AceShowbiz - R&B star Eric Benet had no idea he was dating Prince's ex-wife until he challenged her over her complicated divorce during a trip to the airport.
Halle Berry's ex-husband is now married to philanthropist Manuela Testolini and during a candid chat with Van Lathan for his The Red Pill podcast, the star opened up about their courtship, admitting they were very much a couple when he discovered her soon-to-be ex was the Purple Rain hitmaker.
Benet met Manuela at a Los Angeles Fashion Week party over a decade ago and immediately fell in love over a bar conversation about her charity work and her life.
"We're seeing each other for, like, a couple of months and during those couple of months she's telling me that she's going through a divorce...," he said, explaining he realised this was no ordinary split and there was a lot of money at stake.
"Her name is Testolini, so for some reason I thought she was married to some Italian (guy)... I was driving her to the airport... and she gave me some other details and finally I was like, 'Who is this guy...?' and so she just kind of laughed and said, 'Prince'. I was like, 'Prince who...?' By that time we were already like (an item)."
The fact he was dating Prince's ex made Eric step up his dating game, adding, "Usually, if I'm dating somebody and I invite her to the studio, it's like, that's a thing... It's like, 'Wow, I get to see how you create and this is so fascinating'. And then once I found out it was Prince, I was like, 'I ain't s**t, man...!'. My studio is (small)."
Benet then revealed he had a magic moment with Prince at the beginning of his career, when the pop superstar invited him to join him onstage at a gig in Eric's native Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"Prince saw me in the audience and told me to get up...," he recalled. "I kick myself about this... but when you respect somebody (like that), when he pulled me onstage I was blown away... He was doing some jam..."
And when the headliner handed Eric the microphone, the young star just freaked out and screamed.
"He said, 'The next time I invite you onstage you better sing'," Benet laughed, adding, "Any musician out there now owes a debt to Prince... We're all standing on the shoulders of that guy."