As reported by TooFab.com, the Proud Mary singer explained that their marriage (from 1962 to 1978) was “defined by abuse and fear, not love, or even affection” and how he felt the need to control her “economically and psychologically.”
“I convinced myself that death was my only way out,” she writes, noting that Ike was the one who insisted on having Turner — real name Anna Mae Bullock — take his surname.
“I said I didn’t want to change my name and wasn’t sure I wanted to go out on tour,” she wrote. “First, he was verbally abusive. Then, he picked up a wooden shoe stretcher. Ike knew what he was doing. If you play guitar, you never use your fists in a fight. He used the shoe stretcher to strike me in the head — always the head. I was so shocked I started to cry. Ike ordered me to get on the bed. I hated him at that moment.”
“At my lowest, I convinced myself that death was my only way out. I actually tried to kill myself,” she continued in her book. “I went to my doctor and told him I was having trouble sleeping. Right after dinner, I took all 50 of [the pills he gave me]. I was unhappy when I woke up. But I came out of the darkness believing I was meant to survive.”
Turner finally fled Ike in 1976, with only 36 cents in her pocket. It wasn’t until 1985 when she met her current husband, Erwin Bach and they married in 2013. In her memoir, Turner reveals shortly after they wed, she suffered a stroke and was facing the possibility of never being able to walk again.
“That’s when I discovered I couldn’t stand on my own,” she recalled. “I was too embarrassed to call for help. Legs for days and muscles of steel from dancing, but I didn’t have the strength to get up. Terrified, I dragged myself over to a sofa, all the while thinking that I couldn’t imagine Tina Turner paralyzed. I doubted that I would ever be able to wear high heels again, let alone dance in them.”
Although she learned to walk again, Turner was diagnosed with intestinal cancer three years later and underwent a life-saving kidney transplant. Bach, who is sixteen years her junior, was the donor.
“I wondered if anyone would think that Erwin’s living donation was transactional in some way,” she said. “Incredibly, considering how long we had been together, there were still people who wanted to believe that Erwin married me for my money and fame. What else would a younger man want with an older woman? Erwin always ignored the rumors.”
“I lived through a hellish marriage that almost destroyed me, but I went on,” Turner added. “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. But I’m still here — we’re still here, closer than we ever imagined. I can look back and understand why my karma was the way it was. Good came out of bad. Joy came out of pain. And I have never been so completely happy as I am today.”
My Love Story hits bookshelves October 16.
In related news, “Tina,” a musical based on the life and music of Tina Turner, will make its Broadway debut in Fall 2019.