Mayte Garcia was just 16 years old when she met late music icon Prince – but she says it took years before her ex-husband pursued her romantically.

Garcia details the progression of her relationship with Prince – who died in April 2016 – in her upcoming memoir, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince.

As a successful teenage belly dancer in 1990, Garcia delivered a tape of her performing to the singer at one of his concerts in Germany. The star ultimately invited Garcia backstage, telling her, “I like your tape.” Prince said, writes Garcia, “Are you really 16?” After confirming her age, Prince asked for Garcia’s number. “The encounter lasted forty seconds but it felt like we’d stepped outside of time,” she says.
Later that evening, Garcia says Prince invited her to his hotel room, where they watched more tapes of her performances. The singer, then 32, then began a phone and mail correspondence with the teen.

Soon after her graduation from high school, Garcia began to work as one of Prince’s backup dancers, and he subsequently became her legal guardian. At 18, she moved into Paisley Park full time. Despite Prince dating other women, Garcia writes that they would stay in his room until dawn, just talking.

A year later, when Garcia was 19, Prince declared, “I think it’s time,” directing her to get birth control. “A week or so later, I wrote in bold in my journal: Feb. 9, 1993 — not a virgin,” she says in the book. “And I drew a winking smiley face. Patience pays off.”
The couple wed on Valentine’s Day 1996, before ultimately splitting in 2000.