It’s merely a coincidence that tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day edition of “Glee” features Amber Riley covering Whitney Houston‘s iconic version of “I Will Always Love You,” but following Houston’s death on Saturday, Feb. 11 at just 48 years old, the show will take the opportunity to honor the singer.
While no scenes will be added to the episode, entitled “Heart,” Entertainment Weekly reports that the show will end with a card dedicated to Houston’s memory.
Riley, who takes on the Houston cover during the episode, tells E! Online that she met the singer for the first time last Thursday, just two days before she died in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“I was really nervous,” she says. “I was battling if I wanted to go over there because she is such an icon and she is such an inspiration to me. But I went over there and I thanked her for letting us use her music and entrusting it with us on ‘Glee.’ And she said, ‘What show are you on, baby?’ I said ‘Glee’ and she said, ‘Oh, you’re welcome.’ And she rubbed my hand and she said, ‘God bless you’ and I walked away and I almost started crying.”
Naturally, Houston’s death has made a huge impact on the actress. “I was very broken up [after hearing the news],” Riley tells E!. “My dad actually called me and told me. He was like, ‘Are you driving because I’ll need you to pull over’ because he knows how much I love Whitney Houston. It was hard.”
Riley met Houston at Kelly Price’s pre-Grammy party in Los Angeles. “I didn’t need her to take a picture with me,” Riley says. “I didn’t need an autograph. The fact that she even acknowledged that I was standing there was enough for me.”
Thank goodness she did approach Houston, because she’ll always cherish their meeting. “She was very sweet to me. And I’m glad that that’s the memory I’m going to hold for the rest of my life.”
Listen to Riley’s “I Will Always Love You” cover below, and click here for the rest of this week’s “Glee” songs.