Mottola is famous for having nurtured the careers of some of the biggest artists in history, including his ex-wife Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Billy Joel and Springsteen.
But he feared his professional relationship with the Dancing in the Dark rocker was ruined after controversial CBS records chief Walter Yetnikoff swiped the star around the back of the head at the beginning of a dinner.
Mottola tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I wanted to run out of the restaurant. The last thing I needed was Bruce thinking I was a part of that kind of behaviour. It was extreme, but if you know Walter, anything was possible.
"Still, Walt was one of the kindest guys to come along in this business. Despite the things that brought him down and made him fall apart (from alcoholism), he was a brilliant man, and without him, I would probably not have the opportunities that I did."
Mottola eventually took over from Yetnikoff at Cbs Records when the label was relaunched as Sony Music.