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Ronnie and Phil Spector were in an abusive marriage from 1968 to 1974

By Eric Todisco
January 17, 2021 04:00 PM
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w/Ronnie Bennett (Spector) recording
Ronnie Spector and Phil Spector.
| Credit: Ray Avery/Redferns

Ronnie Spector is speaking out after her ex-husband Phil Spector died on Sunday at age 80.

The Ronettes front-woman, 77, remembered the famed music producer in a post on Facebook following news of his death. Ronnie and Phil had an abusive marriage from 1968 to 1974.

"It's a sad day for music and a sad day for me," she wrote. "When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best. He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days."

The "Baby, I Love You" singer continued: "Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale. The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him."

"As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband," Ronnie said. "Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged."

Ronnie concluded her post by writing, "I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever."

Phil, who is credited with developing the "Wall of Sound," produced hits for artists, including The Beatles, Tina Turner and The Ronettes, which Ronnie was the lead singer of during the 1960's.

Throughout Phil and Ronnie's marriage, the producer kept her sequestered in their California mansion and subjected her to years of psychological torment before she was able to escape. "I thought, I wasn't going to sing again and that I was going to die there," she recalled to PEOPLE in 2018. She went on to divorce the producer in 1974, and move back to New York to rebuild her musical career.

In 2009, Phil was sentenced 19 years to life for his second-degree murder conviction in the 2003 shooting of actress Lana Clarkson. 

Clarkson, a 40-year-old actress who starred in the 1985 cult film Barbarian Queen, was found in the foyer of Phil's mansion with a gunshot wound to the mouth in 2003. The defense claimed Clarkson was depressed over a breakup and used a 38-caliber pistol to kill herself.

Jurors in Phil's first trial, which ended in September 2007, failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for 15 days. His retrial began in October 2008.

Jury Reaches Verdict In Phil Spector Murder Trial
Phil Spector
| Credit: Al Seib-Pool/Getty

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed in a statement on Sunday that Phil "was pronounced deceased of natural causes" on Jan. 16 at an outside hospital. 

"His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office," the statement read.

Although a cause of death has yet to be determined, TMZ reported that Phil died of coronavirus-related complications.