One-Time Prince Protege Carmen Electra on His Death: "I Will Always Love Him"

Prince and Carmen Electra - H 2016
Photofest; Getty Images

Prince gave her a name and a launching pad into the music business.

There would be no Carmen Electra without Prince.

After arriving in Hollywood, the aspiring dancer and singer auditioned for an all-girl group that Prince was assembling in the early 1990s using her birth name, Tara Leigh Patrick. She didn't make the group, but Electra wound up with something better — a place under Prince's wing as one of his protégés

He would guide her short-lived music career, but not before renaming the artist formerly known as Tara Leigh Patrick. As she once recalled, Prince gave her the name Carmen Electra, telling her, "You're not a Tara. You're not Tara. You're Carmen."

After hearing about Prince's death at the age of 57 on Thursday, Electra sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter via her rep, Jack Ketsoyan, saying that she was "shocked and heartbroken."

"The world has lost a truly incredible spirit and musical genius. What a blessing it is to be one of the chosen ones who had the chance to work so closely with him," said Electra, who also was romantically involved with Prince. "He gave me my name, he believed in me, and he has inspired an entire generation. I will always love him."

She ended her statement with "Sometimes It Snows in April," a nod to his popular ballad from the album Parade, which served as the soundtrack to the film Under the Cherry Moon.