Jackson Lee/Splash News
Jackson Lee/Splash News
In an radio interview Tuesday with The Frank and Wanda Morning Show on Atlanta's V103, Houston family attorney Mark Trigg claimed that a combination of Brown not adhering to agreed-upon seating arrangements and bringing uninvited guests with him led to the kerfuffle that saw him leave just moments after arriving at Newark, N.J.'s New Hope Baptist Church.
Here's how Trigg says things went down:
According to the lawyer, Brown was invited from the very beginning to sit with the family.
"We had a number of discussions prior to the service and a very clear understanding as to exactly what was supposed to take place," Trigg said, noting that he talked to Brown's attorney himself and the two of them personally worked out all of the arrangements. "Bobby was always invited to sit with the family at the outset," said Trigg. "This was a very full, packed congregation…and there literally wasn't a seat available….So this was not about anything other than practical space considerations."
Things became more complicated, Trigg says, when Brown wanted to bring his three children from other relationships to the service.
Trigg claims that Brown agreed he would sit in the first three pews reserved for Houston's family and his three older children would sit with his brother Tommy a few rows behind. But once the service started, the lawyer says Bobby invited the trio to join him.
"When that happened, security discreetly, politely, respectfully said, 'Bobby you're welcome to stay here but we need to ask the three children to go sit with their uncle given space limitations.' That was the deal and there shouldn't have been any problem at that point. But for whatever reason, he took offense at that."
There was also an issue with Bobby attempting to communicate with Bobbi Kristina—his 18-year-old daughter with Whitney. According to Trigg, Bobbi Kristina wanted to be left alone but Brown did not "respect her and her wishes during the service." Trigg says that if his daughter had intervened, security would "not stand in the way" and would have made sure they connected.
But once security blocked him, he decided to leave.
"For whatever reason he decided he just wanted to leave the service. So he got his three children, went up and kissed the casket, and they walked out of the service," said Trigg, noting that Brown previously told the family he wouldn't be staying past 2 p.m. anyway as he had a concert with New Edition later that night.
Trigg's account jibes with Brown's own statement to E! News following his departure: "We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions. I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene."
Despite the misunderstanding, Trigg says he sympathizes with the R&B star.
"It had to be a difficult time for him," he said. "None of us exercise our best judgment when we're under that kind of emotional strain. So I certainly don't stand in judgment of him."
As for why Houston's mom, Cissy, didn't allow Brown to speak at her funeral, Trigg would only say that such a decision ultimately rested with the family.
Cissy herself penned an open letter to her daughter that was included with the funeral program. After expressing her deep love for Whitney, Cissy revealed she had a premonition of Houston's sudden death at age 48 and feared this day might come.
"You always gave without expecting anything in return and our love was the force that multiplied these blessings higher and higher," wrote Cissy. "I never told you that when you were born the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long and I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years."