Tina Turner bids farewell to fans
In the feature-length documentary, simply titled Tina, the singer has opened up about her younger years, and how she found true love, global fame and healing as a middle-aged woman.
The 81-year-old now suffers from a number of health issues and revealed in her film that she wants to enter her final chapter of life out of the spotlight.
Looking back at her life, Tina revealed: “It wasn’t a good life. The good did not balance the bad.
“I had an abusive life, there’s no other way to tell the story. It’s a reality. It’s a truth. That’s what you’ve got, so you have to accept it.
“Some people say the life that I lived and the performances that I gave, the appreciation, is blasting with the people. And yeah, I should be proud of that. I am.
“But when do you stop being proud? I mean, when do you, how do you bow out slowly? Just go away?”
The documentary, set to release in the US on Sunday, March 28, shows Tina speaking with her second husband, Erwin Bach.
After their farewell trip to the US for the Broadway premiere of her stage show, The Tina Turner Story, Erwin, 65, revealed: “She said, ‘I’m going to America to say goodbye to my American fans and I’ll wrap it up.’ And I think this documentary and the play, this is it – it’s a closure.”
Tina’s documentary is a painful reminder of her past, but she chose to share her life on film for her global army of fans.
In her career, she has sold more than 100 million records, and at her peak in the 1980s, sold out arenas around the globe.
Tina was born with the name Anna Mae Bullock, and her childhood days were filled by picking cotton in the fields around Nutbush, Tennessee.
Her mother, Zelma, suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her father, Floyd Bullock, before they both fled and abandoned her as a child.
Tina revealed that when she reunited with her mother as a superstar, Zelma was cold and unloving.
“Mum was not kind. When I became a star, of course back then she was happy because I bought her a house. I did all kinds of things for her, she was my mother,” Tina revealed.
“I was trying to make her comfortable because she didn’t have a husband, she was alone, but she still didn’t like me.
“Even after I became Tina, Ma was still a little bit like, ‘Who did that?’ and ‘Who did this?’ And I said, ‘I did that, Mum!’ I was happy to show my mother what I did. I had a house, I had got a car, and she said, ‘No, I don’t believe it. No, you’re my daughter, no you didn’t!’
“She didn’t want me, she didn’t want to be around me, even though she wanted my success. But I did for her as if she loved me.”
Tina experiences domestic violence and cruel abuse firsthand when she married her first husband Ike Turner in 1962.
The marriage saw Anna Mae Bullock reborn as Tina Turner and together they made a duo that would see them become soul stars for almost three decades.
When they split in 1976, Tina’s new name was the only thing she asked for in their divorce proceedings.
Together they Ronnie, and she adopted two of Ike’s children, Ike Jr and Michael, from his previous relationship.
She also had another son, Craig, from a previous relationship.
Erwin said in the documentary that his loving wife still has nightmares about those dark days and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.
“She has dreams about it; they’re not pleasant. It’s like when soldiers come back from the war. It’s not an easy time to have those in your memory and then try to forget,” he said.
Tina first tried to escape from Ike with a sleeping pill overdose in 1968 and admitted: “That scene comes back. You’re dreaming it. The real picture is there, it’s like a curse.”
She has come to terms with her past, and found peace with Ike, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2007.
Tina revealed: “For a long time I did hate Ike, I have to say that. But then, after he died, I really realised that he was an ill person. He did get me started and he was good to me in the beginning. So I have some good thoughts. Maybe it was a good thing that I met him – that, I don’t know.
“It hurts to have to remember those times, but at a certain stage forgiveness takes over, forgiving means not having to hold on.
“It was letting go, because it only hurts you. By not forgiving, you suffer, because you think about it over and over. And for what?”
Tina would go on to reinvent herself as a solo artist, and had hit albums such as Private Dancer and Break Every Rule.
Tina met German record producer Erwin while visiting Europe in 1986. She was 46 and he was 30, but it was love at first sight.
“He had the prettiest face. It was like, ‘Where did he come from?’ He was so good looking,” she said.
“My heart went ba-bum. It means that a soul has met. When he found out that I liked him he came to America and we were in Nashville and I said to him, ‘When you come to LA I want you to make love to me.’
“I thought that I could say that because I was a free woman, I didn’t have a boyfriend, I liked him.
“There was nothing wrong with it – it was just sex. And he looked at me as if he didn’t believe what he was hearing.
“He was just so different, so laid back, so comfortable, so unpretentious, and that was the beginning of our relationship.”
Tina made her last album in 1999, at age 59. She gave her final performance in 2009.
Tina now lives in Switzerland with Erwin, after renouncing her US citizenship.
In 2018, Tina lost her son Craig when he committed suicide in Los Angeles.
After scattering his ashes, she said: “My saddest moment as a mother. He was 59 when he died so tragically, but he will always be my baby.”
Her most recent illness led to her kidney transplant.
Erwin ended up being the donor, and while the process was risky for an elderly couple, they came out okay.
Erwin said: “It’s something we both have for each other. I always refer to it as an electrical charge. I still have it.”
Before the operation, Tina had been so ill that she was considering assisted suicide, as it is legal in Switzerland.
She joined the assisted-suicide organisation Exit, and recalled in a book three years ago: “It wasn’t my idea of life but the toxins in my body had started taking over. I couldn’t eat.
“I was surviving, but not living. I began to think about death. If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that, it was OK.
“When it’s time, it’s really time.”
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