Prince's ex-wife Mayte Garcia remembers how he loved to laugh.
The iconic rock and pop star and '80s and '90s sex symbol, who died at age 57 exactly one year ago in 2016, and Garcia were married for three years in the late '90s and shared a son, who died soon after being born from a rare genetic disorder.
In an exclusive interview with E! News' Zuri Hall this week, Mayte, whose recently released the memoir The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, reflected on her and Prince's romance and shared especially fond memories of him.
Mayte was the first of his two ex-wives. He and Manuela Testolini were married for five years until 2006.
Mayte was a backup dancer for Prince and specialized in belly dancing.
"I remember I was 18 and I sent him a video tape," she told Erin. "And he was like, 'Wow, that was a really great performance, it was hypnotizing.' And I went, 'Oh, no, I like him. Oh no, oh no."
"We were friends first," she said. "We were friends and then he became my boss and then it just, the flirtation happened. We went to the movies all the time. The first date-date that he was like, 'It's courting time,' was when we were engaged."
SINEAD LYNCH/AFP/Getty Images
Mayte said it surprised her "how funny he was, how open he was, outgoing, once you were in his world—watch movies and laugh...he loved watching comedy stuff and standup people," Mayte told Erin. "He was funny."
Prince also liked hanging out with comedians. After Prince died, an old Chappelle's Show clip depicting comic Dave Chappelle as the singer went viral. In the video, he and fellow comedian Charlie Murphy, who passed away himself last week, re-enacted a real-life event that the latter said happened to him; He and brother Eddie Murphy and their entourage hung out with Prince at his house, where the artist and his friends beat them at a game of basketball while wearing "blouses." Prince was known for his colorful, frilly outfits.
His former band member Micki Free has confirmed every detail of the story.
"Yes, it's true, we had on 'blouses,' and frilly shirts," Free told The Undefeated last year. "The same clothes we had at the club. Prince played in 6-inch heels!
"He's the only man, I don't know any man that could wear high heels, women's perfume, eyeliner heels and be sexy," Mayte told Erin. "He was one of a kind."
Mayte said that she had heard in 2016 that Prince was not in good health. Speculation about this had mounted weeks before he died, when he canceled two concerts and later fell ill on a plane, prompting an emergency landing and a short hospitalization. A source had also told E! News the singer "didn't have his regular color" and looked pale at his most recent meeting at a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation.
"Unfortunately, I had heard in 2016 he wasn't doing well. I wasn't sure what but I wanted go see him. I called around and people were back-peddling saying, 'No, no, he's fine, he's fine.' My gut didn't agree," she said. "I regret not going."
She said it was too cold in Minnesota at the time—January—and that she wanted to bring her daughter with her. She hoped to visit Prince in the spring.
Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park complex in Minnesota that April. The official cause of his death was an accidental overdose of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller typically given to hospital patients, including women in labor. Police are investigating his death. No charges have been filed. Recently unsealed court records showed police found in his home numerous painkillers with prescriptions made in the name of his friend and bodyguard, Reuters reported.
"I can't even tell you the amount of 'no's' and how you want it to be a joke, you want it to be bad dream, you want to wake up and then you have to take it. It's a blur."
She said she learned about Prince's death from the news.
"It's still hard to accept," she said. "It's still hard."