everything he "needed" to say during his eulogy, noting, "I started and about 17 minutes later I was done," he added. The Yellowstone alum was one of eight people to speak during the 2012 service, and he revealed he only took the microphone after being encouraged by Dionne Warwick.

"I could feel the weight on her, now it's shifted to me," Costner recalled. "What am I going to say about this little girl? [I] went back to that church in Newark and it was filled. It was electric. There were two bands playing, the church was alive. It was like, boom!"

Also on the podcast, Costner spoke of Houston being cast in The Bodyguard, revealing that the film's director, Mick Johnson, didn't want her to star as Rachel Marron. "She's really smart. That was a movie I probably should have directed. I just thought somebody could do a better job. But he was uncomfortable with her," he explained. "She was my choice. So I was the actor. I produced it. I picked her."

Costner told Houston that while she couldn't have her entourage on set, he would take care of whatever she needed. "And I don't know what it was, but we had a moment, and I realized that the world had a higher idea of who we were, so I basically embraced it. I was her imaginary bodyguard," the actor said, adding, "I started to guide her, and I wasn't trying to usurp my director. But I made a promise to her."