Toronto-born Manuela Testolini, who was married to Prince for five years to 2006, on Friday said she is building a school to honor the memory of the iconic music artist after he was found dead at his recording studio in Minnesota on Thursday.
“Prince and I had a magical journey together and I loved him immensely,” said Testolini, whose marriage to Prince ended in 2006 after having dated since 2001 when they met through his charity. “I knew him as a husband, friend and fierce philanthropist. Philanthropy brought us together and it was Prince that encouraged me to start my own charity over 10 years ago.”
Testolini says that she informed Prince of her plans for a school just prior to his death. “”I just reached out to [Prince] a few days ago to let him know that I was building a school in his honor,” she told O’Dell. “My heart aches that the school will now be built in his memory.”
Her foundation, In a Perfect World, runs a program called REACH (Rural Education and Community Harmony), which funds the construction of schools in the world’s most impoverished countries including Nepal, Haiti, and Senegal. The project aims to provide education to all children, barring economic status, with girls as a focus.
Testolini had hoped that Prince would have lived to choose where his school would be built, which is a decision that will be left up to her once her “head is clear”, as the singer’s death left her with a “devastating feeling of pain and loss”.