Mariah Carey choked back tears last night as she made an emotional speech about her friend and one-time duet partner, Whitney Houston at the BET Awards on Sunday (1 July).
Carey, who once duetted on record with the late Whitney Houston, received a standing ovation after she gave a heartfelt speech.
Carey said: “The first time I heard Whitney's voice I was mesmerised like the rest of the world. Just an unknown, budding singer myself, I was captivated by the power in her range, the richness of her tone and her unique ability to wrap a lyric in emotion.
“We were backstage at the Grammy Awards and we exchanged glances; I was in awe, a tiny bit scared because, hello, there was a couple, a few rumours out there that we had some kind of rivalry, and one thing we all know is that Whitney was not to be toyed with.
“We first worked together on Prince of Egypt, our Oscar-winning duet, and we got to spend a lot of time together... and we really got to know each other as people, not divas - okay, maybe occasionally it did get a little diva-ish, but that was just for laughs.”
Carey added: “She was a hilarious person with a cutting sense of humour, she was real and she kept it real and that's why we got along so well... If you really knew Whitney you couldn't help but love her.”
Carey began to get more emotional as she continued with the speech, speaking of the last time that she saw Whitney: “It was business as usual - laughter... and jokes galore. Even then folks were surprised to see us sitting right next to each other, clearly enjoying each other's company.”
She concluded: “I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice in laughter, but we'll always have the music. We'll always have that voice we fell in love with.”
Beyonce was also among the stars paying tribute to Houston as she dedicated her Best R&B Female Artist award to “my angel Whitney” earlier in the evening.