For many, the death of beloved singer-actress Aaliyah on Aug. 25, 2001, was a devastating loss that still weighs heavily on the hearts, souls, minds and records of those who loved her. And as friends and fans reflect on her life on the 10th anniversary of her death, few have more to say about Aaliyah than her then-boyfriend, Damon Dash, who recently shared stories of their love with Billboard’s The Juice and opened up about losing his girlfriend 10 years ago.
“My heart was broken. Nothing prepares you for that,” said Dash of Aaliyah’s death.
Dash and Aaliyah originally met through a friend, Dash’s accountant, who introduced them in 2000. And from their initial meeting grew a friendship that eventually turned into love.
“She was intelligent and she caught me,” Dash said. “I’m the kind of guy who says things sometimes just to make myself laugh, but she would just catch me making jokes for me. I couldn’t get anything past her. She had a very quick mind and a very kind heart.”
As Dash explains, throughout most of their relationship, finding time between their equally busy schedules to enjoy the loving moments of their relationship was more than a hefty task. But despite their near-constant separation, the two remained intent on staying united.
“She was always working and shooting movies. She was always gone for like four months at a time, then [she'd] come back and be gone for another month. She had to rehearse and I was doing my own thing, so it was really hard for us to get long stretches of time together,” said Dash. “When you’re with someone like that you buy into a life of being separate, but again, I couldn’t help my feelings.”
According to Dash, when the two did find time together, their dynamic chemistry captivated spellbound observers.
“The energy we created together for people to observe was kind of crazy. We’d be in a room full of people talking to each other and it felt like everyone was listening but it would be just us. It would be like we were the only ones in the room,” Dash recalls. “It was like something was going down in history every time I was with her. Every time I was around her I felt it was the place to be.”
Although the pain of her death left a lasting mark on Dash, he explains that would endure the loss again, if it meant being with Aaliyah one more time.
“She was one of the best people I ever met. Even with the pain I felt, I would do it all over again,” Dash said.