Madonna may be the Queen of Pop, but she rose to her rank around the same time as another legend: the late Whitney Houston. In a recent interview, Madge opened up about the loss of Houston and other stars taken before their time, including Amy Winehouse.

“I, probably like everybody else, was hit by this shocking sense of disbelief — especially with Whitney Houston,” Madonna told the Sun (quotes via Idolator). “It had not been a secret, the struggles Amy had been through — both brilliant, brilliant artists and obviously both huge losses. But when these things happen, I’m always shocked by the first thing you say — ‘It’s such a loss’ — which doesn’t quite cover it," she mused. "Then you reflect and you think, ‘How did it happen? How did the people around them allow it to happen?’”

Madonna had more warm words for Houston, which may come as a bit of a surprise, seeing as Madge sometimes can appear to be a bit of an ice queen. “One thing I was struck by with Whitney Houston is I remember she sort of came out as a singer around the same time I did," Madonna said. "I remember looking at her singing and hearing people talk about her, and just thinking, ‘Oh my God. She’s such a beautiful woman and my God, what an incredible voice. I wish I could sing like that,’" she gushed. So sweet!

Madonna also noted something many of Houston's peers did: In addition to a beautiful voice and stunning looks, Houston also had a pure heart. "I just remember being extremely envious of her and also touched by her innocence.”