Prince's protégé Apollonia Kotero feels late star's presence six years after his passing

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Prince’s longtime protégé Apollonia Kotero opened up about how she feels the late singer’s presence more than six years after his passing.

‘No matter how much time goes by, he’s everywhere,’ the Santa Monica, California native, 62, told People on Wednesday. ‘I see him in everything.’

The seven-time Grammy winner, who had timeless hits with tracks including 1999, When Doves Cry and Raspberry Beret, died at the age of 57 on April 21, 2016 from an accidental fentanyl overdose at his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

The latest: Prince's longtime protégé Apollonia Kotero, 62, opened up about how she feels the late singer's presence more than six years after his passing. She was pictured in LA in 2019

The latest: Prince’s longtime protégé Apollonia Kotero, 62, opened up about how she feels the late singer’s presence more than six years after his passing. She was pictured in LA in 2019

Kotero said she’s reminded of her late friend when she hears his songs, which often surface wherever she is.

‘I go to a restaurant and Purple Rain comes on or I get in my car and Take Me with U comes on,’ she told the outlet.

Kotero recalled how she initially met Prince while auditioning for a role in his 1984 film Purple Rain, and they remained friends until his death.

She said the iconic musical artist ‘was very gentle and very shy,’ recalling he was eating spaghetti at the time.

Kotero (pictured in LA in 2015) said,'No matter how much time goes by, he's everywhere ... I see him in everything'

Kotero (pictured in LA in 2015) said, ‘No matter how much time goes by, he’s everywhere … I see him in everything’

Kotero recalled how she initially met Prince while auditioning for a role in his 1984 film Purple Rain, and they remained friends until his death

Kotero recalled how she initially met Prince while auditioning for a role in his 1984 film Purple Rain, and they remained friends until his death 

‘I never knew in that moment that my odyssey with Prince would last a lifetime,’ said Apollonia, who has a podcast called Apollonia Studio 6.

Kotero said that she and the late singer ‘were family’ and ‘trusted each other,’ often chatting in late night phone calls, as she said the star ‘never slept.’

She said that while they were never romantically-involved, she had ‘a little mini-crush one time’ on the artist, recalling details of the occasion.

‘He was performing “Computer Blue” and he was oily and shirtless and for a moment I was like, “He’s really sexy,” but then I got myself together,’ she said. ‘We had great chemistry. But our romance was only onscreen.’

Kotero recalled details of the late Kiss artist’s personality, including a penchant for practical jokes and eye for detail.

‘He was a prankster!’ she said. ‘He’d put salt in my desserts. And he was competitive! He challenged us, but he also brought out the best of us. He was a perfectionist.’

Kotero was snapped at the LA premiere of Purple Rain in July of 1984

Kotero was snapped at the LA premiere of Purple Rain in July of 1984

The friends were seen with one another attending the 1991 ASCAP Awards

The friends were seen with one another attending the 1991 ASCAP Awards 

The singer was snapped at the American Music Awards in November of 2015, six months before his death

The singer was snapped at the American Music Awards in November of 2015, six months before his death 

She said that the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer was sometimes uncomfortable with his massive celebrity, but embraced his status as the consummate showman.

‘The fame became a challenge for him,’ Kotero said. ‘He was modest. But he became alive on stage and became the Prince we all know and love.’

Kotero said she last saw the Let’s Go Crazy artist at a party in the weeks before his death, as ‘he was a little quiet and he didn’t look the same.

‘Out of the blue he said, “Some people think I look too thin,” but then he shrugged his shoulders. When we said goodbye, I told him I loved him, and he told me, “I love you too.”‘

Kotero said she ‘became severely depressed’ in the ‘horrible’ days following his death, and had been in therapy to help with her grief.

She told the outlet of her late friend: ‘Prince gave me beautiful gifts. He is my legacy. And he will live on forever.’

The late artist is slated to be honored this summer with a mural in his native Minneapolis by renowned street painter Hiero Veiga, 33, according to the organization Crown Our Prince. Painting of the mural will commence May 16 on a structure near First Avenue and 8th Street, according to the AP, and unveiled June 2.

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