Jordin Sparks talks 'Sparkle' and Whitney Houston's death: 'I couldn't handle it'
Jordin Sparks appears in the upcoming remake of "Sparkle" with the late Whitney Houston and the "American Idol" singer recently talked about what it was like working with the music legend and how she felt when Houston died.
Houston died on February 11 at the age of 48 inside a hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, a day before the 2012 Grammy Awards. She was found in a bathtub and her death was ruled an accidental drowning, spurred by cocaine use and a pre-existing heart condition.
"I couldn't handle it," Sparks told "Nightline" in an interview. "I was like, you're lying, you're lying to me. So, we were like, OK, well, let's turn on the news. If it's there, then maybe that's confirmed it."
The 22-year-old later said when the death had been confirmed, she had trouble processing it.
"I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't say anything," Sparks said. "I was in complete shock, and somebody had to sit me down before I fell over. And I just lost it. I lost it completely."
In "Sparkle," Houston plays Sparks' mother. It is a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name and follows three sisters who form a successful singing group and are subsequently forced to deal with the fallout of fame and drugs. The film marks the "American Idol" season 6 winner's big-screen acting debut.
The "Sparkle" reboot is Houston's fourth film. She also starred in the 1997 television movie "Cinderella" and in the 1996 film "The Preacher's Wife" opposite Denzel Washington. Houston made her own movie debut with the 1992 film "The Bodyguard."
According to "Nightline," the film had been in development for about 12 years and the late singer Aaliyah was originally cast in Sparks' role.
Debra Martin Chase, a longtime friend of Houston's and producer of the film, told the news program that Houston "saw herself in Jordin.
"When she wasn't working and Jordin was performing [she would say], 'I've got to come-- I've got to come up and see my baby,'" Chase said.
Houston and Sparks have a duet in the film called "Celebrate."
Sparks also recalled a moment behind the scenes where she shared an encouraging moment with Houston right before she was set to film her big song in the film called "One Wing."
"There was this moment where she came up from the audience and I was walking on the set," Sparks said. "She goes, 'Come here.' She's standing there, and she put my face in her hands, and she was like, 'You're everything that we were looking for,' and I just completely lost it."
In March, Sparks talked at Disney's Dreamers Academy about how Houston would joke with her on set.
"In serious scenes, if the camera was on me ... she was standing right here, it was the back of her head, she'd be making faces at me, trying to make me crack," Sparks said. "And I was like, 'I'm going to get you for that. I am going to get you for that.'"
Jordin Sparks' "Nightline" interview airs on ABC on August 13 at 11:35 p.m. ABC is the parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com.
Check out the trailer for "Sparkle" below.