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Kevin Costner Says He Was Whitney Houston’s “Imaginary Bodyguard” During Filming of ‘The Bodyguard’

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / Zayne / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / Zayne / MovieStillsDB

Kevin Costner joined hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman for an interview on the Armchair Expert podcast, where he reflected on his time working with the late singer Whitney Houston in the 1992 film The Bodyguard. He discussed how it was his choice to put her in the film and how the success of the film became his responsibility in order to keep a promise he made. He also shared how he developed a bodyguard-type relationship with her during filming.

Costner discussed working with Houston

Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.
It was Costner who chose Houston to star in the film. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / lindsaylohanslastfan / MovieStillsDB)

During the interview, Shepard admitted that he was being self-indulgent in asking his next question, but he really wanted to know about Costner’s experience with Houston on the set of the film. Costner explained that it was he who had “picked her” for the role. “I loved her. It’s not like this giant mystery. So I knew that she should be the one,” he said.

However, he wasn’t happy with who was directing the film. In hindsight, he feels he probably should have directed it, but at the time, he just didn’t feel like it should’ve been him. He had wanted Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of the script, to direct the film, but that never happened. Instead, it was directed by Mick Jackson, who “was uncomfortable with her.”

“So in producing it, I produced Whtiney in the movie meaning I put her there,” he said, saying that he didn’t let the director make this decision. “I said no, she’s in the movie.”

He promised she’d be good in the film

Headshot of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.
Costner promised she would be good int he film, and kept that promise. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

Costner reflected on one specific moment where he looked at her and “could see the director was afraid of her.” That was when Costner stepped in. “I started to guide her,” he said. “And I wasn’t trying to usurp my director, but I had made a promise to her, not to f***ing him.”

However, the film wasn’t testing well at the start, but he’d made a promise to her and her manager at the time, Clive Davis, that she’d be good in it. After making some serious adjustments to the editing of the film, Costner was able to keep his promise. “She’s always gonna love me, in the song. I was always gonna keep my promise to her.”

He basically became her bodyguard

Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.
He basically became her bodyguard during filming. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / Di / MovieStillsDB)

Costner said no to Houston having an entourage on the set. “There was a moment where I knew when Whitney came, I said, ‘Look, you can’t have an entourage, but I’m gonna take care of you if there’s a person important to you’ — turned out to be Robyn Crawford  — I said, ‘Let’s have Robyn with you… I don’t have [an entourage] you’re not going to have one.’ And that’s how we started.”

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Shepard commented on how he must have “made her feel really safe,” explaining how “that’s what the entourage is all about I mean there’s a lot of fear —” Costner then interjected, saying, “I don’t know what it was, but we had a moment, and I realized that the world had a higher idea of who we were, so I basically embraced it. I was her imaginary bodyguard.”

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“It’s so sweet. It works on all these levels,” Shepard said. “I think there were probably real things that were happening that really helped in what we ended up seeing. You were her bodyguard — it’s not even the rhetorical.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!