Prince and Mayte Garcia met when she was 16 and she was pushed by her parents to have a working relationship with him, which progressed to a romantic one.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 13, 2020. It has since been updated.
There are times when certain relationship details of celebrities just make us do a double-take. For instance, 24-year-old Elvis Presley wanted to marry 14-year-old Priscilla so he could mold her into what he wanted. He's not the only famous person to pick a young bride he could control. Singer Prince was 31 when he met 16-year-old Mayte Garcia, who went on to be his first wife.
In 1989, when he saw her standing outside his concert venue, he said, "There’s my future wife." Garcia, a dancer, was 16 back then and had pushy stage parents, who wanted her to meet the singer, as per the Irish Times. She was doing well for herself but her parents sent him a tape of her dancing anyway. Prince, a man in his 30s, was captivated by the teen when they met and went on to write songs for her later. But, their relationship wasn't easy.
In the beginning, he started wooing her but she insisted that it was not romantic back then. She also doesn't think she was too young for him. "I think I was perfect and I’m not talking about a relationship kind of thing. His way of thinking was very useful and open for me. I wasn’t a regular 16-year-old. I had a work ethic, I had a discipline. We just got along great," she said.
Garcia was a resident of Germany and the I Wanna Be Your Lover singer would send her letters and tapes. "Maybe we could fly away 2 Jupiter, I hear the food is good there... I miss u..." he wrote to her once. Although it was "not that way, when I met him and we became friends, within weeks, there was this love that we both had for each other," she added.
Despite the messages he sent her, Garcia's parents were not worried since they were only thinking about how to get her to work for him. "My mom was a stage mom so she was immediately thinking, we can put that in her resume," Garcia said.
Eventually, when she was 17, she flew to Paisley Park to sing on a record and the future couple ate pancakes and drove around listening to Diamonds and Pearls. He became her legal guardian, as per Daily Mail.
Soon, he was paying for an apartment for her near his home. At 18, she would sit around the apartment waiting for him to call her and he had a rule that only he could call him and not her him. She was also promised a position as a dancer on the Diamond and Pearls tour.
The same year, Prince's muse inspired him to write an album, whose title was an unpronounceable symbol that later became known as Love Symbol. When she was 19, he told her to go on birth control and that's how he initiated their physical relationship.
"It was a ‘finally!’ moment. I mean, the flirtation... I was 19. I was ready," she told Irish Times. "I was more embarrassed; I was like, 'how am I gonna do this?'" she thought, not doubting his behavior as controlling.
On February 9, 1993, she wrote in her diary, "Not a virgin." She also rejected any notion that she was in a vulnerable power dynamic with him. "I trusted this man. I loved this man. It was just a great connection between the two of us," she said.
In 1995, he wrote The Most Beautiful Girl in the World for her. He also proposed to her that year but by then she knew that he was a hard taskmaster. Once, he saw whipped cream and cookies at her makeup station and cut her wages since he was concerned about her figure. She was "crushed" because the food wasn't hers but still respected him for being her "boss" while he was also wooing her.
They got married in 1996 and eventually, he left her when their first child died and she had a miscarriage the second time she got pregnant.
"I remember being devastated, shocked. 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," she said. She was only 26 then.
Despite this, she never stopped loving him. She once said that their relationship "ruined" her for others, but she hoped to meet a "loving and compassionate" man who "loves animals."
"I definitely won’t ever date another musician. That’s not happening. If anyone even picks up a guitar, I’m just gonna be like, put it down, put it down," she said.