Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Jordin Sparks

Kevin Winter, Allen Berezovsky, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

It's been a year since Whitney Houston passed away on the eve of the 2012 Grammys, but her singular talent and spirit continue to inspire those whose who were fortunate enough to cross paths with the music icon.

E! News caught up with Jordin Sparks—who costarred with Houston in the last film she would ever make, Sparkle—at a tribute to the legendary diva Thursday in Hollywood.

And for this American Idol champ, her memories of Houston are as vivid as they are poignant.

"For me, personally, I just remember her because I got to experience her on set, and she was so fun and so full of life and just so sweet," Sparks told us at "For the Love of R&B: A Tribute to Whitney Houston."

"But then again, at the same time she'd walk into a room and command the room," the 23-year-old added. "You knew that when she came in, you were ready to go."

That legacy, Sparks says, will always stay with her. "For me, I'm gonna remember her in the new music that I do and in the memories that I have of her."

Meanwhile, Houston's ex-husband, Bobby Brown—whose turbulent relationship with the singer often cast him in an unfavorable light—sounded off about a new memoir about Houston written his former mother-in-law, Cissy Houston.

The tell-all, titled Remembering Whitney, drummed up controversy after the couple's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, denounced the book, which chronicles the singer's drug use and rocky marriage.

At will.i.am' s TRANS4M benefit Thursday at Avalon in Los Angeles, Brown told E! News that he has not read Cissy's book. And when pressed about Bobbi Kristina's criticism of it, he said, "My daughter has her own opinion, she's a young lady and I appreciate her opinions."

Whitney is set to be honored Saturday night a pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis, the legendary music mogul whom Houston often considered a second father.

—Reporting by Dan Wally and Chris Hall

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