Tina Turner’s life was far from easy, but if fans can learn anything from the Queen of Rock n Roll is that following your heart and your gut is the way to go. In the wake of Turner’s death, many are looking back at the icon’s life including some of the unsavory parts including her infamous and notorious abusive relationship with ex-husband Ike Turner.
At 18, Tina met Ike, then 26, and began to sing with him and his band Kings of Rhythm after Tina’s sister arranged for them to meet at a local club where Ike and his band were performing which would be the segway for Turner’s eventual fame and also the beginning of the abuse she would face at Ike’s hands.
In 2018, Turner revealed that she had forgiven Ike for all the abuse he put her through as well as multiple extramarital affairs. Turner was quick to clarify what her forgiveness meant exactly.
“As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him,” she told The Times. “He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ Ike wasn’t someone you could forgive and allow him back in.”
It wasn’t until 1976 that Turner left Ike, and she revealed during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show that she explained the events of that night including her decision to walk out with nothing but a Mobile card and 36 cents in her pocket before making a break across the Dallas Freeway at night. “I walked out without anything and had to make it on my own for my family and everyone so I just went back to work for myself,” she told the host. “It was very difficult and dangerous because Ike was a violent person and at that point he was on drugs and very insecure. I had no money. I had no place to go.”
A decade later, Turner met Erwin Bach, 67, who would become the final love of her life. Bach served as an executive for the European music label EMI and Turner worked with the label in order to promote her music overseas. They met as Bach was sent to a German airport by the label in 1985 to welcome Turner to the country.
In her 2020 memoir Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good Turner reflected on their meeting, “I instantly felt an emotional connection…Even then, I could have ignored what I felt — I could have listened to the ghost voices in my head telling me that I didn’t look good that day, or that I shouldn’t be thinking about romance because it never ends well. Instead, I listened to my heart. I left my comfort zone and made it a priority to get to know Erwin. That simple first meeting led to a long, beautiful relationship — and my one true marriage.”
They were married for ten years until Turner’s death in May 2023, and Turner credited Bach for teaching her how “to love without giving up who I am.”
Turner enforced this sentiment in her memoir, writing, “Erwin, who is a force of nature in his own right, has never been the least bit intimidated by my career, my talents, or my fame. He shows me that true love doesn’t require the dimming of my light so that he can shine. On the contrary, we are the light of each other’s lives, and we want to shine as bright as we can, together.”