Whitney Houston: New Jersey Governor’s decision to lower flags for star's funeral criticised
CHRIS Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, has defended his decision to have flags lowered to half-mast for Whitney Houston.
The Republican governor said his office has been receiving messages disparaging Houston and attacking his decision to lower flags at government buildings in her home state on Saturday, the day of her funeral.
Mr Christie said: "I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise, and we don't know what is the cause of her death yet, but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she's forfeited the good things that she did in her life. I just reject that on a human level. "What I would say to everybody is, 'There but for the grace of God go I.'"
Houston, who had a long history of drug abuse, died at the age of 48, and was found in a bath at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles last Saturday.
The cause of death has not been established but detectives believe she had consumed alcohol and prescription dugs.
Her funeral is being held at the New Jersey church where she sang in the choir as a girl. Mr Christie lives in Mendham, a wealthy town where Houston also had lived.
Opponents of his decision said flags should only be lowered for figures such as members of the military and police officers, and that it was wrong to honour someone who had been addicted to drugs.
Kevin Costner, who starred with Houston in her biggest movie "The Bodyguard," is likely to speak at the funeral. Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder are expected to sing during the service at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey which, will be broadcast globally on the internet.
It also emerged that Houston was seen drinking significant amounts of alcohol before 10am on two mornings last week by the pool at the Beverly Hilton.
She reportedly accused bartenders of watering down her drinks with ice, and was doing somersaults into the pool.