Tina Turner Had a Theory About What Caused Ike Turner to Be Abusive

Rock legend Tina Turner’s relationship with Ike Turner was the subject of her book, I, Tina and the movie What’s Love Got to Do With It? The book and the movie depict Ike’s physical abuse while they were married and performing together. Years later, after Ike’s death and remarried to Erwin Bach, Tina Turner still thinks about what made Ike the way she described. 

Tina Turner sings while Ike Turner plays guitar
Tina Turner and Ike Turner | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

In 2018, Turner spoke with Oprah Winfrey for Super Soul. Turner shared some theories about why Ike was abusive. 

Tina Turner reflected on her abusive marriage while hospitalized

After her 2013 wedding to Bach, Turner experienced three health issues in quick succession. She had a stroke, got diagnosed with intestinal cancer, and both her kidneys failed, requiring dialysis until she could receive Bach’s kidney. During her hospitalization, Turner said she reflected on Ike.

Ike Turner poses side by side with Tina Turner
Ike Turner and Tina Turner | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

RELATED: Tina Turner Survived Major Health Problems That Began at Her Wedding to Erwin Bach

“When I was in the hospital, I was probably thinking why he did what he did because, in the musical, it showed that he changed because of drugs and also he was paranoid that I would leave him like all the rest,” Turner told Winfrey. “I think some kind of way, I really came up with there was a little bit of sickness in there with Ike.”

Ike and Tina Turner’s act exacerbated the problems 

Before she went solo, Ike and Tina Turner were a duo. Turner suggested Ike grew jealous of her talents.  

Tina Turner extends her hand while singing on stage
Tina Turner | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

RELATED: Is Tina Turner the Villain In ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’?

I think he did what he did because he couldn’t sing. He had to depend on me to do the singing. At that same time, when we couldn’t get a hit record, I was being blamed and so he had to find someone for the blame. The drugs, or whatever he was taking, shifted all of that weight, the cause of no success on me. Then of course I started to write the songs or do whatever I could do to try to get hit records to change him because he hadn’t been violent and like that before.”

Ike Turner had a history of violence 

Turner also acknowledged that Ike’s girlfriend before her, Lorraine Taylor, experienced similar conflicts with Ike.

“Well, I’m wrong, he was always violent wtih Lorraine, the lady of the two children he had for her,” Turner said. “He just had that streak. He actually did have a little bit of a sickness.”

Tina Turner thought Ike ashed out when he felt insecure

Turner said Ike had a lot of insecurities. She felt his paranoia contributed to his violence.

“When he was growing up, he was really quite unattractive,” Turner said. “He became better looking after teeth and hair and all of that stuff that goes with Hollywood. The girls wouldn’t actually date him. They would meet him behind closed doors or in the backseats of cars, steamy windows. So he had that phobia also that girls didn’t want him because he was unattractive. He had all kinds of phobias I think.”

Tina Turner sings in a red dress while Ike Turner sits and plays guitar
Ike and Tina Turner | Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

RELATED: The Real Story Behind Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ Lyrics

Turner thought Ike may have also felt he had trouble communicating verbally. 

“He didn’t have the education,” Turner said. “His English wasn’t English, he made up his own English basically. But, he was good with counting. He could read but you know when you’re intelligent you’re able to do things fluently. He didn’t do it fluently but he understood. So he was good with contracts. That was business but he was not an educated man. He dropped out of school at the eighth grade.”

Source: Super Soul