Prince’s Family: His Parents, Brothers & Sisters

Prince's Parents, John Lewis Nelson and Mattie Della Shaw

Prince's parents, John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw, were musicians in their own right. Prince was named after his dad, John L. Nelson, who was known as Prince Rogers in his jazz career. He co-wrote a number of songs with Prince. John died in 2001 at the age of 85. According to Peter Gillis, who wrote an ebook about Prince and his family, there was a 16-year age difference between Mattie and John. You can see a photo of John here.

Prince's mom, Mattie Della Shaw, was also a jazz musician. She and John had two children together: Prince Rogers Nelson and Tyka Evene Nelson. John also had four other children with Vivian Nelson. You an see a photo of her with Prince and Tyka from Tumblr here. John and Mattie divorced when Prince was only 10. Mattie passed away in 2002. According to, Prince felt like his mom abandoned him for her second husband and he rarely spoke about her. He did, however, say that she was responsible for his "wild side." (Getty)