Whitney Houston’s family members, including her mother Cissy and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, took the opportunity to pay their respects in private at Whigham Funeral Home, Newark, New Jersey, yesterday.
Millions of viewers are expected to witness Whitney Houston’s funeral at noon today.
Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, who made her first appearance since being rushed to hospital after collapsing through stress following her mother’s passing, was seen arriving at Whigham Funeral Home in Whitney Houston’s hometown of Newark, alongside her tearful grandmother Cissy Houston.
They were later joined by famous faces including Whitney Houston’s life-long friend and mentor Clive Davis and as well as the singer’s cousin Dionne Warwick.
Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, who made her first appearance since being rushed to hospital after collapsing through stress following her mother's passing, was seen arriving at Whigham Funeral Home in Whitney Houston's hometown of Newark
Funeral director Caroline Whigham told the crowd gathered outside that the viewing “was done in privacy between a mother, a daughter, two brothers and a family,” according to People magazine.
The mourning family was also accompanied by a strong police presence which ensured the large crowds of fans who gathered outside the home kept their distance.
The heavy officer presence comes amid police warnings for fans to stay at home to watch the service rather than scramble for a place near the New Hope Baptist Church. Authorities say fans will not even be able to get within six square blocks of the church.
Cissy Houston was escorted into the building by a priest and held hands with a woman in a crisp white shirt. The former gospel singer was dressed smartly in a black coat with an orange and brown leopard print scarf wrapped around her shoulders.
Cissy Houston was escorted into Whigham Funeral Home by a priest and held hands with a woman in a crisp white shirt
Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, pictured in public for first time since she was rushed to hospital following the singer’s death in a Beverly Hills hotel, arrived at the funeral home in dark jeans, white vest and a black jacket.
Bobbi Kristina Brown appeared controlled as she entered the funeral home. “There are moments when she is strong and moments when it all hits her,” a source told People magazine.
“She can’t escape it.”
Bobbi Kristina is the daughter of Whitney Houston and her former husband Bobby Brown. It has been reported that the teen will now live with her grandmother “indefinitely” according to HollywoodLife.com.
However, a new report on TMZ.com this morning claimed that Whitney Houston’s family are keen for Bobbi Kristina to enter a “live-in rehab facility” as soon as possible, but are willing to wait until after the funeral to allow the teenager time to grieve her mother’s passing.
TMZ claims that Bobbi Kristina has, for the past three of four years, struggled with “substance abuse issues”, and her family are said to be keen for her to seek help before her problems get any worse.
Bobbi Kristina Brown hid her eyes between a pair of sunglasses and held the hand of a friend as she walked past security. Family and friends were greeted by what appeared to be an Egyptian-decorated casket outside the home.
As well as close family of Whitney Houston in attendance friends also gathered together to pay their respects.
Whitney Houston’s cousin Dionne Warwick was seen arriving and had wore a white shirt and a pair of dark trousers.
The late singer’s mentor and life-long friend Clive Davies also made an appearance as reports have emerged the music producer tried to get the singer to enter rehab in the weeks leading up to her death.
Whitney Houston’s on-off boyfriend Ray-J was seen making his way through LAX airport with his sister Brandy on their way to New Jersey ahead of the funeral.
Kevin Costner, who starred opposite Whitney Houston in the 1992 film The Bodyguard, was also seen making his way east at the airport.
Fans gathered outside where they signed a book of condolence and laid tributes, including flowers, balloons and teddy bears.
It is expected that fans will be blocked off the site once Whitney Houston’s family arrives for her wake ahead of today’s funeral.
Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston’s ex-husband, has been told he is “not welcome” at the singer’s funeral by several members of her family.
A close family member, who has not been identified, warned Bobby Brown not to even try to attend as the Houston clan is “not fond of him”.
During Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s 14-year marriage they repeatedly came to blows in private and public, with her husband being rumored to have introduced her to illegal drugs.
Bobby Brown also published an autobiography where he hinted at doubts over Whitney Houston’s sexuality, but in the days after her death has been pictured devastated by his ex-wife’s death.
Sources close to Bobby Brown told TMZ people connected to the Houston family have warned him that he shouldn’t attempt to attend the funeral because the family isn’t fond of him.
At first it was thought that a public memorial service would take place at Newark’s Prudential Centre – which seats up to 19,000 people – but the family announced today that they are keeping it to themselves. There will be no public wake either.
Bobby Brown (pictured with daughter Bobbi Kristina) has been told he is “not welcome” at Whitney Houston’s funeral by several members of her family
The funeral will take place on Saturday at noon in the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where Whitney Houston first showcased her singing talents as a child.
Whitney Houston’s body was flown from Los Angeles in a private jet owned by Tyler Perry last night and transported to Newark’s Whigham Funeral Home, which handled the 2003 funeral of her father.
Carolyn Whigham, the funeral home’s owner, said the invitation-only funeral reflects the family’s desire to keep the memorial more personal.
“They have shared her for 30 some years with the city, with the state, with the world. This is their time now for their farewell,” Carolyn Whigham said.
“The family thanks all the fans, the friends and the media, but this time is their private time.”
Meanwhile, Whitney Houston’s fans have continued to gather and lay tributes for the superstar outside the Newark Church.