Mayte Garcia Didn’t Call Prince “Prince” When They Were Married
The couple wed on Valentine's Day in 1996.
Who: Dancer Mayte Garcia, 47, and Grammy-winning musician and icon Prince, who passed away at the age of 57 in 2016.
How They Met:
When Garcia was 16, she and her family were visiting Spain and decided to see Prince in concert. Her parents encouraged her to send Prince a tape of herself belly dancing, but she resisted. Two weeks later, the musician played a venue near where she lived (in Germany) and Garcia's mom slipped a tape of her daughter's routines to one of his backup dancers. "Five minutes later, I met him," Garcia said in a video for VH1's Hollywood Exes. They remained friends for the next two years at a distance, exchanging letters and videos ( "Maybe we could fly away 2 Jupiter, I hear the food is good there"), and then Prince invited her to join his team.
Prince later told Oprah Winfrey he remembered thinking "that's my future wife" when he first saw the dancer.
Garcia said she couldn't "really pinpoint when [the relationship] became romantic," but she did tell the Irish Times that when she was 19, Prince told her "it was time" for her to go on birth control.
"It was a 'finally!' moment," Garcia remembered. "I mean, the flirtation . . . I was 19. I was ready."
Prince was won over by, uh … coincidence? As he told The New York Times, Garcia's middle name was Janelle and his father's name was John L; Garcia's mother's name was Nell and Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson. "Nell's son,'' he told the publication. ''Am I going to argue with all these coincidences?'' Apparently not.'
'She really makes my soul feel complete," he continued. "I feel powerful with her around. And she makes it easier to talk to God.''
The couple ultimately wed on Valentine's Day in Minneapolis in 1996, six years after they first met.
Marrying Prince was something of a childhood dream for Garcia, who was 9 years old when she told her mother "I'm going to marry Prince or Luis Miguel. One of the two."
Why We Loved Them: By Garcia's account, everything you'd imagine about marrying a living legend sounds ... well, true.
Right off the bat, things were extravagant. As a wedding gift, Prince gave his bride a 7,500 square-foot mansion in Spain, complete with a professional hair salon and music studio. In her 2017 memoir, The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince, Garcia recalled shopping guerilla-style with Prince, a method she referred to as "fast and plenty."
Instead of, you know, comparing prices and trying things on, the couple would hit Melrose (in a limo, of course) and storm in and out of each store before anyone could notice that American royalty was within eyeshot.
They'd "scope out the coolest clothes, grab whatever we want, and hand it to security on the way out." There was "no time to check out price tags," but who needs to when the entire world knows you by just one name (er, symbol … ).
Prince was convinced that he and Garcia had known each other in a past life. In 1996 he told Oprah that he felt as though his wife "was either my sister or we were the same person or something in another life." Though the talk show host balked at the idea, suggesting that it was "kind of weird," Prince stood his ground. "There's a closeness there that you know is right and you don't argue with," he said.
"Together we explored universes and lifetimes and universal truth," Garcia later wrote in her memoir. She noted that the musician thought their souls may have crossed paths in Egypt.
"My soul has been in love with [my wife] Mayte for thousands of years," Prince told Spike Lee in 1997. When asked to elaborate (because of course), he added, "I am a firm believer in reincarnation for people who either have more work to do or have so much debt to pay back that they have to be here. I hope for me it is the former, and my work was finding Mayte and having a child, which we will continue to work on until there are several here."
In 2017, Garcia revealed that the combination to the late singer's music vault was her measurements.
But not everything was mansions and vaults and past lives … Garcia (thankfully) divulged that Prince also enjoyed life's simple pleasures, like Tostitos.
When They Peaked:
During their Oprah interview, Garcia admitted that she didn't (and never had) called her husband by his name, Prince.
"When I met him, I didn't call him Prince," she explained. "I never called him that, because I didn't see him as that person."
"People always say, 'but what if you need him to bring you something — pass the tea or something?" Good question. "I just say 'hey.'
For that, The Artist was grateful. "I would drop the tea if I heard 'Prince' come from the kitchen," he joked. "[It would] scare me to death."
Hilarity of this dynamic aside, the couple's true peak came with the release of "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," a song dedicated to Garcia.
Two months into their marriage, Garcia got pregnant.
From the beginning, doctors warned of complications and encouraged the couple to get an amniocentesis test, but Prince refused medical interference.
When Prince and Garcia welcomed their son, Amiir, in Oct. 1996, he was born with a genetic disorder called Pfeiffer Syndrome Type II, which can result in the fusion of bones, protrusion of eyes, and breathing problems.
After six days and several procedures to aid his breathing, Amiir tragically passed away.
"I don't think he ever got over it," Garcia told People of Prince's reaction to the death. "I don't know how anybody can get over it. I know I haven't."
The couple attempted to keep the tragedy out of the press, but the media kept digging. The couple's Oprah interview took place just weeks after Amiir had passed away, and Prince told Garcia not to mention their son.
When Winfrey pried, asking about the "status" of their baby, Prince said, "Our family exists. We're just beginning it. We've got many kids to have." When the host addressed the rumors regarding the child, Prince insisted, "it's all good," adding, "never mind what you hear."
Garcia got pregnant again following Amiir's death, but she suffered a miscarriage.
"I think that's what drove us apart," Garcia said in an interview with ABC News. "I think he thought because we lost our two children, two babies, that I wasn't the one."
Prince's decision to become a Jehovah's Witness divided the couple further.
"He was hard core into it," Garcia wrote in her memoir. "I could not go there with him, no matter how hard he tried to make me see that path."
She told the Irish Times that she thought Prince's fixation on religion was a product of the couple's devastating loss.
"My belief is when something happens so tragic in your life, you can become very vulnerable and you can be open to many things, and I'm not saying religion is bad – in the book I tried to be as loving as possible – but it is what it is."
In 1998, Prince announced in a press conference that he planned to annul his marriage to Garcia.
"I remember being devastated, shocked," Garcia told the Irish Times. "I know that he would go through little phases of certain things. I was hoping he'd snap out of it for sure. I never thought that I wouldn't be around."
After having the Prince write top 40 poetry about her, Garcia found it difficult to date other musicians.
"All the songs he wrote for me, that's a pretty hard act to follow," she told The Mirror. "I've dated a couple of guys, musicians, who have written me poems or songs and I'm like, 'Seriously, don't even go there. You can't compete!'"
Garcia was devastated when she learned that her ex-husband had died.
"This man was my everything, we had a family. I am beyond deeply saddened and devastated," she told People at the time. "I loved him then, I love him now and will love him eternally," she went on. "He's with our son now."
Where They Are Now:
Not long after her divorce from Prince was finalized, Garcia dated (and was briefly engaged to) Tommy Lee. Her current relationship status is unknown.
Prince wed Manuela Testolini in 2001. She filed for divorce five years later.
The renowned musician died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2016, at the age of 57.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.