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Gospel Singer Cissy Houston’s desire to have a traditional home-going celebration for her daughter, pop icon Whitney Houston, who died last week, was fulfilled during the nearly four hour service held Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.

Actor Kevin Costner, who co-starred with Houston in their 1992 blockbuster film, “The Bodyguard,” offered many touching private moments with Houston, with whom he shared a special bond.

Costner said he and Houston traded stories of growing up in Baptist churches and he remembers the singer being nervous about taking on her first major movie role. He said she froze up during her first screen test and had to return to her trailer.

When he consoled her, he was surprised to see her confronted by her insecurities. “Whitney was scared,” Costner said. “Arguably the biggest pop star in the world didn’t believe she was good enough. Didn’t think she looked right. I held her hand and told her she looked beautiful and that everybody wanted her to succeed.”

After encouraging her for 30 minutes, Houston went back for a second chance and amazed the casting agents and producers, securing the role.

Costner said some of the executives were initially hesitant about considering Houston in the film. “I was reminded that this would be her first acting role,” he said. “Maybe we should think about another singer. Maybe someone white. Nobody ever said it out loud. But there would be a lot riding on it. Maybe a more experienced actress. It was clear I really had to think about this.”

Costner said he was ultimately so confident that Houston was the right fit that he asked that the production be delayed a year to wait for Houston to finish a tour.

Houston’s feature in the film made the movie, Costner said. “It’s a lot of leading men, a lot of guys could have filled that role,” he said. “But you, Whitney, I believe were the only one who could have played Rachel Marron at that time.”