Prince locked ex Manuela Testolini out of their home before nasty divorce and yet, she built schools in his love
As the world gears up to witness the Grammys' tribute to the legendary Prince, the one thing that's worth noting apart from the celebrated musician's illustrious career is his secret philanthropic endeavors — something that his second wife Manuella Testolini has forever touted, even after the two's divorce had quite the nasty altercation at its core.
Prince and Testolini's relationship began with one of his many charitable ventures, and even though things didn't work out with their marriage, Testolini still speaks highly of the 'fierce philanthropist' she was married to for five years, before tying the knot with RnB crooner Eric Benét.
Prince, who was married to his first wife Mayte Garcia from 1996 to 2000, met Testolini in 2001 through a charity collaboration. Testolini was working with a women's shelter that was under the threat of being shut down. In an attempt to contact philanthropic organizations to help save it, the first response she got was from Prince's organization, Love 4 One Another. “They saved the day,” Rolling Stone quotes her saying of the artist's generosity.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight following his death in 2014, Testolini had also spilled how "Philanthropy brought us together and it was Prince that encouraged me to start my own charity over 10 years ago.” The couple got married in 2001 when Prince was 43, and Testolini 24. The couple treasured their privacy during their marriage — something that their quiet 2006 split also reflected.
But even though the actual reason behind their divorce isn't known, court files reveal a May 2005 dispute between the two where the artist reportedly locked Testolini out of their Chanhassen home.
Court orders signed by former Judge Tanja Manrique on March 16, 2010 also reveal that Prince cut off Testolini's credit cards, had her stuff boxed up and stowed in his Paisley Park vault for 'safekeeping'. Prince also reportedly tore down the house.
The couple's divorce was finally granted in October 2007. But even two years later, Testolini claimed that Prince was yet to return several personal items that included copies of videos the artist had created based on the songs he had written for her (namely 'Gamillah' and 'Another Girl'). The items also included a gold and diamond earring set from Tiffany, and other pieces of jewelry like "an antique gold and amethyst earring, necklace, bracelet set from the vintage store The Way We Wore, as well photographs, memorabilia and scrapbooks. In all, the items were valued at $185,000," reports the Star Tribune.
Yet years later, when the musician passed away from an accidental dose of the painkiller fentanyl, Testolini was nothing but praises for her late ex-husband. "Prince and I had a magical journey together and I loved him immensely,” she had told Entertainment Tonight. “I knew him as a husband, friend and fierce philanthropist." Testolini has since helped build two schools in Prince's name in Malawi through her In a Perfect World organization. She has been married to Benét for nine years, since 2011. The couple share two lovely daughters together.
'Let's Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince' happened live in January 2020, and is slated to air on the fourth anniversary of the musician's death — Tuesday, April 21, at 9 pm ET only on CBS. Artists like John Legend, H.E.R., Usher and more are scheduled to pay tribute to the late singer.