“Purple Rain” Actress, Apollonia, Speaks Out & Pays Tribute To Vanity

Posted On : February 19, 2016
Apollonia (L); Denise "Vanity" Matthews (R)
Apollonia (L); Denise “Vanity” Matthews (R)

The actress/singer who replaced the late, Denise “Vanity” Matthews in the 1984 film, Purple Rain, Apollonia Kotero, spoke out this week to pay homage to her “idol,” Vanity, who sadly passed away on February 15, 2016. Prince’s Purple Rain co-star spoke with The Associated Press and expressed how much she idolized Vanity back in the day.

Prince and Apollonia in "Purple Rain"
Prince and Apollonia in “Purple Rain”

In case you haven’t heard, it was Prince’s protege’ and then girlfriend, Vanity, who the part Apollonia played was originally written for. There was a change of plans at the last minute during the pre-production phase of Purple Rain, after Prince and Vanity had gotten into an argument- a lover’s quarrel if you will- and Vanity walked away from the film. Prince had to quickly find a replacement, so he chose Apollonia and thus the birth of Apollonia 6, with the other two original members, Brenda and Susan, emerged.

Vanity (L) with Apollonia (R)
Vanity (L) with Apollonia (R)

Now here is what Apollonia said this week about Vanity, whom she eventually became friends with back in the day:
“She was an inspiration to me, just like she was to all the ladies that followed. She was a pioneer, a strong woman, she was a diva, the princess of funk…the audiences absolutely adored her.”

prince and vanityApollonia said that she and Vanity had kind of lost contact over the years, but more recently had been keeping in touch through social media. She also says that she still has the magazine cover that features Prince and Vanity together because she always admired their love and their accomplishments in music: “[When I saw it], I thought, I wish I could do that someday,” she said. “I want to be like them; I want to be special like them,” Apollonia said to the AP.

Prince with his then girlfriend, Vanity
Prince with his then girlfriend, Vanity

After Prince and Vanity eventually broke up in 1984, Vanity did an interview with People Magazine that same year where she revealed “I needed one person to love me, and he [Prince] needed more.” Vanity and Prince later became great friends.

Prince also recently paid a touching tribute to Vanity at his concert.

It’s still almost unbelievable that Vanity has passed away so young, only 57 years old. The beautiful thing about this though, is that Denise Vanity Matthews seemed to be at peace with taking her last breathe. As we reported a few days ago, those close to her revealed that while attending church services just a few days before she passed away, she stated to the congregation that she was “ready to go home,” meaning depart from this earth. May our beloved Vanity have a wonderful, peaceful rest.