Denise Matthews, Lead Singer of Vanity 6, Dies at 57

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Denise Matthews, best known by her stage name Vanity, lead singer of the 1980s band Vanity 6, died Monday in a Fremont, California hospital, from kidney failure and an abdominal illness. She was 57.

Once involved in a romance with legendary singer/songwriter Prince, he helped Denise Matthews on her road to stardom.

Vanity 6's biggest hit came in 1982. "Nasty Girl" made it all the way to number one on the Billboard dance charts.

Denise Matthews disbanded Vanity 6 in 1984 and signed as a solo artist with Motown Records. She released two records, "Wild Animal" and "Skin on Skin."

After making her records she tried her hand at acting, starring opposite John Stamos in Never Too Young to Die.

Denise Matthews was linked in the 1990s to rocker boyfriends including Billy Idol, Adam Ant, and Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx. It was during that time she also developed an addiction to crack cocaine. Her addiction nearly cost her her life in 1994 when her kidneys nearly failed. She later said Jesus Christ appeared to her during that period of time, and she gave up her Vanity persona in order to follow him, at his supposed bidding.

MC Hammer noted via social media that Denise Matthews was a devout Christian up to the moment of her passing.

Denise Matthews spent the remainder of her life sober and as a devoted practicing Christian. She developed serious medical problems in recent years because of the drug abuse from her past.

Were you a Vanity 6 fan in the 1980s? If so, you no doubt recall Denise Matthews in her music persona as Vanity. How sad she has lost her life at such a young age.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.