Prince Protege Vanity Has Died at 57, But Who Was She Really?

The singer Vanity, a Prince protege from the 1980s,  died on Monday at a hospital in Fremont California. She had been suffering from sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis and had been on “a peritoneal type of dialysis for six years,” according to a heartbreaking “gofundme” page that chronicles her recent health struggles.

So who was Vanity besides one of Prince’s sex kittens and lead singer of the girl group Vanity 6 who recorded the hit “Nasty Girl?”

Vanity was born in Canada (who knew?) as Denise Katrina Matthews to a Polish mother and an African-American father.

Matthews started out as a model after winning beauty pageants in her hometown. She was only 5’6″ so her modeling never brought her to supermodel status.

She was also an actress, starring in the cult favorite “The Last Dragon” and “Action Jackson.”

Matthews not only dated Prince but also had serious relationships with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe and Billy Idol -which is why Idol tweeted a RIP about her passing (yes, he’s still alive).


Matthews succumbed to the excesses of Hollywood- cocaine and crack cocaine, which is described in SIxx’s  2007 autobiography: The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, and also in her 2010 autobiography Blame It On Vanity.

She renounced her Vanity persona after overdosing on crack cocaine and suffering from renal failure, and became a “born-again Christian.”
Watch her testify. Rest in peace Denise Katrina Matthews.

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