Prior to revealing her struggles with drug addition, many assumed she was simply the “crazy” sister because, as I Love Old School Music reports, she declined Prince’s help for her singing career; she used to carry around a stuffed dinosaur named Jazz and do interviews with the dinosaur on a leash claiming that he made her feel safe. She even once publicly admitted to having an imaginary lover named Marc Anthony.
While we can’t confirm whether Tyka was ever clinically diagnosed as crazy, her story certainly reveals the personal demons she battled for years, which ultimately led her to drug addiction and prostitution.
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Here’s what was reported in 2003:
Tyka, 48, says her rock star brother helped her financially at times, and he even enrolled her in the drug rehab program.
But at other times, Prince turned his back on her, Tyka said: “I love my brother,” she told the ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview. “But I’m not a yo-yo. He can’t just keep spinning me in and out of his life.”
Prince and his sister spent their early years together in northern Minneapolis before he went off to build a musical empire, while she was often homeless and working as a prostitute.
“I was a single mother and my boys were babies,” she recalled. “I sold my body for food, money and pampers.”
Tyka said her lowest point came while she was living in a crack house. “I pawned the car Prince had given me and sold the kids’ TV for drugs,” she told The ENQUIRER.
“I pawned the car Prince had given me and sold the kids’ TV for drugs,” she told The ENQUIRER.
Prince entered her into an expensive rehabilitation center, and after she completed the program, Tyka said: “I relapsed once.”
“But I’ve been clean for three months now,” she added. “It’s the longest I’ve been sober and drug-free in years.”
Her drug addiction hindered her passion and pursuit of a music career. Here’s what People Magazine reported in a 1998 interview:
‘After graduating from Minneapolis’ North High, Tyka packed some songs and headed for California. “It was the same year  Prince got his record deal,” she says. “I thought I’d be a star. I met Jimmy Durante’s piano tuner. That’s as close as I got to the stars.”
Today, Tyka Nelson is still nurturing her singing career. According to her Wiki page, the mother of four has released four albums, (other sites report that she has released six), throughout her career. She has reportedly changed her life around and is a devoted Christian as well.