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Whitney Houston's invitation-only funeral on Saturday was a packed, emotional service at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., but one person who wasn't in the pews that day was the singer's ex-husband Bobby Brown. Despite showing up to pay his respects, Brown made a hasty exit and was not present for the funeral.
As Us Weekly reports, Brown, 43, "was allowed to go in, pay his respects and then he had to leave. He was red-eyed going up to the casket and then left," a witness says. "He was there for 15 minutes."
After speculation that security turned him away for bringing an uninvited "entourage" -- or worse, that Brown didn't show up at all -- Brown released a statement that same afternoon to explain his early departure.
"My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston," he said, referring to his three children from previous relationships Landon, 26, La'princia, 21, and Robert Jr., 20, plus his 2-year-old son Cassius with wife Alicia Etheridge (all of whom are Bobbi Kristina's half-siblings). "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 continued to ask us and no one else to move."
Brown continues: "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."
The treatment of Brown and his children could be explained by the ongoing tension between him and Whitney's family, who reportedly blame Brown for Houston's descent into substance abuse.
"There are family members who felt Bobby drove Whitney into drugs," a source told Us Weekly. "But now Bobby is clean and Whitney has unfortunately passed. So there's resentment."
Just hours after the funeral, Brown went on to perform at a scheduled New Edition concert, where he briefly paid tribute to Houston: "Life is life ... you have to move on sometimes," he said, thanking fans for their love and support. "I want to give blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston, I love you."