Alpharetta, Ga. — The ongoing tensions between the families of the late megastar Whitney Houston and her ex-husband, R&B singer Bobby Brown, erupted Saturday during a memorial service for their daughter, Bobbi Kristina.
Bobbi Kristina, who dreamed of growing up to achieve fame like her mother, died in hospice care July 26, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta townhome.
A longstanding rift between families of the young woman’s famous mother and father broke out into the open at a memorial service being held for Bobbi Kristina at the St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta.
Leolah Brown, the sister of Bobby Brown, walked out of the church and spoke to reporters gathered outside. She said she was angry because Pat Houston was speaking at the funeral. Pat Houston is the sister-in-law and former manager for the late Whitney Houston.
“I told her that Whitney is going to haunt her from the grave,” Leolah Brown told reporters outside the church.
She suggested that the feud between the Houstons and the Browns was far from over.
“It’s just getting started,” she said.
An email to the Houston family rep was not returned.
For years, there’s been a longstanding rift between the families of the young woman’s famous mother and father. Bobby Brown briefly appeared at Houston’s funeral three years ago, saying he and his children were seated but asked repeatedly to move. Brown said he left because he didn’t want to create a scene, but was upset.
Bobby Brown emerged from the funeral staring toward the ground before lifting his head up and briefly gazing at the sky.
Dressed in all black, the grieving Brown was one of the first to exit the tension-filled private memorial service for his daughter.
Several celebrities showed up for the funeral including filmmaker Tyler Perry, Grammy-winning R&B singer Monica and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Bobbi Kristina’s death was grimly similar to the way her megastar mother had died three years earlier.
Houston’s assistant found the singer’s lifeless body face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just before the Grammy Awards in 2012. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite, and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in her body, but determined her death was an accidental drowning.
Bobbi Kristina was found in the townhome she shared with Nick Gordon, an orphan three years older, whom Houston had raised as her own. Bobbi Kristina referred to him as her husband. A police report earlier this year described the incident as a drowning, and authorities are investigating her death.
Relations between Gordon and other relatives have soured over the past few years, especially after Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized. A protective order barred him from being within 200 feet of Pat Houston. And a feud erupted over whether Gordon could visit Bobbi Kristina while she stayed in the hospital.
Bobbi Kristina Brown was the only child of Houston and Brown and was raised in the shadow of her famous parents’ hugely public life.
She appeared alongside the couple in 2005 on the Bravo reality show “Being Bobby Brown,” which showed her parents fighting, swearing and making court appearances. She attended award shows with her mother and father, walked red carpets with them and sang in Central Park with Houston as adoring fans watched.
Houston and Brown were married 15 years. Their tumultuous relationship ended in 2007.
On Saturday, she was remembered in a private service. A hearse carrying Bobbi Kristina arrived nearly three hours ahead of the service. Four men dressed in black suits carried the coffin into the church.
Eight police motorcycles escorted three stretch limousines, carrying mourners to the church in Alpharetta ahead of the service. A procession of dozens of cars followed.
Security was heavy outside the church. About 75 members of the media stood behind a barricade at the entrance of the church parking lot, while more than two dozen onlookers were just a few feet behind them.
Alpharetta police say they were assisted by more than a dozen state troopers to manage traffic and shut down lanes to accommodate parking around the church where the service was being held.
Bobbi Kristina was the sole heir of her mother’s estate. She identified herself on Twitter as “Daughter of Queen WH,” ‘’Entertainer/Actress” with William Morris & Co., and “LAST of a dying breed.”
She told Oprah Winfrey shortly after her mother’s death in 2012 that she wanted to carry on Houston’s legacy by singing, acting and dancing. But her career never took off.
In her short life, Bobbi Kristina became a social media sensation, sending more than 11,000 tweets and attracting 164,000 followers.
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