Whitney Houston’s Death Left Jordin Sparks In ‘Shock’

'American Idol' alum talks to Entertainment Weekly about working with the late legend on their upcoming movie 'Sparkle.'

Many people will remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of Whitney Houston’s untimely death in February. And while everyone’s experience was memorable in some way, the story of Houston’s “Sparkle” co-star Jordin Sparks hearing the news is especially poignant.

The season-six “American Idol” winner was in a L.A. hotel room getting ready to meet Houston at the Beverly Hilton and attend Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy bash when her publicist knocked on her door.

“She said, ‘Whitney’s gone,’ ” Sparks told Entertainment Weekly. “I said, ‘What do you mean? She’s not going to the party?’ She said, ‘No, she passed.’ It was like a movie when you see somebody and they’re just shocked and can’t move. I literally couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t feel anything. It was a complete shock. I was just holed up in my hotel room for a few days after that.

“I didn’t know her for very long, but it was an intense two months: 12 hours every day spending time with somebody,” Sparks recalled. “It was amazing to walk into work and then Whitney is sitting in her chair blasting gospel music and singing. I’m thinking to myself, ‘People would give their right arm to just hear some of this. And it’s happening every day.’ She was really, really great.”

“Sparkle” is a remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film about three talented young musicians who struggle with addiction. The new version features the 2007 “American Idol” winner as the titular character Sparkle and Houston, who also served as executive producer after acquiring the rights to the film more than a decade ago, as her mother, Emma.

“It was definitely her baby,” Sparks said of Houston’s attachment to the project. “You could see the pride on her face when we wrapped. She was so excited that this was finally happening. Even before she passed I wanted to be able to represent this movie in a way that would honor her and respect her, because she worked so hard on it. With her passing, it’s definitely been a lot more pressure. We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure there will be interviews where it will hit me and I might get emotional, and there’s going to be other interviews where I reminisce about how happy and excited she was. I’m really proud of the film. I can’t wait for people to see it.”

“Sparkle” is scheduled to be released by Sony on August 17.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Sparkle.”

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