Orianthi Panagaris also worked as a live musician for Michael Jackson
Prince passed away at his Paisley Park home in Minnesota last Thursday (April 21), aged 57. Tributes to the late music icon have ranged far and wide with President Obama saying “the world lost a creative icon” and musicians including Madonna, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and Katy Perry leading the tributes.
Speaking to Billboard, Cooper has now said: “The only real relationship we ever had was he kept trying to steal Orianthi out of my band”, referring to guitarist Orianthi Panagaris, who also worked as a live musician for Michael Jackson.
“Every time I talked to Orianthi she’d be on the phone and say, ‘It’s Prince again.’ I said, ‘Could you tell him that you’re with me for about the next year’ – [I was] kidding, of course.”
“I know that he liked to have pretty girls in his band. Other than that I don’t think I ever talked to the guy.”
Cooper went on to add that he had “total respect” for Prince, saying: “Nobody really got how good of a guitar player he was – just a great, great guitar player. Musicians knew how good he was. I don’t think the public knew how good he was, though.”
Reports state of Prince’s death that he was found collapsed in a lift and pronounced dead at 10.07am on Thursday (April 21). A postmortem has been carried out but no cause of death has yet been confirmed.
The star’s remains were cremated after a private memorial service held at Paisley Park on Saturday (April 23).
Prince’s lawyer recently dismissed reports that the singer died of a drug overdose.