Jordin Sparks: Whitney Houston Was Like a Mother to Me on Sparkle Set

Jordin Sparks on Redbook's September 2012 cover. Gilles Bensimon/REDBOOK

Whitney Houston's role as Jordin Sparks' mother wasn't limited to the silver screen, according to the 22-year-old American Idol winner.

Houston, who passed away at age 48 in February, plays a single parent raising a musical prodigy (Sparks) in the upcoming movie Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 classic. "For me, she took on the mother role because my parents weren't there [during film production]," Sparks tells the September issue of Redbook. "She was always asking, 'Did I feel comfortable? Did I need anything?'"

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Several scenes in Sparkle feature heavy drug use, something Houston struggled with on-and-off throughout her career. "There are certainly some themes in the movie that everyone would have wanted to ask Whitney about like, 'Did you relate your own life to this part,' which I'm sure she would have answered honestly," Sparks says. "The cool thing about Whitney was that she was not scared to talk about or confront the things she had gone through."

"I do think there is a different aura around the film now," the multiplatinum singer adds.

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While Sparkle is Houston's final film, it's Sparks' first foray into the movie making business. "I get so overwhelmed because it's my first film [and it's] so deep and heavy," Sparks tells Redbook. "I got to work with one of my idols and sing with her, and she even played my mother. I don't know if anything will ever be as good as this."

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"Sometimes I ask myself, why did I deserve to have a part in a film like this?" Sparks continues. "I don't want this to come off crazy, but somebody said to me, 'It's like Whitney essentially passed the torch.' And to hear that, it's just nuts."

Sparkle, which also stars Tika Sumpter and Carmen Ejogo, is in theaters August 17.

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