Musical genius Prince died April 21 at the age of 57. Subscribe now for an inside look into his private life and shocking death, only in PEOPLE.
June 1985 Playboy centerfold model Devin Devasquez is opening up about her fleeting but passionate romance with the late musical singer Prince in the 1980s.
“He was small, but such a sexy, charming guy. I was absolutely in love with him,” Devasquez, now an actress and producer, tells PEOPLE. “During the Purple Rain tour he would fly me to all of the concerts, all over the country.”
The pair dated on and off again for six months in 1985 – spending late nights together at extravagant after-concert parties and indulging in lavish early morning hotel meals.
“We used to go dancing with Sheila E. and his band, but he always told no one to talk to me,” she says. “He liked me to be mysterious, and so I was.”
Devasquez met Prince at a December 1984 Chicago concert after a member of the “Little Red Corvette” singer’s entourage showed a photo of the model to him before the show.
“Prince sent a limo to pick me up that night and put me front row center at the concert,” recalls Devasquez. “I saw how sexual he was on stage. Here I was very close to the stage and he was performing the whole concert to me and licking his hand and doing sexual gestures!”
The former model says she had never seen anything quite like that first exotic, sensual Prince performance.
“He ended up doing the splits and he split his pants and had no underwear on,” she says while laughing. “I put my hands to my mouth and said ‘Oh my God!’ He looked embarrassed.”
After the show, Prince’s bodyguard, Chick Huntsberry, drove Devin back to his hotel in a van. The vehicle spun out of control, through three lanes of traffic, and crashed into the medium. Devasquez says they ended up hitchhiking back.
“I’m in the [hotel] room lying down, with my eyes closed, trying to relax and all of a sudden I wake up and Prince is standing over the bed and looking down at me,” she says. “He looked very shy, he was not the [same] person he was on stage playing the whole concert to me and splitting his pants.”
The pair talked for hours that night – and Prince invited Devasquez to Sheila E.‘s birthday the next day.
“But I couldn’t [go] because the next day I flew to Los Angeles to meet Hugh Hefner for the first time!” she says. “When I got to the [Playboy] Mansion, I had a note waiting for me saying Prince would like to call ”
The day after Christmas, Devasquez received a call from him at 2 a.m. on the dot.
“He had a very deep phone voice,” she recalls. “He says ‘It’s Prince.’ He said, ‘I’m sorry I’m calling so late, I was performing and I’m a night owl.’ We talked on the phone for several hours.”
Devasquez says the Purple One called her every day – at the same time – for the next several days.
“I said, ‘You’re so different on the phone, in person you were so shy! How do I know this is really you?'” she says. “And so he had his tour manager make arrangements to fly me to Dallas on New Years Day 1985 for a show.”
When Devasquez arrived in Texas, Prince’s bodyguard was waiting for her with a handwritten note taped to his Around the World in a Day album that read: “I hope your trip was cool, this is my new album. It’s rather strange so maybe you’ll dig it.”
When she arrived at the concert venue, the “Purple Rain” singer immediately took her backstage.
“I stared at him in the mirror and he says, ‘Devin, I’m sure you’ve never seen a guy put on makeup before’,” she says. “He handed me one of his outfits and goes ‘Here put it on!’ and he says ‘You can have that!’ I went out into the audience and everyone thought I was Apollonia.”
After the show, Prince took Devasquez out dancing with Sheila E. and the band.
This routine – talking on the phone every night, flying to concerts and attending lavish after parties – continued on for six months.
“I escorted his dad, Mr. Nelson, to some of his concerts,” the former girlfriend recalls.
Devasquez says she was deeply “in love” with Prince, but that they mutually ended the relationship in the summer of 1985 when he told her there was “a controlling side to him” that he never wanted her to see.
“He was respectful of me and our relationship. He also knew I was old-fashioned and I wouldn’t be one of many girls,” she says. “We didn’t talk for months.”
But only one month after Devasquez’s photos appeared in the June 1985 Playboy issue, she says Prince called her from overseas while filming a music video in Nice, France.
“He phoned me from Nice and said he missed me and asked me to come see him,” she says. “I said ‘I thought you lived with someone?’ and he said ‘Well I miss you!” and I said “Well I miss you too, but it doesn’t work that way for me.’ ”
Devasquez says the person Prince was living with at the time was Susannah Melvoin.
For more on Prince’s private world and tragic death, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
The cause of the Prince’s death on April 21 at age 57 has yet to be revealed. And although longtime lawyer L. Londell McMillan insists that the singer was “not on any drugs that would be cause for concern,” sources confirm to PEOPLE that Prince had a history of using the prescription painkiller Percocet.
Devasquez, heartbroken over the loss of her former lover, says she wouldn’t be surprised if his death was in fact related to pain medication.
“I never saw him drink and never saw him do any drugs of any kind. He was a complete workaholic and immersed into his music,” she says. “My feeling is that he probably was in pain from all the dancing in high heels for all those years. He probably did hurt himself and my feeling is that he probably got addicted to pain pills as there was no way he would do drugs voluntarily, at least as I knew him.
“He didn’t tolerate anyone doing drugs around him. He was too controlling to want to be out of control for drugs,” says Devasquez. “He could have been in pain, he was always trying help other people anonymously. He didn’t have anyone to say, ‘Hey you need to rest!’ I wouldn’t be surprise if he was on pain medication.”