Who Is Mayte Garcia? Prince's First Wife Was The Inspiration Behind Many Of His Hits

The universe is still reeling after Prince was found dead Thursday morning, but while many of us only knew The Purple One through his music, my thoughts also go out to someone who knew him best: Prince's ex-wife Mayte Garcia. The woman who inspired the hit 1995 single, "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" spoke to People on Thursday about losing her former husband, saying, "This man was my everything, we had a family. I am beyond deeply saddened and devastated." This heart-aching proclamation brings us back to the couple's relationship... and the unfortunate events that led to their separation.

An accomplished bellydancer, according to an interview with The Mirror in 2015, Garcia first met Prince backstage at one of his shows in 1990, when she was 16 and he was 32. The two keep in contact, and when Garcia was 18, she became involved with the artist... both romantically and professionally, becoming part of his tour as a backing dancer. In the interview, Garcia revealed, "When we met I was a virgin and had never been with anybody... I’d always been a very focused dancer and very protected. Prince was my first crush, and my first love, but we didn’t start to get serious until I turned 18. He was very respectful. I remember our first kiss, and thinking, ‘Oh God, oh wow, this is not happening." The pair eventually got married on Valentines Day 1996 when Garcia was 22, and she became pregnant shortly thereafter.

Then, tragedy struck, two times over. Garcia gave birth to a son named Boy Gregory, who passed away a week later due to complications from Pfieffer's syndrome, a rare skull defect. Sometime after, Garcia miscarried a second pregnancy, and, according to her interview with The Mirror, the loss of two children caused a rift in their marriage. "I believe a child dying between a couple either makes you stronger or it doesn’t," Garcia said. "For me, it was very, very hard to move forward, and for us as a couple, I think it probably broke us." Sure enough, they eventually divorced in 2000.

Garcia's post-Prince life, from a professional standpoint, has been massive. She's credited as the choreographer behind Britney Spears' belly dance in the "Slave 4 U" video. She's done some acting, too, holding a recurring role on Lifetime's Army Wives and also making appearances in shows like Psych and Nip/Tuck. She also has an interesting stint as a cast member on the VH1 reality TV show, Celebrity Exes. Most heartening to hear, however, is that three years ago she adopted a child, and she's now raising her adoptive daughter, Gia.

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Garcia concluded her official statement to PEOPLE Thursday by declaring, "I loved him then, I love him now and will love him eternally. He's with our son now." My deepest sympathies are extended to Garcia as she suffers this fresh loss, and the universe mourns with her.