The unsealed file from Prince’s second divorce offers a glimpse into the late musician’s luxe lifestyle and the more routine spousal disputes over access to property, such as childhood photos, videos and jewelry.
While they were married, Manuela Testolini said she and Prince threw big parties after major awards shows like the Golden Globes, Oscars and Grammys. For the events, Testolini would hire a $5,000-a-day stylist to do her hair and makeup. The couple would spend $50,000 per party on food, drinks and decor, the records showed. In 2004 alone, Prince earned $42 million.
“We had accounts at boutiques including Gucci, Versace and Valentino. We had accounts at Saks. There was never any restriction on [Prince’s] or my spending,” she said.
Divorce files are generally public, though judges often will agree to seal them if both parties to the case agree and no one else objects. The documents, made public after the Star Tribune moved to unseal the files following the star’s accidental death last April from the painkiller fentanyl, also revealed that in May 2005, Prince locked Testolini out of their home on Galpin Avenue in Chanhassen. He also cut off her credit cards, boxed up her stuff and stowed it in the vault in Paisley Park for “safe keeping,” according to an order signed by former Judge Tanja Manrique on March 16, 2010. Prince then tore down the house.
Two attorneys retained by Testolini, who sought to keep the divorce documents sealed, couldn’t be reached Friday for comment.
The couple’s divorce was granted in October 2007, but two years later, Testolini claimed Prince had not returned several personal items, including copies of videos he made based on songs he had written for her: “Gamillah” and “Another Girl.” He also had not returned jewelry, including a gold and diamond earring set from Tiffany and 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.
At that time, Prince was representing himself and didn’t respond to the court.
In her documents, Testolini said Prince claimed the videos had been deleted and he didn’t know the whereabouts of the items. She disputed that, saying Prince never destroyed every copy of a video and that if he did, “his actions were purely punitive.”
The unsealing of the divorce documents came amid the ongoing legal dispute over the legitimate heirs to Prince’s vast fortune. The megastar, who was found dead in an elevator at Paisley Park, had no will. Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide is overseeing the case. He has indicated that the surviving siblings, including Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson and five half-siblings, will likely claim at least part of a fortune estimated at somewhere between $100 million and $300 million before taxes.
Prince and Testolini, the musician’s second wife, met when she was a consultant for his charity, Love 4 One Another, according to the documents. They married on Christmas in 2001 when she was 25 and he was 43. She said they lived “an extravagant lifestyle” with each having their own personal assistant. They had a housekeeper and a personal chef preparing their dinners, the documents showed.
Testolini said she “routinely had massages, spa treatments, manicures, pedicures and facials.” She and Prince traveled frequently, renting homes for months at a time in California and Hawaii, flew private planes and spent up to $15,000 per night on hotel suites.
In 2004, Prince released his album “Musicology,” which sold more than 2 million copies in the United States. The Musicology tour was the top grossing U.S. Tour in 2004, bringing in $87.4 million, she wrote.
The Star Tribune moved to unseal the files after questioning whether they would shed light on why Prince was taking painkillers, any potential heirs, or the value of his estate at the time of the divorce. The files didn’t provide any insight into those issues.
The documents also don’t explain why Prince and Testolini divorced, although the couple did seek counseling from New York City-based elders of their shared Jehovah’s Witness faith. She has since remarried and had children with another man.
In recent months, Testolini fought the release of the divorce documents, claiming disclosure would put her and her family at risk.
The documents do not show financial details of the final divorce settlement. At one point in the filings, Testolini said she was not seeking permanent monthly support.
She did, however, receive a house in Toronto worth approximately $6 million and a Lexus automobile. During their split, she initially received $10,000 a month in support. Prince also transferred $3 million to an account, Gamillah Holdings Inc., which was opened with $1 million in December 2002 and over which she had control.
In court filings, Prince rejected Testolini’s claim that she needed $42,574 a month, which she said amounted to no more than 2 percent of his monthly earnings, to maintain a lifestyle that included attending the awards shows and hosting parties afterward.
“This is my normal life,” Prince’s response said. “By filing her [divorce] petition, [Testolini] severed her access to this lifestyle. ... This is not a marital standard of living that can be recreated with money.”
The documents also include a transcript of a deposition Prince gave in May 2008 where he was questioned by Testolini’s lawyer. The portrait of the artist that emerges from the pages is similar to his public persona. He only grudgingly gives up insight or substantive answers. Many of his responses are some variation of “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall.”
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