Prince’s ex-wife sheds light on late artist’s secret philanthropy

Manuela Testolini, who was married to Prince from 2001 to 2006, has given a new interview about Prince's charity work

Manuela Testolini, the former wife of Prince, has spoken further about the late artist’s philanthropic efforts.

Prince, who passed away aged 57 last April, was revealed to be a fervent charity donor, making many of his donations in secret. Testolini, who was married to Prince from 2001 to 2006, praised him as a “fierce philanthropist” in a tribute statement given shortly after his death last year.

Testolini, who runs the charitable organsiation In A Perfect World (who have just opened two new schools in Malawi in Prince’s name), has further divulged about Prince’s secret philanthropy in a new interview. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Testolini said that he would spend as much time on his charity work as he did making music, saying: “He went with how the spirit moved him each day.”

Recalling her time working for Prince’s Love 4 One Another organisation, Testolini recalled: “He wanted to be a catalyst for other people. He would see a family on TV that was having trouble – they didn’t have health insurance and had trouble meeting the needs of a sick child – and instead of saying, ‘Wow, that’s really sad,’ he would leave a note on my desk saying, ‘Call this TV station and find out where these people are so we can help them.’ It was ongoing.”

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Testolini also revealed that he’d occasionally break his philanthropic anonymity, inviting families that he’d helped to his shows and giving them the VIP experience.

“I remember doing one project in Maryland where an elementary school had been abandoned and turned into a family shelter. It was a bunch of families living in classrooms with no furniture, mothers with babies, but no changing stations; they were using lockers as closets.

“So we furnished this huge facility, buying wardrobes and things for them, trying to make their lives easier,” she continued. “But the bonus was, he said, ‘Send a bus to pick them up; we’re gong to bring them to the show.’ And he would say, ‘Show me where they are in the crowd,’ so he could acknowledge them and put faces to the experience.”