Tina Turner is opening up about how she decided to forgive ex-husband Ike Turner after years of torment and abuse

By Alexia Fernandez
March 20, 2018 08:20 PM
Tina Turner

Tina Turner is opening up about why she decided to forgive ex-husband Ike Turner after years of torment and abuse while their success as a musical duo was rising.

The legendary singer, 78, told The Times she was just 16 when she met Ike, who quickly had her join his band, and almost as quickly, seduced the teenage singer who felt she had no choice but to date him.

“I felt awful. I didn’t know how to say no because I needed the work,” she said of the early days of their relationship. “I think I wasn’t educated to handle that.”

They would later marry but their marriage was plagued by violence.

“There was violence because he had this fear that I was going to leave him,” Turner said, despite the fact that it was Ike who had the extramarital affairs. “The other women, because I didn’t love him that way… the other women weren’t so bad, but it was the constant, constant ill-treatment.”

Ike and Tina Turner in 1975

It wasn’t until 1976, 14 years after they married, that Turner had the courage to finally leave him.

It would take decades for the singer to forgive her former husband, who died in 2007.

“As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him,” she told The Times. “He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ Ike wasn’t someone you could forgive and allow him back in.”

“It’s all gone, all forgotten. I don’t know what the dreams are about. The dreams are still there — not the violence, the anger,” she continued. “I wonder if I’m still holding something in.”

Tina Turner and husband Erwin Bach in 2015
Jacopo Raule/Getty

Ike admitted to being abusive to Turner in a 1990 interview with PEOPLE.

“All the fights Tina and I had were about her being sad about something,” he said. “I get real emotional if you’re worrying and don’t tell me what it is. Then I can’t about nothing else. So I’d slap her or something like that.”

Turner is now living in Switzerland with husband Erwin Bach, who she married in 2013 after 27 years together.

The years of physical abuse she endured at the hands of the music producer was later dramatized in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It, which starred Angela Bassett as the singer. The role went on to earn Bassett an Academy Award nomination.

Turner’s life was turned into a stage musical called Tina the Musical which premieres on London’s West End on Wednesday.

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