Apollonia Kotero was more than Prince's love interest in Purple Rain. She was his protégé and a woman he loved offscreen. And on Monday, at a screening of Purple Rain in Beverly Hills, Calif., Kotero made her first appearance since the singer's April death.
During the screening’s Q&A, Kotero talked about the auditions for Purple Rain.
"I was the last person they saw for the audition. Nia Peeples had just walked out of the room. I walked in and they asked me to take my shoes off. I thought, 'Wow, they're into feet,’” Kotero said. "Later I learned they were flying me to Minneapolis to meet Prince, who takes me out for a ride in a purple limo. He was very reserved and shy. I'm like Chatty Cathy. The next day we do an audition at First Avenue. I wore black spandex and a metal mesh blouse. Later, there's a knock at my hotel door and it's Chick from his security team: 'The kid likes you. Play it cool.’”
And from that day on, Kotero and Prince's relationship blossomed.
Before the screening of the film, Kotero wrote a touching message on Facebook about Prince and how she's been coping with his death.
“I feel like your widow,” Kotero wrote on Facebook. “I was so excited because you were going to bring me back to Paisley Park to see the finished Purple Rain Room with our images in murals painted on the walls. You wanted to celebrate with A6 and present to us our Platinum Albums.”
She went on to explain how she had been scheduling time to see Prince before his death. “The weekend of April 15, 2016, you knew I was on my way to see you. I kept calling your manager to confirm my arrival, and continued to call for you desperately to no avail.”
Kotero then flashed back to the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain in 2014, and the time they spent together before the benefit concert.
“On June 28th, 2014, at your home at Paisley Park, I told you when you love someone so much for so long, you become as one. As we have. I gave you a bejeweled gold crown charm I bought for you at Kensington Palace. […] We kissed. We both had tears. I leaned my head on your shoulder. You celebrated us that night. Our 30th Anniversary.
“We spoke about family, love, music, and the future,” she continued. “Deep discussions. How we are family. 33 years now. You wrote another song about us, you proudly tell me. You show me the meme ‘This Could Be Us.’ Your happy face lit up. I gushed as always. I kiss you again. The plans you share with me take my breath away. You are so gracious.
“My Purple Rain family has been my glue,” Kotero wrote. “My heart needs more time. I really miss your laughter. Your silly voices. But mostly, I miss your pancakes.”
Read Kotero's full letter to Prince here.