Prince Forced His Wife to Hide the Death of Their Only Son — The Tragedy Ruined Their Marriage
Prince and his wife, Mayte Garcia, endured the tragic loss of their firstborn and hid it from the world. They later divorced following another heartbreaking tragedy.
Born Prince Rogers Nelson, the singer-songwriter had a remarkable career and love story. In 1990, he met the love of his life, Mayte Garcia, who was then only 16.
Her mother had been a big fan of Prince, so she submitted a videotape to one of Prince's backup dancers of Garcia belly dancing.
Prince took less than a week to notice Garcia and hire her to dance during his "Diamonds and Pearls" tour. Prince liked Garcia so much that she recorded Spanish and English vocals for some of his albums.
At that time, the "When Doves Cry" singer was still engaged to Susannah Melvoin, but six years later, on Valentine's Day 1996, it was Garcia who walked down the aisle. The couple tied the knot in his hometown, Minneapolis when she was only 22.
Prince performing during his Purple Rain Tour in the Ritz Club. | Source: Getty Images
The bride, who became Prince's muse for the 1995 hit "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," worked with her groom's designer to craft her own wedding dress. She said of their relationship:
“I can't really pinpoint at a time when it became romantic. I think it evolved through the heavens.”
Mayte Garcia and Prince during the VH1 Fashion and Music Awards on December 3, 1995 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Two months after the wedding, Garcia found herself pregnant with their firstborn. They were over the moon with the news, but soon, difficulties plagued the relationship.
GARCIA'S PREGNANCY AND AMIIR'S BIRTH
Although the pregnancy began smoothly, Garcia started to bleed and sadly miscarried the baby. The ultrasound showed measurements that could point to a form of dwarfism during another checkup, among possible genetic abnormalities.
Mayte Garcia at the Palladium, 1992. New York. | Source: Getty Images
Prince refused medical intervention even with all the life-threatening possibilities with which the baby could be born. On October 16, 1996, Prince and Garcia welcomed their first child, Amiir, Arabic for "prince." According to the new mom, her husband felt pure joy at that moment. She said:
“I'd seen his face when he stood in front of a stadium filled with forty-eight thousand screaming fans. I'd seen his face as he scored platinum albums and received the highest awards [...]. None of that compared to the look I saw [...] when he became a father.”
Mayte Garcia and Prince open his shop in Camden, London, Britain, circa 1994. | Source: Getty Images
From the moment Amiir was born, Prince made his son the center of his life. He was selfless and only wanted the best for Amiir, but soon, complications began, and Amiir needed to go into surgery. He had Pfeiffer syndrome type 2, which showed skeletal and systematic abnormalities.
Two days later, Amiir was fed breast milk through a tube in his nose. Another tube ran down his throat for ventilation. "There were so many needles and wires and tubes attached to every part of his body," Garcia recalled. "It took two nurses to lift him into my arms."
Before going home, the parents signed papers that life support would have to be taken off the following day. The next day, while in her home, Garcia woke up to her husband revealing that the tubes had been taken out. Garcia was shocked and claimed she wanted to be there. She recalled:
“The phone rang again. He answered it and then hung up and said, 'He's gone.' I lost it. I went in our room and cried and cried. I don't know what my husband did. A few hours later, our son’s ashes were brought to the house [...].”
Even if Amiir only had a few days with his family, he gave Garcia the gift of motherhood. "He taught me what a privilege it is to love someone more than you love yourself," she said. "Amiir made a mommy of me."
LIFE AFTER AMIIR'S DEATH
Prince and Mayte Garcia during the 28th Annual NAACP Image Awards on February 9, 1997 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. | Source: Getty Images
A week following Amiir's death, his parents appeared on Oprah and insisted that there was no child. "It's been rumored that your baby was born with health problems," Oprah said as the couple sat down, referencing everything being said in the media.
Prince made his wife lie on national television despite the darkness she felt. Garcia reflected in her memoir:
“Contemplating a new direction for my life, I thought about what it took to get through that 'Oprah' interview just days after Amiir's death and realized I was a lot better actress than I ever gave myself credit for.”
Prince during the release of Purple Rain at 1st Avenue on June 7, 1984, in Minneapolis. | Source: Getty Images
Admittedly, Garcia knew that her husband was a controlling partner, who even had their home bulldozed because he wanted to forget the past and look forward instead.
Eventually, the police became involved with Amiir's death after an informant tipped them off. Prince Paisley Park's former employees revealed the coverup for the deaths, using a different name under the records.
Prince and Mayte Garcia during the De Beer and Versace "Diamonds are forever" charity fashion event 09 June 1999. | Source: Getty Images
According to reports, Amiir died on October 23 due to skeletal abnormality. His cremation came a day after, although, on his death certificate, he was listed under the alias Boy Gregory. According to Prince's backup dancer for five years, Lindsley Allen:
“It was really sad. I think he was really looking forward to being a father. It was very difficult for both of them, and I don’t think they really recovered from that. I felt a very paternal feeling from him [...].”
Prince also wrote songs dedicated to and inspired by his late son. Among them is "Comeback," which still pains Garcia whenever she listens to it.
Mayte Garcia during the Build Series to discuss "The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince" at Build Studio on April 6, 2017 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Garcia became pregnant again but experienced a similar fate. She began bleeding heavily, and when she came in for an ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. Garcia never kept her husband in the dark, but even while experiencing difficulty before the checkup, he showed no concern and did not come.
After the ultrasound, Garcia went to Prince and sobbed while she told him the news, but all he said was, "I need to go to the studio," and so he left. On March 20, 2000, Garcia wrote her spouse a letter, confronting him about their problem and suggesting they file for divorce.
In her heart, only one thing mattered – Amiir's ashes. She always asked about it but received no answer until her friend finally told her something she had heard.
Prince during the Brabant hallen, Den Bosch, Netherlands, 24th March 1995. | Source: Getty Images
"Prince's assistant was upset that he's asked to burn everything in the house that reminded him of me or the baby, including the contents of the nursery – Amiir's crib and toys and clothes and books," she said.
Knowing that everything included her son's ashes, Garcia was enraged with the news. Two months after she sent the letter, she officially filed for divorce, believing that their relationship would have seen through the challenges had it not been for the loss of Amiir. She admitted:
"I don’t know how long I lay in bed with Amiir’s ashes. All I remember is the hot, hard pain in my breasts and grief as airless and dark as the bottom of the ocean. Sometimes I was aware of my husband lying next to me or sitting in a chair, staring at the television. The next day—or maybe it was a few days or a week later or in another lifetime—he came to me and said, 'I can’t be here. I have to go.'"
On April 21, 2016, Garcia received a call informing her of Prince's death from an accidental overdose. Although she was shocked, she later felt at peace. "He's with our son now. I know they're finally together," she said.