By The CNN Wire Staff
NEWARK, New Jersey -- Singer Bobby Brown made a brief and dramatic appearance at ex-wife Whitney Houston's memorial service on Saturday, leaving abruptly after being told that his entourage couldn't sit together, police sources told CNN.
He arrived with several people and was apparently emotionally distraught, with red eyes and head hanging as he walked up the aisle of the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. He approached Houston's casket, past it and back down the aisle.
On CNN's live video feed, Brown was shown standing out front of the church soon after the service began. He was not seated with family, friends or other celebrities at the front of the church.
"My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston," Brown later said in a news statement. "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. ... I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how," the statement said.
Describing what happened at the service, the Rev. Al Sharpton posted on his Twitter account: "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."
Brown is scheduled to perform with his group, New Edition, later Saturday in Connecticut. Brown considers performing as therapy to get him through a difficult time, a source close to him said Sunday.
He and Houston were married from 1992 till 2007, with Houston getting sole custody of their daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, when they divorced. Their daughter was born in 1993.
When they married in July 1992, questions arose about whether it was a publicity stunt to help polish Brown's image as a bad boy who had weathered drug rumors and had acknowledged having three children out of wedlock. Houston scoffed at such rumors, saying that anyone who questioned their marriage didn't understand what the commitment meant to her. They married in a lavish ceremony at her New Jersey estate.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, reports begin to surface about Houston's struggles with drug addiction, health problems and her rocky marriage with Brown. Her album sales dropped off, and her voice began to show signs of wear.
In a now-infamous interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer in 2002, Houston admitted to using drugs, but denied using crack. "Crack is whack," she said, quoting a line from a mural painted in 1986. In the same interview, Houston said, "The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."
In 2004, filming began on the short-lived reality show "Being Bobby Brown." "The show aired during the worst years of the couple's crumbling marriage: drug use, lifestyle excess and bad behavior were all caught on tape, and Houston's reputation sunk to new lows," according to Biography.com. Houston later said she did the show to try to save her marriage.
In March 2011, Brown announced that he and his New Edition bandmates were reuniting and planning a new album and tour.
The group -- made up of Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe and Johnny Gill -- had gotten together periodically over the years, with and without Brown.
The band was set to give it one more shot, Brown said last March.
"The good news I want to announce is New Edition has gotten back together," he said on daytime talk show "The View."
Brown also talked a bit about Houston and their daughter, who he said looked like him, but sang better than Houston.
After highly publicized tumultuous times that included substance abuse problems and multiple brushes with the law over the years, Brown said he was doing well.
"I have a brand new son, Cassius," he said then. "I have a fiancée. I am just moving forward with my life and trying to stay positive."
Brown's music career initially took off with New Edition, which started as an R&B boy band.
He left New Edition in 1986, after hits that included "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now," and "Mr. Telephone Man."
His solo career has included his 1988 multiplatinum album, "Don't Be Cruel," which featured the hit singles "Don't Be Cruel," "Every Little Step," "Rock Wit' Cha," "My Prerogative" and "Roni."
- CNN's Don Lemon and Raelyn Johnson contributed to this report.