Jennifer Hudson's Fantasy Duet With Whitney Houston

                                                                                                      (Matt Sayles/AP Photo)

Years before Jennifer Hudson paid a moving tribute to one of her biggest idols, Whitney Houston, the singer-actress told " Nightline" in a 2008 interview  that she used to fantasize about singing the superstar's iconic ballad with her.

"When she came out with 'I Will Always Love You,' I would create a duet between her and I … If you would hear her recording of singing it and you hear my voice singing the top harmony part and it's like 'ahhh' to me. That's Jennifer Hudson and White Houston's duet, around the house that is," Hudson said at the time.

Hudson gave a solemn performance of Houston's signature song, "I Will Always Love You," in memoriam to the 48-year-old superstar during Sunday night's Grammy Awards.  Her voice, alone, rang out across the stage and for a moment the audience could be fooled into thinking it was Houston performing one of her biggest hits.

Clearly holding back tears, Hudson, 30, concluded the song with the words, "Whitney, we love, we love you," and left the stage to rousing applause.

Houston's powerful rendition of "I Will Always Love You," which was released in 1992 and originally performed by country music legend Dolly Parton, became the anthem of her career. Hudson said Houston and her music had been the "ultimate" influence on her since childhood.

"Whitney Houston was probably the ultimate artist that influenced me the most," Hudson said in 2008. "I always loved everything she sang. But Whitney, that voice, you know, and that music - I always like the music and the substance and something behind it and her music was just like that."

ABC News' Steven Baker and Luchina Fisher contributed to this report.