Mayte Garcia was the teenage love of Prince’s life, inspiring some of his most iconic songs and appearing often in music videos and television appearances alongside the singer.
Now, the ex-wife of the legendary singer is back in the spotlight after Prince’s death on Thursday, with a focus on the short marriage marked by tragedy and the effect it had both on Prince’s life and his music.
Garcia was 16 years old when she first met Prince, who at the time was more than twice her age, IBT reported. Prince had seen Garcia’s belly dancing and requested to meet her backstage at a concert. The two stayed in touch, and two years later Mayte joined Prince’s band. They fell in love and were married on Valentine’s Day in 1996.
The inspiration for Prince’s 1995 song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Garcia said that Prince was her first serious relationship.
“When we met I was a virgin and had never been with anybody,” she told the Mirror.
“I’d always been a very focused dancer and very protected. Prince was my first crush, and my first love, but we didn’t start to get serious until I turned 18. He was very respectful.”
Their marriage was also marked by tragedy. Mayte Garcia became pregnant shortly after they were married, but their son, Boy George, died just one week after being born. Not long afterward Garcia suffered another miscarriage, with the grief reportedly tearing the couple apart.
Garcia would go on to say that losing two babies had a tremendous impact on her emotionally and physically, saying it took her 15 years to get over it.
“Still, to this day, I miss my son,” she said.
Garcia added that the tragedy was also too much for the marriage, noting that it was impossible for them to move on through the grief.
“For me, it was very, very hard to move forward and for us as a couple I think it probably broke us,” she said.
Mayte Garcia had made headlines in recent weeks by auctioning off an extensive collection of items from her time with the music legend. The items included an engagement ring Prince had given her, one mentioned in his song “Holy River.”
“I called my girl and told her I had something to give her,” he sang. “I asked her to marry me and she said yes and cried.”
The listing for the engagement ring included details about its history.
“The diamond engagement ring with which Prince proposed to his wife Mayte Garcia, accompanied by 5 handwritten heart notes, which Prince used to lead her on a romantic journey to the ring. At the end of the journey was this stunning round diamond of approximately 2.2 karats, measuring 8.3mm. Set of 5 handwritten notes are offered as a collector’s piece only and do not come with rights for reproduction, manufacturing or distribution. A remarkable, romantic piece from one of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known. From the collection of Mayte Garcia.”
Garcia remained in the public eye even after she and Prince divorced, appearing on Hollywood Exes where viewers saw her still with many of the important items gathered from their marriage. In one episode, she had wedding china that bore the singer’s iconic symbol.
It was reportedly hard for Mayte Garcia to part with the items, and in interviews she shed light on why. Garcia said that though it was a “bizarre” relationship, she would always love Prince.
[Photo by Rob Latour/Invision/AP Images]