Kevin Costner Talks His Relationship With Whitney Houston Ahead of ‘The Bodyguard’s’ 30th Anniversary

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Whitney Houston’s acting debut in The Bodyguard. Houston was catapulted into even greater heights in the movie that was crowned the best date-night film of the year. She starred alongside Kevin Costner, who handpicked her for the role. Costner recently gushed over his relationship with the singer.

Whitney Houston poses with Kevin Costner and his wife on the red carpet
Whitney Houston, Kevin Costner and wife Cindy Costner attend “The Bodyguard” Hollywood Premiere on November 23, 1992 | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Whitney Houston was ‘intrigued’ by the film

Costner wanted Houston in the lead role from the minute he became attached to the film. He vetted Houston mercilessly, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Houston finally agreed to at least take a good look at the script.

“I got word that he wanted me to do this film and that he didn’t want anyone else to do it besides me,” Houston once revealed in an interview. “That intrigued me. [I thought to myself] ‘Why can’t anybody else do this film?’”

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Houston signed on, but had to finish touring to promote her third studio album, “I’m Your Baby Tonight.” “We postponed the movie for a year to wait for Whitney,” Costner said. “There’s an exotic quality to Whitney, there’s this thing about her and guys are in love with her,” he added. 

Despite Houston’s fame, she had to prove to the film’s executives that she was worth the role. “We were obligated to screen-test her,” Costner explained. “I didn’t feel that we needed to but giving her this role in this movie, I felt that she could. Not very many Whitney’s come along.”

Kevin Costner reflects on his relationship with Whitney Houston

Costner guided Houston along the entire filming process. He knew Houston was nervous as the bar was set high for the superstar’s first film role. But he knew she could do it. Houston was just 29-years-old at the time of filming. 

“She was a really street-smart girl, she knew stuff. I knew she could handle the part but she wasn’t sure she could handle it,” Costner recalled in a recent chat with Entertainment Tonight. “There came a moment where she had to make a decision and I saw her trust me and we had that, from that moment on. That was my promise to her, that she’d look great and be great,” he added with a smile. 

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Costner also played a major role in Houston’s No. 1 hit “I Will Always Love You,” a single from the film’s soundtrack that spent 14 consecutive weeks at No. 1. It was Costner’s idea to have Houston sing the intro without music, something the producers initially opposed. 

“I don’t think we’ll ever forget when that little song came out, that she just blew up,” Costner said ahead of this year’s SAG Awards in a separate interview with ET. “She sang the first part of it a cappella and musically the world was never the same. We have a moment of her in that movie we’ll never ever forget that and I think that when movies are working at their best, that’s what can happen.”

The singer made a lasting impact on another co-star

Costner wasn’t the only person on set that Houston impressed. DeVaughn Nixon, who played Houston’s son in the movie, was enamored with the “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” singer. ​​He recently spoke with People Magazine about his experience filming with the icon. “Whitney was my guardian [on set],” he said. “She and I were really, really, close.”

His favorite memories of her reading him Bible verses in between breaks and singing to him, with Nixon calling it a “beautiful experience.” but he did make Houston very upset one day.

“I remember I didn’t want her to smoke, because I was like, ‘You have such a beautiful voice,’ ” he said. “So I threw her pack [of cigarettes] away. I flushed it down the toilet, and she got so mad but she couldn’t get mad at me because I was a kid.”

RELATED: ‘The Bodyguard’: Whitney Houston’s Co-Star Recalls Flushing Her Cigarettes Down the Toilet