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11 June 2021, 15:07
In 1992, Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner starred opposite each other in the year's biggest romantic drama, The Bodyguard.
But another aspect of the film which was rather beautiful, was the close friendship that developed between co-stars Kevin and Whitney. The pair forged a strong bond, so much so that Kevin would tragically talk at her funeral in 2012.
The Bodyguard followed a stoic titualar character, who reluctantly signs up to protect a superstar known to be something of a diva, from someone is sending her threatening letters.
By the early 1990s, Kevin Costner was cast as the lead in the film, and he quickly became heavily involved in the production's development. The actor had his own ideas for the film's script, which had been hanging around for nearly 20 years.
Writer Lawrence Kasdan wrote the first drafts in 1975, with Diana Ross and Steve McQueen on course to play the leads. However, the script was rejected 67 times before being accepted and then discarded.
McQueen had been replaced by Ryan O'Neal, whom Ross was dating at the time. But Ross ended up turning down the project, and it disappeared again, until little-known Costner read the script.
Afteer Costner became a Hollywood star thanks to Dances with Wolves, he helped push The Bodyguard into production.
By the early 1990s, Whitney Houston had become a huge international popstar.
Costner later said that he was drawn to Houston for simple reasons: "I saw her like every red-blooded male would see her: I thought she was really pretty."
But he quickly realised that no one else could play the character Rachel, and was willing to wait a year for Whitney to accept the role: "I just thought she was that right."
Costner had to convince Whitney to take the role. By then, Whitney was having a great pop career, and was considering acting too.
However, she wanted to start with smaller roles, telling Rolling Stone: "I never thought I'd be co-starring with Kevin Costner!"
Aware of the scrutiny she would get as a popstar becoming a Hollywood star, much like Madonna, she worried that "people would dog me before they gave me the opportunity to do the job."
She delayed accepting the role until Costner called her himself. He promised her that he wouldn't let her make a fool of herself, and she agreed.
However, he also told her not to get acting lessons. "He said: 'I promise you I will not let you fall. I will help you,'" she said. "And he did."
Kevin gave a beautiful tribute to Whitney at her funeral. He shared various anecdotes about the singer in his 20-minute speech.
"Arguably the biggest pop star in the world didn't think she was good enough," he said, remembering the tears on set as Whitney questioned her voice.
"Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you, you weren't just good enough, you were great. You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was.
"A lot of leading men could've played my part … but you, Whitney, I truely believe you were the only one who could've played Rachel Marron at that time. You weren't just pretty, you were as beautiful as a woman could be. And people didn't just like you Whitney, they loved you."
Choking up at the end, he added: "Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him, don't you worry. You'll be good enough."
At the time of Whitney Houston's passing in February 2012, Kevin released a statement saying: "She was my one true love".
While appearing on CNN in April that year, Costner opened up to Anderson Cooper about the letters he used to write to Whitney, in hopes that they would help get her the help she needed with battling her addictions.
"There are some people that really love Whitney, and a couple times during the last seven, eight years, they asked me, would I write her a letter?" Costner said.
"She would always be close to me, she would always be somebody I appreciated. When someone says, will you write a letter to someone who you know is having trouble ... I did.
"I don't know if those letters were ever read."
"We both grew up in a Baptist church. It was easy for us to laugh," Costner said at Whitney's funeral.
"The church was what we knew. It was our private bond," he said.
"I can see her in my own mind running around here as a skinny little girl knowing everyone, everyone's business, knowing every inch of this place. I can also see her in trouble, too."