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Family, friends and fans gather for Whitney Houston's funeral

Jason Decrow / AP

Whitney Houston fans gather around a television in a mobile phone store a few blocks from the New Hope Baptist Church to watch the singer's funeral in Newark, N.J.

Actor-director-writer Tyler Perry was among the first speakers at the service, and he reflected what he called the one constant in Houston's life -- her grace. Her described it as a "grace that kept on carrying her all the way through, the same grace led her all the way to the top of the charts. She sang for presidents." He told the congregation that no matter the trouble that she encountered in her life, Houston's faith remained constant.

Actor Kevin Costner, her co-star in "The Bodyguard" that spawned her greatest hit, remembered a movie star who was uncertain of her own fame, who "still wondered, 'am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?'

"It was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end," Costner said.

--Reported by Today.com news services

 

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Bobby Brown, right, is denied entrance to the funeral service of ex-wife pop singer Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., Feb. 18.

Jason Decrow / AP

Whitney Houston fans wave to a passing car as they gather a few blocks from the New Hope Baptist Church before the singer's funeral in Newark, N.J., Feb. 18. Houston died last Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 48.

Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images

The hearse carrying the body of singer Whitney Houston leaves the Whigham Funeral Home on Feb. 18, in Newark, N.J., en route to a private funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church.