Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Whitney Houston to have private memorial

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston's family will say goodbye to the singer in a private memorial, it has been confirmed.

There had been speculation that the Bodyguard star would have a public service at Newark's Prudential Center in New Jersey which holds thousands of people.

But Carolyn Whigham, who is handling the arrangements for the funeral, said that there will be a private invitation-only service at the Hope Baptist Church where Whitney started her singing career as a child.

"[The family has] shared her for 30-some years with the city, with the state, with the world," Carolyn said in a statement. "This is their time now for their farewell."

The funeral for the fallen star will take place on Saturday at noon.

Meanwhile, Extra TV reports that some family members do not want Whitney's ex-husband Bobby Brown to attend the funeral.

The couple divorced in 2007 and they have an 18-year-old daughter together, Bobbi Kristina, but it is yet unknown if the My Prerogative singer will be welcomed.

Whitney's mother Cissy Houston waited outside Whigham Funeral Home last night looking ashen-faced as her daughter's casket arrived in a golden hearse. Her body had been flown back from Los Angeles where she was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday.

Cissy was surrounded by loved ones and dozens of fans who had camped outside to pay their last respects.

Meanwhile Janet Jackson, who lost her brother Michael in 2009, told Anderson Cooper that she was "speechless" when she heard Whitney had died.

"I couldn't believe it," she told the talk show host of her longtime friend. "Immediately I started shaking. I was trying to text everyone that I knew to let them know and I was speechless. I could not believe it."

"I was home, here. I just so happened to be watching TV and I saw this newsflash and I still can't believe it when I hear them paying tribute to her on the radio, it's still such a shock to me. I don't want to believe it."

Janet called Whitney a "sweet, sweet soul" and that they always made sure to see each other at various media events.

She added that her heart goes out to Whitney's daughter and although it was tough losing a brother, she acknowledged that the loss of a parent has its additional challenges.

"It's a very, very tough time. Even though it's still a lossI lost my brother, she lost her mother. There's still a difference, even though there's still a loss to a family, I don't know what that's like being so young. It was hard for me. It was very, very difficult for me. I didn't want to accept it, it's very difficult," Janet said.

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