Damon Dash Says He and Aaliyah Never Intended to Fall in Love; ‘We Were Just Really Good Friends’

Leading up to her death in 2001, R&B singer Aaliyah was in a relationship with entrepreneur Damon Dash. The couple was together for about a year and had gotten serious so quickly that they made plans to one day get married. But according to Dash, he and Aaliyah didn’t initially see themselves falling in love, sharing in a recent interview that before getting into a relationship, they were just friends who had no intention of dating.

Aaliyah and Damon Dash attending the premiere of "The Others"
Aaliyah and Damon Dash | Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Damon Dash says his romance with Aaliyah was almost like ‘an accident’

On August 25, 2021, Damon Dash sat down with Entertainment Tonight to open up about his relationship with Aaliyah, who died 20 years ago in a plane crash after shooting the music video for her song “Rock The Boat” in the Bahamas.

Dash revealed that his relationship with the singer didn’t start out romantic, noting that they were good friends before they began dating.

“Our intention at first wasn’t even to be in love,” he said. “We were just really good friends, and we fell for real. It was almost an accident.”

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Though falling in love was never their intent, Dash and Aaliyah couldn’t help but develop strong feelings for each other. The pair’s relationship took off after that, with them dating for about a year while keeping their relationship to themselves.

The couple had planned to get married after six months

While speaking with ET, Damon Dash revealed that he and Aaliyah had made plans to marry prior to her death.

According to the Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder, he and the singer expressed interest in tying the knot but knew that it couldn’t happen right away given their busy schedules.

“While she was shooting the movie in Australia, I was shooting Paid In Full. So, I couldn’t fly to Australia to go see her,” Dash said. “She was gone for four months, and when she came back, she had to be in L.A. to rehearse for a video while I had to do whatever I was doing. I had companies to run. We would have such a good time when we saw each other, it just always felt fresh.”

Rather than rushing into marriage, Dash and Aaliyah devised a plan to spend six uninterrupted months together to see if they were really interested in being a couple for the rest of their lives.

“So, our thing was, you know, let’s see if we can tolerate being around each other with no distractions for six months,” he explained. “If we still have this same feeling, then we’ll get married.”

Unfortunately, Dash and Aaliyah weren’t able to see their plans through. On August 25, 2001, the “One In A Million” singer and seven others were tragically killed in a plane crash. She was only 22.

Aaliyah taught Damon Dash how to love

While looking back on his relationship with Aaliyah, Damon Dash remembered the good times they shared and the admiration he had and still has for her.

Aaliyah and Damon Dash attending the premiere of "Planet of The Apes" in 2001
Aaliyah and Damon Dash | Steve Eichner/Getty Images)

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Though their time together was short, Dash says his romance with the singer was fulfilling as she taught him how to love.

“What I learned from [being with Aaliyah], number 1, I didn’t know what being in love was. I didn’t even understand what that feeling is and I was able to really achieve that with her,” Dash explained to ET. “Now I know what it feels like, so I was able to identify it when it happened again.”

The record executive continued, “After she passed, it changed my whole life because I would only do what I love. I would only be around people I love. That became the only currency I cared about is how I felt.”