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Carmen Electra Mourns Her ‘Mentor’ Prince: ‘He Gave Me My Name’

Carmen Electra and Prince
Carmen Electra and Prince. Albert Ortega; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“Not a Tara” — that’s what Prince told Carmen Electra, whose real name is Tara Leigh Patrick, when he reinvented her as Carmen Electra in 1991.

Related: PHOTOS: Prince’s Life in Pictures

The singer and actress has the legendary “When Doves Cry” singer to thank for her career. In a statement to Us Weekly on Thursday, April 21, Electra mourns the loss of her “mentor” and ex-boyfriend.

“I was so shocked and heartbroken to hear about the loss of my mentor, Prince,” the Baywatch bombshell, 44, tells Us. “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. He gave me my name, he believed in me, and he has inspired an entire generation. I will always love him. … ‘Sometimes it Snows in April.'”

Electra first met Prince at the age of 18 when he was forming an all-girl group. Although she wasn’t chosen for his group, he saw something special in her, and signed her to his Paisley Park Records.

“I received a call from Prince saying I think you should be your own artist and not back up anyone else. I’m going to write you a song and if you like it, you can record it,” she recalled on OWN in 2014. “The name of the song was ‘Carmen on Top.’ My name is Tara, so I was confused. I loved the song. I loved it, but he said, ‘You’re not a Tara. You’re not Tara. You’re Carmen.’”

Related: PHOTOS: Celebrity Deaths in 2016: Stars We’ve Lost

As previously reported, Prince died Thursday morning at the age of 57. According to his rep, he was briefly hospitalized on April 15 due to flu-like symptoms.

In a statement to Us, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson confirmed that the 7-time Grammy winner was found dead inside his Paisley Park studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. First responders were unable to revive the legend. His cause of death has yet to be determined. 

Related: PHOTOS: Prince Remembered: 15 of His Most Iconic Fashion Moments

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