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It feels like the skies should open to Purple Rain today with the sad, sad news that the world lost one of its most legendary musicians. Prince — originally Prince Rogers Nelson — passed away earlier today at the age of 57, according to TMZ. The larger-than-life musician has been churning out Hall of Fame-worthy records since 1978, with the debut of his first album titled, For You. And since then he has sold 100 million records, won a total of seven Grammy Awards, and was deemed by Rolling Stone to be one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Not to mention, the man could write one hell of a love song...
"You don't have to be rich to be my girl," the Purple One once sang. "You don't have to be cool to rule my world. Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with, I just want your extra time and your kiss." From "Kiss" to "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," Prince was, well, the king of swoon-worthy songs. ("Raspberry Beret" is just the tune for a get-everyone-on-the-dance-floor anthem) But just where did the legendary singer get all his inspiration for those songs that made many an '80s teenage girl's heart go all aflutter? Well, from his own epic love life, of course.
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Prince penned "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" for his most famous love, former backup dancer, Mayte Garcia, who would eventually become his first wife. "Prince was my first crush, and my first love," Garcia later explained to the UK's Mirror. The pair had met when Garcia was 16 and Prince was 32, after Garcia landed a role dancing in his "Diamonds and Pearls" 1992 world tour. "I remember our first kiss, and thinking, 'Oh God, oh wow, this is not happening!'" the dancer recalls. "I remember it being overwhelming and weird. Our entire time together was amazing and surreal, and he showed me some incredible things and introduced me to incredible people."
Prince and Garcia wed in a lavish wedding on Valentine's Day, 1996. Garcia donned a pendant around her neck with the star's infamous nominal symbol emblazoned on it, and white doves — to the tune of "When Doves Cry" we hope — were released at the "I dos." (Did you really expect anything less from a Prince wedding?)
Photo: Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Unfortunately, their marriage came to an end in 2000, following the heartbreaking loss of their infant son, Boy Gregory, and a miscarriage shortly after. Prince's former bride ended up auctioning off a few mementos from their nuptials earlier this year, according to Vogue. Items included her 2.2 diamond engagement ring and her handwritten marriage proposal from the "Let's Go Crazy" singer, as well their wedding china (adorning with piano keys and the love symbol, of course) and Garcia's lace wedding dress.
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Throughout the years, Prince was romantically linked to the lovely likes of Kim Basinger, Carmen Electra, Sherilyn Fenn, and even Madonna, before settling down once again with Manuela Testolini, a Canadian businesswoman, whom he met when she got a job with Prince's charitable foundation. The pair wed quietly in 2001, according to People, but had split by 2006.
But despite the sad end to their too-short story, Prince's first love, Garcia, only looks back on those "Purple Rain" days fondly. "All the songs he wrote for me, that's a pretty hard act to follow," she said. "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!'
We wholeheartedly agree: No one could — or will ever — compete with Prince...