Whitney Houston’s funeral was missing one of the most important men in her life: ex-husband Bobby Brown, who walked away moments before the ceremony was scheduled to commence.
Brown brought a group of nine people with him to the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., according to the city’s Star-Ledger newspaper. The New Edition singer had wanted to sit among the same church pews as Houston’s family members, the Star Ledger reported.
“They were asked to leave,” a source said of Brown’s posse. He was allowed to stay but “left with the other people.”
Brown, upset over the so-called snub of his group, drove off in a black Cadillac SUV. The Associated Press reported that beforehand, he had walked up to Houston’s casket and touched it; Brown was scheduled to perform on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn.
Brown, who divorced Houston in 2007 following a tumultuous 15-year marriage, was invited by Houston’s family to attend the private, star-studded services. In the wake of her death, he left his concert tour with New Edition to fly to Los Angeles and console their 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown; she was briefly hospitalized for anxiety-related issues a day after her mother was found dead Feb. 11.
According to a reports, the Houston family had initially debated inviting Brown to the ceremony before eventually deciding to offer him an olive branch.
In a message on his Twitter account, the Rev. Al Sharpton said: “I am at Whitney’s funeral. I spoke with Bobby Brown trying to calm him down and not distract from the services. Today is about Whitney!”