Rapper Diddy backtracked on his claim that he pays Sting $5,000 every day for sampling the Police classic “Every Breath You Take” on his 1997 track “I’ll Be Missing You,” insisting that he was only joking.

In 2014 it was confirmed that the performer, previously known as Puff Daddy, was handing over $2,000 daily after he asked permission to use the sample only after his song was released.

As a result, Sting was entitled to all royalties from the Grammy-winning single, instead of a percentage, which now totals over $1.8 million per year.

When a fan tweeted part of an interview from the past that quoted the figure, Diddy responded, “Nope. 5K a day. Love to my brother @OfficialSting!”

Two days later, after numerous outlets reported on the story, Diddy issued another tweet clarifying that he wasn't being serious about his $5,000-a-day claim.

"I want y’all to understand I was joking! It’s called being facetious!" he said. "Me and Sting have been friends for a long time! He never charged me $3K or $5K a day for 'Missing You.' He probably makes more than $5K a day from one of the biggest songs in history." Diddy ended his tweet with an all-caps "LOVE" and a series of laughing, praying and heart emoji.

In 2003, Sting discussed how he made $730,000 a year from the sample, telling Rolling Stone that “those guys just take your shit, put it on a record and deal with the legality later. Elton John told me, ‘You gotta hear it … you’re gonna be a millionaire!’ I said, ‘I am a millionaire!’ He said, ‘You’re gonna be a millionaire twice over!’ I put a couple of my kids through college with the proceeds, and me and Diddy are good pals still.”

Listen to Puff Daddy's 'I'll Be Missing You'

One member of the Police was less happy about the settlement – guitarist Andy Summers is the only member whose performance is heard on Diddy’s version, but he was never credited as one of the song’s writers. In 2014 he described the situation as “the major rip-off of all time,” noting that Diddy “actually sampled my guitar, and that’s what he based his whole track on. [Drummer] Stewart [Copeland]’s not on it. Sting’s not on it. I’d be walking around Tower Records, and the fucking thing would be playing over and over. It was very bizarre while it lasted.”

Legends Who Never Had a No. 1 Single

It's all the more surprising when you consider the success so many of them had by any other measure.