Prince’s Escapades: Love, Dating and Throwing Punches

Prince was one of the most legendary and original musicians to come out of the 20th century. This man was able to put the Minneapolis music scene on the map while he cultivated a massive musical catalog. He cemented himself as an icon with his 39 albums over a 37-year long career. With his sensual music and suggestive lyrics, it’s obvious that Prince was a passionate person.

Prince and Misty Copeland / Carmen Electra and Price / Carmen Electra / Kim Basinger.

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And this couldn’t have been made clearer than the laundry list of women with whom he has had relationships. Many were other musicians who saw Prince as a mentor, while others were simply beautiful actresses. Whoever they were, they had a thing for Prince and were forever changed after being with him. Let’s explore the gaggle of gals who got to experience Prince in all his glory.

His First Wife, Mayte Garcia

The elusive, sensual man that we know as Prince was in not just one but two committed marriages! Mayte Garcia was the singer’s first wife, and their meet-cute is definitely an interesting story. In 1990, at just 16 years old, Garcia’s mother filmed her daughter dancing and gave the tape to Prince’s team while they were touring in Germany.

Mayte Garcia and Prince attend an event.

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The singer was immediately taken by the girl he saw in the recording, and within minutes he had brought her backstage to meet her. After that, they stayed in contact until she graduated from high school, and Prince took over legal guardianship responsibilities. He and his team made arrangements for her to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and for her to join the dancers on his Diamonds and Pearls Tour.

An Ode to His Beautiful Girl

During this time, she was the muse behind Prince’s Love Symbol album in 1992. After the release of that album, the two began a sexual relationship and began dating. During their courtship, Prince also wrote the song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” about Garcia. This song became one of his bigger hits in 1995. After four years of dating, Prince proposed to Garcia, and the two tied the knot.

Prince and Mayte perform together on stage.

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There must’ve been ridiculous amounts of love between the two of them as they held their marriage ceremony on February 14, 1996 – at least we know they never forgot their anniversary! Garcia was 22 years old at the time, and Prince was 37. That same year, the newlyweds announced that they were expecting a child together.

Tragedy Rocks the Couple

Garcia and Prince welcomed a baby boy that October. Their baby was born prematurely and with a rare genetic disorder called Pfeiffer syndrome. This meant that the baby had a skull defect that didn’t allow for his head to grow properly. Tragically, he passed away less than a week after his birth. Prince and Garcia had an incredibly tough time coming to terms with this loss, especially when they appeared on Oprah only days after their son’s death.

A still from Garcia and Prince during The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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The couple pretended that everything was fine and attempted to cover it up for months through falsified documents and refusing to address it publicly. To the public, their child was known as Boy Gregory and only years later was his real name, Amiir Gregory Nelson, released to the public.

Unable to Move Past Their Loss

Garcia and Prince leaned on each other to get through this tragic loss. They discovered that they were expecting again, only to suffer a miscarriage. It was a lot for any couple to endure but seems slightly tougher for a famous one in the public eye. These experiences were too much and sadly affected the couple’s relationship. Within two years of these losses, Garcia and Prince separated.

Garcia and Prince attend an event.

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Coincidentally, their marriage was officially nullified in 1999 on the third anniversary of their wedding day. After the annulment, Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness. This shift in religion didn’t hold him back when it came to his dating escapades. Garcia went on to become a choreographer and is best known for her choreography for Britney Spears’s 2001 music video “I’m a Slave 4 U.”

Manuela Testolini, Prince’s Second Wife

After ending his first marriage, Prince was able to find love once again, and this time with a native Canadian! Manuela Testolini met Prince while she was one of the hired consultants for one of his foundation’s charity events. The singer was 43 years old when their paths crossed, and Testolini was only 25 years of age.

Manuela Testolini and Prince arrive at an event.

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The two lovebirds only knew each other for a short time before tying the knot in 2001, about two years after Prince’s first marriage had officially ended. Unlike her husband, Testolini was not heavily featured in the spotlight nor really seen in celebrity circles.

A Woman Passionate About Philanthropy

They met at a charity event. Philanthropy was one of her life’s passions. She spent the majority of her time focusing on philanthropic efforts. In addition to these endeavors, Testolini also headed a production company called Gamillah Incorporated that was based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Manuela Testolini and Prince at an auditorium.

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She was strategically able to use this company to help promote other non-profits that aligned with her value on charity. Testolini and Prince were happily married for five years before she filed for divorce in 2006. Before it was finalized in 2007, Prince was outspoken about how hurt he was by this separation.

Unclear Reason for Separation

The Star Tribune, a newspaper out of Minnesota, moved to unseal the couple’s divorce papers as they had kept the whole thing incredibly private. Testolini was adamantly against it but lost as the newspaper won and discovered that the reason behind the separation was never truly clarified.

Manuela Testolini attends an event.

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After finalizing her divorce from Prince, Testolini went on to marry another celebrity-connected person. In 2011, she married Eric Benet, who had been married to Halle Berry before meeting Testolini. Testolini and Benet have two daughters, and Testolini is the founder and president of the In A Perfect World Foundation.

Becoming Carmen Electra

Perhaps one of the most well-known of Prince’s exes is Carmen Electra, whose life was forever changed when she crossed paths with the musician. Born Tara Leigh Patrick, she relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1991. This move is what served as a catalyst for the rest of her career.

Carmen Electra attends an event.

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In Minnesota, she met the legendary musician Prince. Prince was actually the one who suggested that the name Tara didn’t suit her. He was the one who came up with the moniker Carmen Electra, and it stuck. He ended up signing her to his record label, Paisley Park Records and got to work.

The Electra Effects of a Prince Relationship

The two were romantically linked starting in 1991 when she moved to Minneapolis. He helped produce the record that would become her 1993 debut and only musical venture. They allegedly separated in 1993, shortly before her debut album came out. He oversaw and coached her throughout their relationship regarding her musical career.

A portrait of Carmen Electra.

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For the remainder of his life, Electra considered Prince a beloved mentor and always gushed about how much she cared for him. She attributed many of her successes and her high level of confidence to her relationship with him.

Madonna: The Queen of Pop

Believe it or not, THE Queen of Pop was among many who had some sort of a relationship with The Purple One. Madonna was hitting a stride in her career during the ’80s as Prince was also receiving lots of success.

A picture of Madonna and Prince.

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The two musicians were introduced to each other backstage at the 1985 American Music Awards. After a bit of flirting and feeling other’s vibes out, they agreed to go out on a date. Interestingly enough, their first date was one of his concerts, which takes a lot of confidence.

Two Months of Passion

They ended up driving to the show together, and Prince’s friends recalled her being very forward about her intentions and Prince having to essentially swat her advances to save energy for his show. Well, she didn’t take it personally as it wasn’t their only date.

Madonna attends an event.

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The two pop culture icons saw each other for two more months when Prince asked her to make things official. Madonna and Prince saw their relationship very differently: for her, physical, and for him, spiritual. She declined his offer because she didn’t want to be chained down. After her refusal, Prince broke it off.

Reconciling as Friends

Initially, Madonna didn’t take the break-up very well but was able to find a way to stay friendly with him. Prince ended up duetting on Madonna’s song “Love Song,” in addition to playing guitar on several other tracks on her Like a Prayer album. During the ’90s, their paths didn’t really cross.

Madonna performs a tribute to Prince on stage.

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In 2015, she was invited to Paisley Park for an after-party after one of her performances in Minnesota. When the news that he had passed away broke in 2016, she was one of the women who shared a post in tribute to him and their past relationship.

The Co-Founder of The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs

The Bangles had steady growth in the early ’80s while Prince’s records were getting heavy rotation on nearly all of the radio stations. Prince was infamous for writing fantastic songs under a pen name, which is how he crossed paths with The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs.

Susanna Hoffs performs on stage.

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In 1984, Prince wrote a song called “Manic Monday” that he had originally sung as part of a duet with Apollonia 6. Before they released their record, he decided to pull the song. Shortly after, Prince discovered the music of a band called The Bangles and wanted to meet them.

Possible Attempt to Woo the Vocalist

After performing on stage with the band during one of their performances, Prince presented the song to the band. Enter Susanna Hoffs, co-founder, singer, and guitarist for the band. The rumor mill started spitting out theories that the song was originally inspired by Hoffs and that he was trying to use the song to convince her to sleep with him.

Prince kisses Susanna Hoffs on stage.

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There was even the allegation that his plan worked, especially after the meeting with the band when he offered them the single! Neither of them confirmed or denied these rumors, so it’s up to us what we think happened.

Prince’s First Serious Girlfriend: Susannah Melvoin

Susannah Melvoin comes from a musical family, so it was no surprise that musical performance is what brought her and Prince together. Melvoin’s sister had started performing with The Revolution, which Prince had assembled to perform and record songs with.

Susannah Melvoin performs on stage.

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It went through a couple of lineup and name changes before their name, The Revolution, was settled. Melvoin’s sister joined the group in 1983. Whenever Prince was in Los Angeles, he would crash at Melvoin’s sister’s place, which is where he first crossed paths with Melvoin.

Smitten With Susannah

He met her, was instantly smitten, and started giving her undivided attention. Melvoin would constantly go to the studio to visit Prince while he was working and ended up witnessing his creative process. The two started spending time together outside of band practices and eventually started dating.

Prince and Susannah attend an event.

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Many historians consider Melvoin to be the first serious girlfriend Prince ever had. Their relationship was going so well that Prince proposed to her, and the two were engaged in 1985. Prince had a musical project on the side, called The Family, that he had Melvoin join as the co-lead singer.

Songs Dedicated to His Girlfriend

Then, he decided to write four songs specifically alluding to his love for Melvoin: “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “Empty Room,” “Crystal Ball,” and “Nothing Compares 2 U.” The success of Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” earned a Song of the Year nomination for Prince at the 1990 Grammy Awards.

Prince performs on stage.

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Melvoin regards the songs with love and appreciates that she had someone who was so willing to express their feelings for her so freely in a song. Prince and Melvoin ended up calling off their engagement but stayed on good terms with each other.

Kim Basinger: An ’80s and ’90s Sex Symbol

The Hollywood actress is one of the only non-musical women who captured the musician’s heart, even if it wasn’t for a super lengthy amount of time. Known for a suggestive Playboy spread and embodying sensual characters, Basinger caught the attention of Prince.

Kim Basinger and Prince sit in a restaurant.

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In 1989, she starred opposite Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” Prince had signed on to record the album for the feature film and met Basinger through that project. She ended up recording an album that was never released, which was produced by Prince.

Did They Record a Song While Having Sex?!

The two dated throughout 1989, and Basinger was featured on Prince’s The Scandalous Sex Suite EP as her character from the Batman film. Basinger contributed with spoken dialogue or suggestive moans made to sound like she was orgasming during the recording session.

Basinger and Prince hide their faces from the camera.

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Rumors swirled that the entire recording experience was actually done while the couple was actively having intercourse. If this rumor did turn out to be factual, some of the lyrics would make a lot more sense, like “2night why don’t we skip all the foreplay, mama / And just get down here on the floor?”

Genuinely Fond Memories

Years after the relationship ended, Basinger did an interview with The Daily Beast. Though Prince is one of the bigger names she had been romantically linked with, oftentimes, interviewers didn’t ask her about him since they were together for such a short amount of time.

A portrait of Kim Basinger.

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In this particular conversation, she was asked to reflect on her relationship with the singer. Basinger shared that she considers that time in her life as an incredibly special one and that she enjoyed her time with Prince because they connected on another level with each other.

Legendary Drummer Sheila E.

One of the most successful women Prince ever worked with, Sheila E., is one of the most talented women that the singer was ever romantically linked to. In 1977, Sheila E. performed a concert with her dad.

Sheila E. and Prince perform on stage together.

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After the show, Prince and his bass guitarist came up to her and started off with the pick-up line, “We were just fighting about which one of us would be the first to be your husband.” What an opening line! Though nothing happened then, officially that is, the two did eventually working together on Prince’s Purple Rain recordings.

Mixing Work With Pleasure

That’s when their professional and romantic relationships started to blur together. She was the opening act on his Purple Rain tour, and they started dating while Prince was still with Susannah Melvoin. They separated while getting his romance life in order, though he still worked on music projects together.

Sheila E. and Prince are arriving for a tour.

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From 1987 to 1989, Sheila E. was promoted from drummer to both drummer and musical director while Prince was on tour. During his Lovesexy Tour, Prince asked Sheila E. to marry him while performing on stage together. The two were engaged for a short period, but nothing became of it.

His Most Successful Protégé

As one of the most successful protégés of Prince, she released a lot of her own music at the same time that she was working with Prince in the late ’80s. She was also part of his “Sign O’ the Times” concert movie.

Prince performs on stage with Sheila E.

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After Sheila E. left Prince’s team, she struck out on her own and was nominated for many prestigious awards. But she always agreed to team up with Prince for select performances. After Prince passed away, she was a central figure at many of the televised musical tributes to him and his work.

Sexual Healing With Nona Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s daughter, Nona Gaye, met Prince at the age of 18 when they started their collaborative partnership as well as their romantic relationship in the early ’90s. They dated for three years, during which reporters started calling the singer, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

A portrait of Nona Gaye.

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Gaye was very taken with him and was absolutely crushed when it all came to an end. The first theory of how they split was that Prince broke up with her after proposing. Another is that Gaye showed up to one of his performances and was confronted with an engagement ring on Mayte Garcia’s hand.

Denise “Vanity” Matthews

Denise Matthews’ life shifted when she agreed to be Rick James’ plus one to the 1980 American Music Awards. At the awards show, she met Prince. Prince was the one who dubbed her “Vanity” because he thought she was the human form of the word.

Denise ‘’Vanity’’ Matthews poses for an album cover.

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In an interview years later, she admitted that she would’ve preferred something along the lines of old school Diana Ross. After discovering that she could sing, Prince made the lead vocalist of his girl group, Vanity 6. She was also his first choice for the lead role in his film “Purple Rain.”

Overcoming Battles and Demons

In 1983, the two were put on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and had a romantic relationship for a couple of years. In 1994, many years after Prince and Vanity had stopped dating, she got sober following a cocaine overdose. Paired with her sobriety, Vanity also became a born-again Christian and found solace in religion.

A portrait of Denise ‘’Vanity’’ Matthews.

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In her 2010 autobiography, she wrote that Prince was the only man she ever loved. Sadly, Vanity passed away from kidney failure in February 2016. Prince was touring when he learned of her death and dedicated two songs that night in her memory.

Patricia Apollonia Kotero aka Apollonia

Only after Vanity decided against appearing in Prince’s “Purple Rain” movie did he meet his next protégé turned lady lover. Enter Patricia Apollonia Kotero, a 24-year-old Mexican model. In classic Prince fashion, after their meeting, she started going by just her middle name, Apollonia.

Prince embraces Apollonia in a scene from Purple Rain.

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She was cast as the female lead opposite Prince in the movie. She became part of the girl group Apollonia 6 and began dating Prince around the same time. Together they wrote the first version of “Manic Monday,” which was later a hit record for Susanna Hoffs and her band, The Bangles.

Moving On From Purple Rain

They spent plenty of time together as Prince was in charge of the band, but they also spent much of their free time together. It remains unclear when their relationship started or finished because he was also seeing Susan Moonsie, one of the other actresses from Purple Rain, at the same time.

Apollonia and Prince perform on stage.

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Apollonia left Prince’s music scene after their break-up and nabbed a reoccurring role on the CBS soap opera Falcon Crest. From there, she continued to dabble in other guest appearances and was included in the 25th-anniversary event for Purple Rain in 2009.

Fellow Minnesotan Susan Moonsie

As far as public records show, Susan Moonsie is one of two lucky ladies to have grown up in Minnesota who was ever linked with Prince. In 1982, Moonsie became a member of the group Vanity 6. Prince worked closely with this group and Apollonia 6, of which Moonsie was a member after Vanity 6 disbanded.

Susan Moonsie performs on stage.

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Being the imaginative visionary that he was, Prince rebranded her image to invoke more of a younger Lolita feel. Moonsie and Prince had an on-and-off relationship between 1980 and 1985. They went on the Dirty Mind Tour together.

Growing Closer on Tour

While touring, Moonsie and Prince became a lot closer, which helped propel their relationship from strictly work to something more. Many have suggested that Prince wrote the song “When Doves Cry,” and potentially also “Private Joy,” about his relationship with Moonsie.

A portrait of Moonsie.

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Though only a teenager when she got together with Prince, she was the one who ended up calling it off. Rumor has it that she ended it in 1993 after she could tell that Prince was into Denise “Vanity” Matthews. Others say that they may have rekindled briefly in 1994 before he started his serious relationship with Susannah Melvoin.

Publicly Bria Valente, Privately Brenda Fuentes

Prince’s last publicly confirmed girlfriend was Brenda Fuentes, who went by the stage name Bria Valenta. Their relationship began about a year after Prince finalized his divorce from Manuela Testolini. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Valente first met Prince as a teenager during a jam session at his recording studio.

Prince and Bria Valenta attend a fashion show.

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After returning to Minneapolis after years of modeling in L.A., Valente started her mentorship with Prince. By 2010, the two were officially dating, and she joined him religiously by becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. They were together for a short period before splitting up, though who initiated it or why is unknown.

Sherilyn Fenn

Most famous for her role on Twin Peaks, Sherilyn Fenn was in a short-lived relationship with Prince. For two people in the entertainment industry, the way they met could not have been more normal. She had been out at a nightclub with friends and spotted Prince from across the room.

A portrait of Sherilyn Fenn.

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One of his people approached her and inquired if it would be alright if Prince gave her a call. She quickly wrote her number down, and Prince did end up calling her. The pair dated briefly in the ’80s but remained lifelong friends even after breaking up.

Anna Fantastic aka Anna Garcia

Anna Garcia was only fifteen years old when she went to a Prince concert and met the singer in London. The two stayed in touch, and when she turned seventeen, Garcia moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to live with Prince in the early ’90s. He gave her the name Anna Fantastic, which she used professionally for some time.

Prince and Anna Garcia attend an event.

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She lived there with him for several years, during which time she inspired several of his songs. Garcia inspired “Pink Cashmere,” “Vicki Waiting,” and “Lemon Crush,” with the last two being featured on the 1989 Batman soundtrack Prince made.

Misty Copeland: ABT’s First Black Ballerina

Misty Copeland and Prince forged a really wholesome friendship that many tabloid magazines assumed was also secretly sexual. Copeland came into the spotlight when she became the first Black woman to earn a principal ballerina spot in the American Ballet Theater company.

Misty Copeland and Prince arrive at an event.

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Among other notable names, Prince was someone really inspired by Copeland’s talents and her story. Many considered her his new muse in the late 2000s. What set her apart from other women who had inspired Prince was the fact that he contacted her instead of the other way around.

Whispers of a Romantic Relationship

He reached out to ask her to appear in his music video for 2009’s “Crimson and Clover.” The video shoot went over so well that he recruited her to join him on stage to dance during his Welcome 2 America tour, when her ballet schedule permitted, of course.

Misty Copeland and Prince perform together on stage.

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This began an on-and-off, four-year working relationship with Prince. This fueled rumors that it was more than a working relationship, but they both adamantly denied these claims as she was dating Olu Evans at the time (whom she married in 2016).

Credits Prince With Boosting Her Confidence

Copeland was one of the celebrities who was visibly upset by the news of Prince’s death. In many interviews that brought up their history, she always made sure to mention just how much she valued the time she got to work with him.

A portrait of Misty Copeland.

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She mentioned that she appreciated the relationship she had with Prince because of how he pushed her to be more confident in herself. Copeland credited Prince with giving her both her coolest performance experience but also some of the most genuine feedback she’s gotten throughout her career.

An Altercation With Sinead O’Connor

Prince wrote and recorded the song Nothing Compares 2 U for a side project of his in 1985. He used to jokingly tell the press that the song, by itself, helped him to afford to buy a house. Sinead O’Connor, the singer from Ireland, recorded her version of his song for her second album.

Sinead O’Connor performs on stage.

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Her version got lots of airtime on the radio, and the music video was on heavy rotation on MTV. Her version would eventually be considered the #1 Single of 1990 Worldwide by Billboard Magazine. To this day, this specific song is what she’s best known for.

Reclaiming Sinead O’Connor’s Version

After Prince recognized how successful O’Connor’s version of the song was, he reclaimed it and began performing it as part of his tours. Both artists were able to find their own success with this single. In an interview with Uncut Magazine, O’Connor mused about how she had been such a huge fan of Prince and his music.

O’Connor in a still from a music video.

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She had been completely blown away by the public’s response to her version of the single. Then she surprisingly slipped in that they ended up not liking each other when they first met, even alleging that it turned into a violent encounter.

They Came to Blows

O’Connor later explained that she had been invited to his home after releasing her version of the single because they had never met each other before she covered his song. When they got to talking, Prince expressed his disdain for the fact that O’Connor used profanity in interviews.

A portrait of Prince.

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She ended up responding by telling him to f*** off. And that set off The Purple One. O’Connor said that he got so violent that she had to escape from his home at around five in the morning because of how powerful his punch was.