Prince's Ex-Wife on What He Was Really Like Behind Closed Doors

Photo: Dave Benett/Getty

To his fans, Prince will forever remain a musical genius who lived a fascinating purple magic-filled existence. But to Mayte Garcia, he was just a regular guy who was easy to fall for. In her new book, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, Garcia opens up about her four-year marriage to the singer—from performing as his backup dancer in the early days of their relationship to their whirlwind romance and the tragic death of their son, Amir. The book ($17, includes many revelations about the notoriously private musician’s life, and for those questioning Garcia’s decision to come forward with personal stories a year after her ex-husband’s death, she wants to make something clear: Prince wasn’t as secluded when they were together, and she doesn’t think her revelations would bother him one bit.

“I always had intentions of sharing certain things that were important to me,” Garcia told InStyle this week. “And then when he passed, I just started writing.” As for what she was willing to disclose in her memoir, nothing was off-limits. Well, almost nothing. “There really wasn't anything that I did not want to share,” said Garcia. “I mean, I've had people ask me, ‘So how was he in bed?’ in interviews, and I'm obviously not going to talk about that. I’m not that kind of girl, and I just don't think it's anyone's business. But I wanted to write about the proposal and the romance, and just show a side of Prince that nobody's ever seen. Some people thought it to be against his wishes, but I know that when we were together, it was the time that he was the most open. He wanted to share and be more of an open person because you can't have children and hide. You're gonna have to go to school and go to birthday parties, and he was aware of that. I’m a people person—I don't like secrets, and I have nothing to hide.”

Steve Parke

Garcia’s hope is that people “love Prince even more” after reading her book and “see him as an approachable man who had feelings and dreams,” she said. “Even though he was a musical genius and beyond one-of-a-kind guy, he was also a loving person with wishes. I feel proud to honor him and share our love.”

Here, Garcia reveals what Prince was like behind closed doors—from his penchant for wearing her clothes and makeup to his favorite movies and music preferences.

What would people be most surprised to know about Prince’s regular day-to-day routine?

He definitely was not a routine kind of guy. He wasn’t a "wake up, have coffee, get dressed" person. He loved movies, and he would always play music when he was getting ready. It was funny because I knew what mood he was in by the type of music he played. I'd be like, Oh he's playing rap, so rehearsal's gonna be mostly hip-hop today. Or, He's playing Joni Mitchell, so he's really into the guitar and he's gonna be all about lyrics. I could tell by the music.

Mayte Garcia

Did you have any favorite movies to watch together?

We loved classic movies. Philadelphia Story. Elizabeth Taylor movies. Cleopatra. He also loved comedies and really just the films that were coming out—especially the spiritual ones, and the feel-good ones, and the smart ones. He loved stuff like that. He was an all-around kind of guy when it came to those things.

Tell us about your first date.

We didn't do that because we were friends first. We wouldn’t go have dinner. We would just have popcorn and listen to music and go to the studio and rehearsal. Maybe we’d go shopping or travel to New York or L.A. We didn't really do restaurants and "date" things until we got married, or a little bit before. He wrote a song called "Courtin' Time,” and if you listen to those lyrics, it's about that he was courting me. He took engagement and courting very seriously. That's when the flowers would come, and the letters.

Randee St. Nicholas

In your book, you write about how Prince would steal your clothes and alter them to fit himself. What was it like to share a wardrobe with your husband?

He did that before we were even married. He used to rip fashion sheets out of InStyle and Vogue and give them to his wardrobe team to replicate in a slightly different way. He would do that with my outfits once he saw them on me, too. I remember once when I was over at Paisley, his house, I realized that my black tuxedo pants with lace in the back were missing. I had pajamas on, but I was about to put my clothes back on. I remember him saying, "Just wear pajamas and go get dressed for rehearsal.” When I got to rehearsal, I saw him wearing the pants. I just laughed and thought, Those are my pants…but they look really good on him!

Did you ever wear any of his clothes, or was it not mutual?

His stuff was so structured for him. I wore some of his jackets and shirts, but the pants were all too short. I actually started buying clothing for him later on. I remember we were in King's Road in London and he said, ”Would you go to the market? Because if I go, it's gonna be crazy. Just pick out some cool stuff." So I went, and I’ll never forget—there were these tight suede banana-yellow pants with a cute crop top that had a little circle in it so that when you tie it up, you show your cleavage. I thought it was a really cute outfit, and when I brought it to him, he looked at it and said, "This is nice." I told him that I was going to have wardrobe cut the pants into hot pants, and he said, "Okay, I'll have them do that because I'm having some stuff done, as well." Lo and behold, we're playing an after-show in London a week later and he’s wearing that outfit. It was the Peach Live performance—you can find it on YouTube. That was my outfit.

Clearly, he was a fan of your wardrobe, but what was his own closet like?

Very colorful and very organized, of course. He had like ten black suits hanging and each one had a different style or design to it. Always with the symbol as the zipper pull. And then the matching shoe was on the floor below it. Everything coordinated. I got into the habit of that, too. That was his closet, but when I lived there, he would really always hit mine—he loved my sweaters. He had a free-for-all when I moved in. He would take my pants and have them hemmed up so that they fit him perfectly. The wardrobe team didn't know, so they would put it back into my closet. Then I'd pull it out, put it on, and it'd be a couple inches too short. He would just laugh.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Did you share makeup, too?

Oh yeah. It got to the point where I would have to buy four or five mascaras at a time because I'd start to get ready and my mascara would be missing. And I would call him and say, "Do you have my mascara?" And I'd hear "Oops." He always had a vision, and he would give me tips on how I should do my makeup and different ideas. It was fun and different, and I liked that I could change my look.

What do you think was your most glamorous moment together?

Whenever we went to the Versace show. Donatella would give me all these dresses to pick from and we'd do the red carpet and sit in the front row. I thought that was so glamorous. They would play his music, and it was fun to be in the front row with him and to see all these creations. He loved it.

Dave Benett/Getty

If you could go back and see him one last time before his death, what would you say to him?

I actually tried—it's in the book. I went to go see a performer because I knew he would be there. Unfortunately, I heard later on from people that his ego was too big and he just didn't want to face me or something. I don't think he was in a good place. I wanted to go tell him that I loved him, and I wanted him to meet my daughter Gia and see how motherhood has changed me. I just would have told him that I was always going to be there for him, no matter what.

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