Tina Turner's Dramatic Escape and Triumphant Return

By Jack Ripley | February 14, 2024

She Met and Began Performing With Ike Turner in 1957

The legendary Tina Turner, renowned for her explosive voice and electrifying stage presence, did not always bask in the spotlight's warm glow. In the heart of her story lies a harrowing struggle - one where she faced the daunting challenge of an abusive relationship and a fight for personal and professional freedom.

Our gallery takes you through the various stages of her journey, presenting a poignant exploration of her life off-stage. We begin with Tina's early years with Ike Turner, a chapter marked by both professional growth and personal turmoil. Tina's story serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of a woman who refused to be defined by her circumstances. She was a beacon of resilience, strength, and unstoppable talent: Miss Tina Turner! 

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Tina met Ike at a local nightclub when she was only 17, but their relationship was platonic and professional for the first few years. Tina described it as first as feeling like they were "brother and sister from another lifetime". At the time, Ike was living with his long-term girlfriend, Lorraine Taylor, and Tina began dating Ike's bandmate, Raymond Hill. After being blown away by her voice, Ike brought in Tina as the vocalist of his band, The Kings of Rhythm, and began to teach her formal vocal techniques and training. Her first performances and recordings with The Kings of Rhythm were under the stage name "Little Ann".

Ike and Tina Turner Rose To Fame, 1961

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(Getty Images)

While Ike and Tina were both enjoying the highs of professional successes, Tina had been forced to deal with intense lows behind the scenes since the start of her relationship with Ike. Right after the recording of "A Fool In Love", Tina had tried to end the relationship - and the physical and sexual abuse began. 

First, he was verbally abusive. Then, he picked up a wooden shoe stretcher. Ike knew what he was doing. If you play guitar, you never use your fists in a fight. He used the shoe stretcher to strike me in the head – always the head...After that he made me go to bed and he had sex with me. That was the beginning of the torture...He threw hot coffee in my face, giving me third-degree burns. He used my nose as a punching bag so many times that I could taste blood running down my throat when I sang. He broke my jaw. And I couldn’t remember what it was like not to have a black eye.

Ike would continue with this abuse towards Tina for over a decade.