Tina Turner reveals why she tried to kill herself during marriage to ex-husband Ike Turner

Monica Otayza
Oct 08, 2018
10:56 A.M.

Tina Turner's life has been dramatic enough to become a feature film and a London theater musical, but her new memoir "My Love Story" shows things into a heavily personal perspective as Tina describes her life in her own words.


The R&B singer shares her own story which discusses not just her fame, but the tragic personal life she had to hide from the press which included physical and mental abuse from her husband and business partner, Ike.

For the first time, she heartbreakingly reveals that she once tried to consider taking her own life as she thought this was the only way to end her torment at one point in her life.

Tina and Ike Turner met in the late 1950's at a St. Louis club, where he was performing with his band called "Kings of Rhythm". At the time, he was 25-years-old, and Tina, then known as Anna Mae Bullock, was only 17-years-old.


In her memoir, she writes about how their partnership was not rooted in love. After joining Ike and the rest of his band, she eventually got pregnant with her first son Craig in 1958. Even during her pregnancy, business was always Ike's first priority, and it was then she knew that she would only be a money-maker for him as she once netted him $25,000.00.

“My relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his money-maker. He needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him.”


It was during that time that he decided it was time to change her name. "Tina" was inspired by one of his favorite TV show characters, and he insisted that she took his surname to imply that she would be stuck with him forever. In fact, he even trademarked the name "Tina Turner" to make sure no one ever messed with it.


“I said I didn’t want to change my name and wasn’t sure I wanted to go out on tour. 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. The very last thing I wanted to do was make love, if you could call it that. When he finished, I laid there with a swollen head, thinking, ‘You’re pregnant and you have no place to go. You really have gotten yourself into something now.'”


After their son Ronnie was born in October 1960, they got married in a quick ceremony in Tijuana. Unlike other brides who dream of their perfect wedding night, Tina had to spend hers in a brothel.

"I’ve never, ever, told anyone this story because I was too embarrassed.”

A few years in their marriage, Tina thought she has had enough and just wanted to let everything stop.


“At my lowest, I convinced myself that death was my only way out. I actually tried to kill myself. 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.”

When the physical and mental abuse did not end, she finally found the strength to leave Ike in 1976 with nothing but a Mobil card and 36 cents in her pocket.

From there, Tina made sure to rebuild her career by playing solo gigs, and of course, battling her estranged husband in court to claim custody of her children and name.

In the end, she walked out of the courtroom with no money; just two Jaguars and her name with her.

If you or someone you know think they are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now for anonymous, confidential help, available 24/7.

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