Grammy-winning star Stephanie Mills, who first eased on down the yellow brick road in the 1975 Broadway hit The Wiz and most recently played Auntie Em in NBC’s The Wiz Live!, opens up to Closer Weekly in an exclusive interview about what it was like romancing Michael Jackson.

“I loved Michael!” Stephanie tells Closer. “We dated for about a year and a half back in the day.” Stephanie got to see what Michael was like on and off-stage. “He was the sweetest, most compassionate, most loving person. Very soft-spoken and very humble.”

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Stephanie in The Wiz in 1984.

“He loved to laugh, and he loved Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. We used to ride up Ventura Boulevard [in LA] and he’d want me to go and get them! He saw me in The Wiz all the time, and I went to the set [of the film version of the play that he starred in] a couple times.”

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Stephanie, now 58, still misses Michael and many more of her musical pals that she has lost. “I miss my friends. I miss Whitney [Houston], I miss Michael, I miss Luther [Vandross], I miss Natalie [Cole]. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around Natalie’s passing — she was always so kind to me. But you go on, and hopefully they’re smiling down on you.”

For more from Stephanie including her special relationship she has with her son, and what is next for her, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly on newsstands now!