Chaka Khan Says Prince’s Death Got Her Off Painkillers
Khan said the longtime friends, whose paths crossed most notably with her hit 1984 cover of Prince's "I Feel For You," shared a special bond. "We thought very much alike; we were very kindred, in many, many ways," she told the Associated Press.
She was even once signed to his NPG Records imprint, with the two collaborating on Come 2 My House in 1998. But even though Khan considered herself to be a confidante of the notoriously private Prince, she says she had no idea that he was addicted to painkillers.
“I never, ever got any indication that he was on pills," she told The Guardian. "I knew he was doing certain things, I knew he had a couple of bouts with acid and all that. That’s OK. A one-off here and there, you got the money, you ain’t working. You like acid – go do it. But he was totally against drinking; he’d drink red wine occasionally, not a lot. He starved himself – he wouldn’t eat unless it was this or that; he was very particular. What comes to mind is someone who was very health conscious."
She says his sudden death prompted her to assess her own addiction and seek help. “Secrets kill," she explained. "Secrets kill, and if he hid from me for so many years where he was really at, and I was like his confidante in many ways, you know … It’s hard to keep a secret like that from me. So I learned a lot, you know. I just said: ‘I better go check myself.’ And I’m alive maybe because he’s dead. I went to a doctor and I said, ‘Here’s the deal’, and he told me there are certain pains you’ve just got to live with, that’s part of life.”
She continues to hold her relationship to Prince dear. Following his death in 2016, she went to Minneapolis for a tribute concert where she was joined by Stevie Wonder for a performance of "I Feel For You."
Watch Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder Perform "I Feel For You"
Apart from a cigarette habit, Khan is living a clean, vegan lifestyle while raising her granddaughter. She told The Guardian she's hopeful about what's next in her life and career. “At 65, I’m still looking forward to shit."