EXCLUSIVE: Prince's Ex-Wife Manuela Testolini Reveals Location of School Being Built in His Honor
By Jackie Willis
As a way of celebrating Prince on what would have been the music icon's 58th birthday, his ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, shared with ET on Tuesday the location of the school that is being built in the late singer's honor.
"Prince wanted to change lives, especially those of impoverished children," Testolini told ET exclusively. "Malawi is one of the 20 least developed countries in the world and most Malawian children, particularly girls, do not have access to education. Constructing a school in Malawi means lifting an entire community and breaking the cycle of poverty."
Testolini wants the school to be a reflection of Prince's charitable spirit. "His legacy as an activist and philanthropist will live on through these children and I'm honored and humbled to be able to make this happen," she continued. "I know Prince would love the celebration that's about to take place in this community."
Prince and Testolini are said to have first met in 2001 when she was working for his charity. She was 24 and he was 43. They were married that same year, and divorced amicably in 2006. Testolini continued her charity work and went on to marry musician Eric Benet in 2011.
"I just reached out to [Prince] a few days ago to let him know that I was building a school in his honor," Testolini told ET's Nancy O'Dell days after the singer's death. "My heart aches that the school will now be built in his memory."
Testolini’s foundation, In a Perfect World, has a program called REACH (Rural Education and Community Harmony), which funds the construction of 23 schools in some of the world's most economically poor countries, including Nepal, Haiti, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi and Nicaragua. The goal of all of the foundation's schools is to give children in rural areas -- girls, in particular -- access to quality education.
"I knew him as a husband, friend and fierce philanthropist," Testolini said of Prince. "Philanthropy brought us together and it was Prince that encouraged me to start my own charity over 10 years ago."