Charlene Friend tells People magazine she never saw her friend-turned-boyfriend take drugs during their years together, but looking back, she's convinced he was hooked on powerful painkillers.
Prince was found dead in the elevator at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota back in April, 2016 and an autopsy later confirmed he had overdosed on a drug called Fentanyl, which he stashed in over-the-counter pill bottles.
"He would sometimes stay up for five days at a time without sleep, food or even water, going nonstop back and forth to the studio," Charlene explains. "I had to sneak in catnaps to keep from passing out from exhaustion.
"The first time that happened, I asked him, 'How do you do this?' (He said), 'Angel food. Food of the spirit, not of the flesh'."
And Friend reveals Prince also battled sleeping problems when he did eventually close his eyes: "He would be shaking all through the night," she tells the publication. "The first time that happened, I asked him if he was having a nightmare and he said, 'No, I was dreaming music'. Even in his sleep, the music just poured out of him."
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Charlene's relationship with the Purple Rain singer soured and Prince sued her in 2003 after she attempted to sell gifts he gave her, but she remained close to members of his family, especially the star's late half-brother, who informed her of the singer's drug issues, telling Friend her ex-boyfriend was on "the cocaine diet".
She adds, "It was shocking to me to hear that. He hid it so carefully. I never saw him take even an aspirin. He seemed so health-conscious, always taking vitamins like echinacea and goldenseal.
"(But) nothing could match the highs he got from his shows. Coming down afterwards made him feel empty. Perhaps drugs filled that void."
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And the more she reflects on her time with Prince, the more she realises her former lover was addicted to drugs: "There were no grey areas. One day he would be in a good mood, and the next day he would be in this very deep, dark mood. Part of that was just his personality, but I now realise that the drugs enhanced that."
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