How Prince Convinced Apollonia to Stop Dating David Lee Roth
Though she’d had small roles on TV shows like Night Rider, CHiPs and Fantasy Island, Apollonia’s breakthrough came via Prince’s 1984 hit film, Purple Rain.
The actress had always dreamed of stardom. An entertainer from an early age, she dropped out of high school to pursue a career in modeling, eventually becoming a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader.
Her first encounter with Prince came via Purple Rain’s open casting call. “I had his 1999 tape and thought it would be fun to work with him,” Apollonia recalled in a 2001 interview with People. But, according to the actress, Prince “was looking for not just a leading lady in a film but a leading lady in his life.”
The Purple Rain auditions came shortly after Prince had split with one of his former proteges, singer Vanity. The purple one was looking for new romance in his life and was intrigued by Apollonia. Only problem, she already had a boyfriend; Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth.
At Prince’s request, the actress broke up with the rocker. “Prince didn’t want me to be known for dating someone famous,” Apollonia admitted. “He made me promise I wouldn’t date anyone publicly during promotion of (Purple Rain).” Though she acquiesced to the stipulation and broke up with Roth, the actress didn't jump from one music icon to another. Apollonia has always insisted that she and Prince were "never in a relationship."
The demands extended beyond romantic life. Prince also had rules regarding what the actress ate and wore. “He wanted to make everyone clones of himself,” says Apollonia. “We had to sing like him and dress like him. I still love him, but there was a side of him that was just a tyrant.”
Purple Rain was a smash, earning over $70 million at the box office. While Apollonia's star power was raised by the film, the actress said people only saw her as one of Prince's "little purple soldiers." She would go on to have guest starring roles on several television series, including Falcon Crest and Sliders. Aside from the occasional reality show appearance, the actress has retired from the limelight in recent years, choosing instead to focus on her production company.