The 69-year-old singer has paid tribute to her goddaughter, claiming that while she was knowledgeable about the "challenges" the `I Will Always Love You` hitmaker - who died aged 48 on Saturday (11.02.12) - had, she was still impressed with how she dealt when critics mauled her voice during her last tour.
She said: "We were all aware of her challenges. And I was always rooting for her.
"Looking back now, I recall her European tour. Still exciting, but unable to sing what she wanted to had been disheartening. And yet she stood night after night and endured unappreciative audiences with the heart of a champion."
Aretha - who herself has battled personal problems in her life, most recently her weight - has seen previews for Whitney`s movie `Sparkle`, which will be released later this year, and admits she was delighted with how it looked.
She told People Magazine: "Seeing previews for the new `Sparkle` movie I thought, boy, she looks good. Healthy, fresh and has that twinkle in her eye."