Ten years today, singer Aaliyah died when her plane crashed following a video shoot in the Bahamas. While fans mourned her loss, pouring over newspapers and listening to the radio for updates, those who knew her personally felt a pain much closer to their hearts.

Aaliyah’s then boyfriend Damon Dash spoke to Billboard this week about his relationship with Aaliyah. The former Roc-a-feller executive reflected on the better times and how her death impacted him.

A few excerpts from Dash’s interview with Billboard’s The Juice:

On meeting Aaliyah through his accountant in 2000:

“She was intelligent and she caught me. 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.”

On their chemistry:

“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…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.”

On juggling a relationship and career:

“She was always working and shooting movies. She was always gone for like four months at a time, then 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. When you’re with someone like that you buy into a life of being separate, but again, I couldn’t help my feelings.”

On what would have been next:

” My heart was broken. Nothing prepares you for that…Our time together meant so much that when we got more time, we felt like that [engagement] would be next. She was one of the best people I ever met. Even with the pain I felt, I would do it all over again.”

Source

The interview was a rare candid take from the man who in recent years has become more and more guarded when it comes to the press. After his marriage with designer Rachel Roy came to an end, Dash faced scathing rumors and reports about his financials. Hearing Dash talk about his time with Aaliyah, it’s undeniable how he felt about her. It’s also undeniable that fans will keep a little piece of baby girl’s spirit with them too.

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