The singer was watching a movie when the news broke

By Liz Raftery
Updated February 17, 2012 11:15 AM
Credit: Getty

Whitney Houston’s death on Saturday at age 48 came as a shock to fans around the world, and was particularly devastating to her godmother, Aretha Franklin – who said she heard about the loss through a TV news report.

The Queen of Soul, 69, was enjoying a quiet night watching The Descendants in a hotel room in Charlotte, N.C., when she heard the news.

“Maybe two minutes after I [turned off the movie], it came across the screen,” Franklin, 69, told Al Roker on Friday’s Today show. “I jumped up off the side of the bed … I just said, ‘Oh my God. That’s not good.’ ”

Franklin, a longtime Houston family friend, said she was convinced Whitney was on the verge of a comeback after seeing a clip from her last film Sparkle.

Houston appeared “fresh, she looked healthy and she looked gorgeous,” according to Franklin. “And I thought, yes, she has conquered her challenges and was on the way.”

Regarding Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, Franklin said he needs “to step up to the plate and be responsible” in caring for the couple’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, 18.

In the end, Franklin told Roker, she hopes her goddaughter will be remembered for her vocal legacies and not the strange behavior she exhibited in recent years.

“She was having her problems, she was having her challenges, but a lot of people have challenges of all kinds,” said Franklin, who plans to sing at Houston’s funeral Saturday in Newark, N.J. “You cannot define a person on just one thing. You can’t just forget all these wonderful and good things that a person has done because one thing didn’t come off the way you thought it should come off.”

“She left home with all the right things,” Franklin said. “She just kind of lost her way along the way somewhere.”

The Associated Press will stream Whitney Houston’s private funeral service Saturday on its Livestream site, which will be available on