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Tina Turner | Tina Turner and Raymond Craig Turner | Source: Getty Images | Twitter.com/NBCBLK
Tina Turner | Tina Turner and Raymond Craig Turner | Source: Getty Images | Twitter.com/NBCBLK

Raymond Craig Chose a Different Path than His Musically Talented Parents - The Life of Tina Turner's Son

Titi Dokubo
Oct 19, 2022
12:18 P.M.

Raymond Craig Turner is the oldest son of the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," Tina Turner, from her relationship with the saxophonist Raymond Hill. His life followed a different path from that of his famed mother.

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Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee on November 26, 1939. She had a natural talent for performing, had a sultry and powerful voice, and became the world's most successful female rock artist ever.

After she began to sing with Ike Turner's "Kings of Rhythm" in 1956, she gave up her dreams of wanting to be a nurse, and he changed her name to Tina Turner.

Raymond Craig Turner Was Born When His Mother Was 18

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Craig was born in Missouri, USA, on August 20, 1958. At the time of his birth, his mother was only 18. His mother started dating Raymond Earl Hill a year after she joined the "Kings of Rhythm" band.

Raymond, who was older than Tina by six years, started their relationship when she was 17. She got pregnant and gave birth to their son the following year.

Before they met, Raymond worked on and off with the band; by 1955, he was with the band full-time as a tenor saxophonist and singer.

Photo of Michael Turner, Ike Turner Jr., Ike Turner, Raymond Craig Turner, Ronnie Turner, and Tina Turner circa 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Photo of Michael Turner, Ike Turner Jr., Ike Turner, Raymond Craig Turner, Ronnie Turner, and Tina Turner circa 1972 | Source: Getty Images

He joined them to move to St. Louis, Missouri, where he met Tina. While she was pregnant, he broke his ankle and left the band. When the band moved to California, he did not join them, and the couple separated without ever getting married.

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Craig graduated from high school and became a real estate agent. He worked for Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills. He later bagged a prestigious job in California and even fell in love.

However, even though everyone around him thought he was in a good place, he was unexpectedly found dead at his Studio City home in California on July 3, 2018. They ruled his death as a suicide.

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Craig Turner's Stepfather

When Craig was four years old, his mother married for the first time. On November 26, 1962, she married Izear Luster Turner Jr., famously known as Ike Turner, in Tijuana, Mexico.

Ike, born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA, on November 5, 1931, was a pianist and guitarist who formed the band "Kings of Rhythm" as a teenager.

He introduced Rhythm & Blues to East St. Louis, Illinois, and the neighboring cities. With Tina by his side, their first record, "A Fool In Love," peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1960.

Ike Turner and Tina Turner at the London Airport circa 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Ike Turner and Tina Turner at the London Airport circa 1972 | Source: Getty Images

As their career progressed, they started dating and got married. Ike adopted Craig and gave him his surname. Before their wedding, Tina and Ike welcomed their son, Ronald "Ronnie" Renelle Turner, on October 27, 1960.

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In her official autobiography, "My Love Story," Tina revealed that she believed Ike was envious of his stepson Craig because, unlike the other kids at home, he always acted right and was diligent at school.

Photo of Ike Turner in Los Angeles on March 5, 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Photo of Ike Turner in Los Angeles on March 5, 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Craig's brother Ronnie walked in their parent's footsteps and became a musician. After 16 years together, their parents divorced, and Tina adopted two of Ike's sons.

She adopted Ike Turner Jr., born on October 3, 1958, and Michael Turner, born on February 23, 1960. The children were from Ike's long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Lorraine Taylor.

Photo of Ike Turner Jr., Michael Turner, Tina Turner, Ronnie Turner, and Raymond Craig Turner on December 13, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Photo of Ike Turner Jr., Michael Turner, Tina Turner, Ronnie Turner, and Raymond Craig Turner on December 13, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

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Craig Saw Tina's Abuse

Growing up, Craig was an emotional and observant child. Even though other children in the house did not react to Ike physically abusing Tina, he did not handle it too well. Whenever he saw her black eye, it made him sad.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, his mother recalled an incident when Ike physically abused her in their room, and Craig knocked on their door to find out if she was alright.

His actions made her plead with her husband not to beat her at home because she did not want her children to hear what was happening.

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Raymond Craig Turner's Mother Divorced His Stepfather

Craig's mother finally found the strength to leave her abusive relationship after 16 years. However, she was scared because every time she left, he always found her and abused her some more.

Her instincts were right as Ike found her and wanted to talk to her in a car. This time, she was done and did not want to be on the receiving end of his abuse, so she exited the vehicle and escaped before that could happen.

Tina later revealed that Ike was glad she escaped when she did because he had brought a gun with him, and the case would have been different.

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Craig's mother managed to divorce his stepfather, and she was later able to leave with the children too. Craig was already in high school when she summoned the courage to go.

However, it was not an easy feat. Before leaving the physically, mentally, and sexually abusive marriage, Tina became desperate and almost took her life in a suicide attempt.

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Tina, who could not remember what it was like not to have a black eye, said:

"When I took those pills, I chose death, and I chose it honestly. I was unhappy when I woke up."

Later in life, she found love again when she married Erwin Bach, and they moved to Switzerland in 1994. As Tina started living her new life, her children accused her of neglecting them because she was no longer interested in the past.

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Tina's Presence in Craig Turner's Life

On June 13, 2021, HBO Max released "Tina," a two-hour-long film on the musician's career and life. After its release, an insider revealed that the documentary did not showcase her alleged absence as a mother.

The insider said she was not close to her children and did not spend holidays with them in their later years. Craig's mother also admitted to not spending quality time with her children in the documentary.

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Even though Craig recalled that their mother was strict while growing up, she spent the most time with him. They had such a bond that he would often call her "dear" jokingly.

In her official biography, Tina said she tried to keep him close, and sometimes she would take him while performing at concerts and was on the road.

Craig's Death

On July 3, 2018, Craig died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 59. They found him at his California Studio City home, and they ruled it as a suicide.

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Tina Turner allegedly sued a tribute act for looking too much like her.

Weeks later, his body was cremated, and Raymond Craig Turner's mother shared on social media as she and other family members scattered his ashes off the California coast.

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Tina said in the post's caption that the farewell ceremony, which took place on July 19, 2018, was the saddest moment in her life as a mother.

A year after his death, the "What's Love Got to Do With It" singer told CBS News that Craig died of loneliness, but she sensed he was in a good place.

Trying to Find Answers

Even though Tina believed Craig was in a better place, she could not understand why he would take his life. She revealed that he had just gotten a new job with a prestigious real estate Californian company.

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He was also in a relationship that seemed like it was headed for the altars. Tina's son confessed that his feelings for his partner were stronger than he had ever felt for anyone.

On his birthday in August 2018, he wanted to introduce his new love to his mother. In Tina's 2020 memoir, "Happiness Becomes You," the singer said she believed Craig had suffered from severe mental health issues and clinical depression.

Suing a Look-Alike Artist

In November 2021, Daily Mail noted that Tina sued a tribute act based in Germany for their striking resemblance. The Alabama-raised Dorothy "Coco" Fletcher was to perform in the show titled "Simply The Best."

Tina allegedly felt the promotional posters were misleading as their resemblance would make fans think she would be performing instead of Dorothy. The final ruling in the case was expected to have occurred in February 2022.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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