Lisa Ling and Prince? What could have been.
Monday on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Ling revealed that 20 years ago, when she was a co-host on The View, she and Prince dated over the course of two "really strange" nights. The journalist recalled that Prince's people called The View to arrange a meet-up, and an assistant passed the phone along because she was such a fan.
"He gets on the phone. I hear this kind of soft voice, and it was him. I could tell clearly," Ling told Kimmel. "He asked me if I wanted to go to the TLC concert with him. So I'm, like, 'Yeah! Yes, I would love to.' So he said, 'I'm going to send a car to pick you up, come to my hotel, ask for Karl Marx, and they'll let you come up to my room. He registered as Karl Marx."
After exchanging awkward pleasantries about her shoes — "It felt like he wanted to try them on, but I thought that would be weird!" she said — the two went to the TLC concert and then returned to his room. "I wasn't really concerned that he was going to try anything, because it was when he was going through his Jehovah Witness stage. I felt pretty confident it'd be okay," recalled Ling. "So, we ended up talking until five in the morning about philosophy and having these very, very serious discussions. And that was it. I left Karl Marx's room and went back, and he asked me to come over the next day again. And so, I went over there, and we talked until five o'clock in the morning. Had a great, incredibly stimulating discussion."
"The next day I went back and was doing my job at The View, and I was talking on-air about someone that I dated a long time ago," she continued. "And I got a call at five o'clock the next morning, and it was Prince calling himself, the guy didn't call, and he said, 'Who were you talking about?' And I said, 'I was talking about someone in my past.' 'Why were you talking about him?' As if we were, like, had a relationship or something."
Sadly, the perceived slight was enough for Prince to end things. "That was it. He never called me. That was my relationship with Prince," said Ling. "It was really strange. I mean, I still to this day think that he is the greatest artist who ever lived. But it was a little bit of a weird interaction that we had over the course of a couple days."
Ling's new series, Take Out with Lisa Ling, is now streaming on HBO Max. Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 PM ET on ABC.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.