Sinéad O'Connor Remembers Startling Encounter with Prince: 'The Loneliness of Fame Was His Undoing'

In her new memoir Rememberings, the Irish singer-songwriter reflects on the bizarre night she spent with Prince, who wrote her 1990 hit "Nothing Compares 2 U"

sinead o connor andprince
Sinéad O'Connor; Prince.

Sinéad O'Connor is opening up about a startling encounter she says she had with Prince.

In her new memoir Rememberings (out June 1), the Irish singer-songwriter lays bare her life, from an abusive childhood to her rise and fall from grace — and all the sex, drugs and rock and roll in between.

In an exclusive excerpt from the book, the Irish singer-songwriter writes about a night she spent with the late music legend.

The stars didn't know each other when she recorded his song "Nothing Compares 2 U." Here, O'Connor recalls the evening they later spent at his house after Prince invited her to "hang out."

remembering by sinead o connor
Sinéad O'Connor, Rememberings.

"You want a drink?" He smiles.

He turns to the cupboard for a glass. Then, quick as a flash, he slams the glass down and says, "Get it yourself."

I've seen this before. I grew up with it. I start mentally checking for exits.

He commences stalking up and down, one hand rubbing his chin, looking me up and down. He shouts at me, "I don't like the language you're using in your print interviews . . . I don't like you swearing."

"I don't work for you," I tell him. "If you don't like it, you can f--- yourself."

This pisses him off. He leaves the kitchen. [Later] he comes back with two pillows and says,"Why don't we have a pillow fight?" All smiles and nice. I think, It wouldn't be everyday that you'd get to have a pillow fight with Prince . . . let's try to make it a fun evening after the sh--ty start.

Only on the first thump, I realize he's got something stuffed in the pillow, designed to hurt. He ain't playing at all.

I make a run for it. I call my friend Ciara to pick me up.

Apparently there's some legal proceedings going on between [my manager] Steve and Prince. I've been the victim of an attack meant to terrorize Steve. I don't care.

I never wanted to see that devil again.

sinead oconnor
Sinéad O'Connor. Ellius Grace/The New York Times

Looking back now, "It certainly didn't change my opinion of him as an artist, which was the only opinion I could have had. I never knew him otherwise," O'Connor, 54, tells PEOPLE of the encounter. "Obviously, I came away not liking him very much and not particularly wanting to go around to see him again. But having said that, though, I won't lie. I didn't like the man."

Prince died in 2016, at the age of 57, of an accidental overdose on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Despite her strange encounter with icon, O'Connor says his death affected her deeply.

"I sobbed when he died," O'Connor says. "I just felt terribly sorry and sad for him of the loneliness of his death. The price you pay for being so successful is an awful, aching loneliness, and I think he was terribly lonely, terribly vulnerable. The loneliness of fame, I think, was his undoing."

For more on Sinéad O'Connor, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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