Joerg Koch / AFP - Getty Images file
Whitney Houston in 2009.
Reaction from fans and the media to the National Enquirer's publication of an unauthorized photo of singer Whitney Houston lying in her casket has been heavily negative -- except inside the tabloid's offices.
Enquirer publisher Mary Beth Wright tells Fox News, “I thought it was beautiful."
The photo could have sold for $500,000 or more, experts told Fox News.
Tagged with the headline, “Whitney: The Last Photo!,” the picture reveals Houston in a gold casket wearing a purple gown, and describes her as being buried in $500,000 worth of jewelry.
The line about Houston being buried with expensive jewelry seems to have led to a recent article in the U.K. tabloid The Daily Star, claiming that a 24-hour armed bodyguard was posted at Houston's New Jersey grave to ensure the jewels were not stolen from her coffin.
That claim has been debunked by the site Gossip Cop, which spoke to a Houston confidante who said the singer was not buried with expensive jewels, despite the Enquirer and Daily Star's reports.
There's still no word as to who sold the photo to the Enquirer. Houston's funeral was invitation only, and Carolyn Whigham, owner of of the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., where Houston's service was held, says her staff was not involved.
“Whitney was a personal friend to me and my family," Whigham told the Los Angeles Times. "We would not do that."
Whigham also told the Times on Thursday that the Houston family would release a statement about the photo, but nothing has yet been released.
Houston, 48, was found dead in her hotel bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton in California on Feb. 11. The Los Angeles coroner's office has said the cause of death will not be announced until toxicology test results are available.
Was the photo beautiful, or is the very idea so horrible it can't be called that? And what do you think of reports that the mystery photographer was paid $500,000 for the photo? Is it worth selling out Houston and her family for that kind of money? Tell us on Facebook.
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