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Carmen Electra on Mentor, Ex-Boyfriend Prince: He ‘Took a Chance on Me’ (Exclusive)

Carmen Electra
Carmen Electra LaPalme Magazine

She thought that Prince would reign forever. Carmen Electra opens up about her mentor and ex-boyfriend’s untimely death in the cover story for the summer 2016 issue of LaPalme magazine, and Us Weekly has the exclusive first look.

“We’re all devastated, and it didn’t seem like it was his right time to go,” the blonde bombshell, 44, tells the publication. “It’s hard for everyone, from the people who knew him well to the people that never even met him, because he touched everyone’s life in some kind of way with his beautiful spirit and his powerful music.”

Related: PHOTOS: Most Shocking Celebrity Deaths of All Time

The singer-actress gives full credit to the late pop legend (whom she briefly dated in the early ’90s) for her decades-long career.

“As an artist and as a person Prince was so extraordinarily generous. It was very generous for him to give me the chance to start a music career,” the Baywatch alum says. “And I’ll always be grateful that he believed in me and took a chance on me.”

Electra, whose real name is Tara Leigh Patrick, first met Prince at the age of 18 when he was forming an all-girl group in 1991. Although she wasn’t offered a part in the band, he saw her potential as a solo artist, and signed her to his label, Paisley Park Records. Not long after, the seven-time Grammy winner reinvented Ohio native Tara Leigh as Carmen Electra.

Prince performing at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., on Oct. 10, 1997.
Prince performing at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., on Oct. 10, 1997. Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect/Getty Images

Related: PHOTOS: Prince’s Life in Pictures

“I went in the studio and I loved it, but I reminded him that my name was Tara,” she recalls to LaPalme of recording her self-titled debut album with Prince. “He told me, ‘You look like a Carmen, so, to me, you’re Carmen.’”

“He was so mysterious, but one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met,” adds Electra, who stuns in an array of designer gowns in the feature’s accompanying shoot styled by creative director Derek Warburton. “He was simply one of a kind.”

Carmen Electra
Carmen Electra 'LaPalme' magazine

Related: PHOTOS: '90s Nostalgia Photos: Pictures of Boy Bands, Grunge, Throwback Moments

As Us Weekly previously reported, Prince was found dead in his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on Thursday, April 21, at 57. While his autopsy results have yet to be released, prescription painkillers were found at the scene of his death. Investigators are looking into whether a doctor was prescribing drugs to him prior to his passing, and are considering a possible overdose.

Carmen Electra
Carmen Electra LaPalme Magazine

The new issue of LaPalme magazine hits newsstands nationwide on Wednesday, June 1.

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