The blame game has been underway ever since The National Enquirer published the photo of Houston in an open coffin. Speculation has ranged from a close family member and funeral home employee, to even her mentor Clive Davis.
Check out the National Enquirer; click to enlarge.
Publishing photos of celebrities lying dead in their caskets is a time-honored tabloid tradition at the National Enquirer.
The photos was clearly taken inside the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, NJ, where Whitney’s family attended a private open-casket service last Friday (Feb. 17). It was held the day before her public funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church.
Whigham has denied that she or someone on her staff took the photo. “We did not take that photo. We did not sell the photo. We would never do something like that,” Whigham told The New York Daily News.
“Whitney was a friend,” she said. “I’m the one who flew to Los Angeles and got Whitney from the coroner’s office. I did everything to protect her,” she added.
As TheImproper reported, Whigham confirmed that Houston was not buried wearing $500,000 worth jewelry, even though she was pictured wearing a diamond broach and diamond earrings.
Whigham said she has been the victim of a backlash over the photo that includes death threats. “One email said that if the person owned a dog, and the dog died, they would not come to my funeral home,” she said.
“I’m worried about my employees, worried about me. I’ve been in business since 1943. This is my name, my character. Honestly, this is my life’s work. We would never do something like this,” she added.
Some tabloid editors have estimated that the Enquire paid as much as $500,000 for the photo. The photo looked like it was taken hastily by an amateur.
Houston’s mother Cissy and daughter Bobbi Kristina were outraged about the photo. “Their heart broken all over again,” sources close to the family told TMZ.
Davis’s named surfaced because he attended the service and had access to the room before family members gathered to pay their last respects. But it seems unlikely the multi-millionaire music mogul and Houston mentor would be responsible.
Houston, 48, died at the Beverly Hills on Feb. 11, the day of Davis’s pre-Grammy party. He was criticized for continuing with the party. Houston’s body was held in her room until it was over.