Tina Turner Left Her Abusive Husband Ike Turner on This Holiday

Tina Turner has entertained audiences for decades with her hit songs and larger-than-life stage presence. The new HBO documentary Tina is meant to serve as a conclusion to her life story as she recounts it from the beginning one last time. A significant portion of the movie chronicles her abusive marriage to Ike Turner in the 1960s and ’70s.

Tina Turner dancing and singing at her 'Foreign Affair' tour.
Tina Turner|Pete Still/Redferns

Tina Turner’s marriage to Ike Turner was filled with abuse

Tina Turner married rock musician Ike Turner in 1962 when she was a young singer in his band. They toured as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue and performed with the likes of The Rolling Stones and other famous groups. 

But things were far more sinister behind the scenes. Ike was physically and verbally abusive to Tina and was unfaithful throughout their 14-year marriage. 

Ike & Tina Turner Revue perform live on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on 24th October 1975
Ike Turner and Tina Turner | David Redfern/Redferns

Tina Turner stood up to Ike Turner

Turner recounted the night she left her ex-husband in the Tina documentary, which included audio from her groundbreaking 1981 interview with People magazine. It was early July 1976, and the Turners were in Dallas and on their way to a Hilton hotel.

When Ike physically struck Tina, she decided that she’d had enough and was going to fight back that day. “I pointed my finger in his face and I said, ‘I’m not going to take your licks anymore,'” she remembered. “I knew I was gone. I was flying. I didn’t know how, but I knew that that was it.”

Tina’s face was swollen and bloodied by the time they got to the hotel. She began massaging Ike when they got to the room as she’d done before, and once he started snoring, she knew it was time to make her escape.

Singer Tina Turner smiling for portrait wearing a black top and pearl necklace
Tina Turner | Denize Alain/Sygma via Getty Images

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Tina Turner left Ike Turner on the 4th of July

“I picked up my little hand luggage and I walked,” she said. She was on her way to a nearby Ramada Inn, and soon enough, she ended up at the freeway and had to run across, narrowly avoiding being hit by a huge truck.

She arrived at the Ramada Inn with a Mobil card and 36 cents to her name and begged the manager to give her a room for the night. Once she was safe inside, she called up a lawyer friend and booked a flight out to Los Angeles the following day. “I went in hiding where [Ike] didn’t know who I was,” she said.

“The next day, it was the 4th of July,” Turner recalled. Rather than lament the fact that the holiday was associated with a bad memory in her mind, she reclaimed it and celebrates it every year for a special reason: “It’s when I got my freedom.”

Tina Turner’s marriage today

Tina Turner became a successful solo artist after leaving Ike. After the release of her hit album Private Dancer in 1984, she met record executive Erwin Bach and eventually struck up a relationship with him.

The two have been together ever since. They tied the knot in 2013 and live a happy, quiet life in Zurich, Switzerland.