09:45 PM EDT 08/23/2014
Originally posted 05/22/2012 06:20AM
Originally posted 04/02/2012 02:15PM
Originally posted 02/24/2012 08:45AM
The moment she was told her idol Whitney Houston had died, Jordin Sparks broke down, locked herself in her hotel room and "cried non-stop," a source tells PEOPLE.
But the American Idol winner, 22, kept her tears to a minimum on Thursday afternoon while paying tribute to the late singer at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Speaking briefly about shooting the upcoming film Sparkle with Houston, Sparks grinned and told the room, which was packed with Oscar contenders and others who included Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Paula Patton, Pam Grier and Kerry Washington: "The first day she got [to the set] she's scolding me, and I'm thinking this is the best day ever. She went from being this unreachable supernova pop star to my costar, friend and someone who was like a mentor to me. It was a gift and an honor to play opposite Whitney Houston in the film."
Originally posted 02/15/2012 05:15PM
Arriving at Mason Sound recording studio in North Hollywood on the evening of Feb. 7, Whitney Houston was all smiles and feeling "really positive," producer Harvey Mason Jr. tells PEOPLE.
"We stood around and joked, listened to music, and we got her this throat coat tea she likes," says Mason, who worked with the singer on her last recording of the up-tempo record "Celebrate," a duet with Jordin Sparks for the soundtrack of the upcoming film Sparkle.
"Then she got in the booth, started her vocal session with a prayer as she always did, and worked for about three to four hours. We ended the session dancing around the control room while she said 'Turn it up! Turn it up!' She was so fun-loving."
Originally posted 02/13/2012 12:20PM
Last fall during production, Whitney Houston embodied the title of her final movie, Sparkle, the producer of the new movie tells PEOPLE.
Originally posted 01/21/2012 11:00AM
It's been more than 15 years since Whitney Houston starred in a big Hollywood movie – 1996's The Preacher's Wife – and while fans may be rejoicing about her return to the screen in the upcoming Sparkle, the happiest person of all seems to be the pop diva's costar, Jordin Sparks.
"She was so cool and very motherly toward me," says the former American Idol winner, 22, who marks her film debut in the remake of a 1976 movie that originally starred Lonette McKee and Irene Cara. "If I ever looked like I needed something, here she came saying 'Are you okay?' "
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