Whitney Houston, Beverly Johnson

Richard Young/Startraks Photo; D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Whitney Houston's death has rattled Hollywood.

But after a life of award-winning highs and tragic lows, Houston's long-time friend, model Beverly Johnson, says she knows the late singer is now in a better place...

"I knew Whitney since she was a teenager," Johnson told us of at last night's Hollywood premiere of Tyler Perry's Good Deeds. "She was modeling and I was introduced to her. I was the big model then and she was the new girl on the block. So we always had this kind of mutual love for one another. It's sad."

Johnson will never forget being at the Beverly Hills listening party for Houston's last album, I Look to You, in 2009.

Echoing what Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren told us at the Grammys, Johnson said, "She was back. She was amazing. We talked a lot."

"I know one thing," she added. "She's in a great place. She's most certainly an angel with such a sweet soul."

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