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Bobby Brown Leaves Whitney Houston's Funeral Over Seating Dispute

'I fail to understand why security treated my family this way,' he says

February 18, 2012 6:50 PM ET
bobby brown
Bobby Brown performs with New Edition at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Marc Andrew Deley

Bobby Brown arrived at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark today for the funeral of his ex-wife, Whitney Houston. He left the church after just fifteen minutes, however, following a dispute over seating arrangements. 

Us Weekly reported that a visibly distraught and red-eyed Brown had arrived at the private service with a large entourage and tried to take seats in the front row. While Brown, who was married to Houston for 15 years, had been invited to the service, his nine guests were not admitted and when his guests were turned away, Brown left too. 

The Rev. Al Sharpton wrote about the incident on Twitter: "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!" Sharpton followed up on the incident later in the day, tweeting "We are out of the service. I don't want anyone distorting Bobby Brown. He has shown love and respect today. Stop hatin.'"

Brown later released a statement addressing his departure:

"My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. 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. My children are completely distraught over the events. This was a day to honor Whitney. I doubt Whitney would have wanted this to occur. I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how."

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