Despite their failed engagement, Sheila E. revealed to Billboard magazine that she and the late singer Prince had a lifelong love. "We always loved each other,” she admitted. "He really did care for me.”
The seven-time Grammy winner proposed to his drummer back in 1987 during a European stop of his Sign O’ the Times tour. “It was during Purple Rain,” she revealed. "There were a couple of songs that I really loved, and sometimes in the middle of playing Purple Rain, like, my eyes are closed and I don’t know where I am and I don't know that I'm in front of 20 or 30,000 people. Prince turned around and looked at me.”
Sheila added, “We knew we had connected, we had gone to that peak musically -- and he proposed.”
Sadly for the couple, Prince’s six-month Lovesexy Tour (1988-89) put a strain on their relationship and they broke up shortly after. "Things were changing, the new music he was writing didn't feel right for me -- lyrically it was not saying much, he was cursing again and I had stopped cursing, and where was the melody? And I just didn't want to be around him,” she confessed.
The percussionist continued, "We both took it hard. It was the hardest [breakup] I ever had, because I had to break up with my best friend. It was like a divorce. It was horrible.” While they split, the 58-year-old revealed that they remained “just as close” post-breakup, however in a “totally different way.”
Since losing her old flame, Prince's longtime collaborator admitted it's been "too surreal." "It’s weird enough being in Paisley Park, walking in there and smelling him and him not being there. It broke my heart," she said.
On Saturday, Sheila attended the "somber" memorial service for the Oscar winner, who died at age 57 on April 21. Following the service, Prince's publicist Yvette Noel-Schure released a statement about the singer's final resting place saying his "remains have been cremated and their final storage will remain private."
Though fans may never know where Prince has been laid to rest, they can take comfort in knowing that his recording complex may be turned into a museum. "We're hoping to make Paisley what [Prince wanted] it to be. [He] was working on it being a museum," she told Entertainment Tonight. "[Prince had] been gathering memorabilia and stuff from all the tours, like my drums and his motorcycle."