Tina Turner's Dramatic Escape and Triumphant Return

By Jack Ripley | November 1, 2023

She's Been a Practicing Buddhist Since 1973

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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(Johnson Publishing Company Archive)

Tina Turner has practiced Nichiren Buddhism, a branch of Buddhism that originated in Japan, since the mid '7. A central practice of Nichiren Buddhism is chanting the phrase "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo," which is believed to enable individuals to tap into their inner life force and potential. In interviews, Turner has spoken about how she would chant for hours, seeking to transform her life circumstances. She credits her Buddhist practice with helping her find the courage to leave Ike Turner and subsequently reinvent her career. Her faith also helped her endure and overcome health struggles, including a stroke and cancer:
 

 I used to be baffled about why I had to endure so much abuse, because I hadn't done anything to deserve it. After I began practicing Buddhism, I realized that my hardships could give me a mission—a purpose.

Tina Turner Was Born Anna Mae Lubbock, 1939

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(HBO)

Tina Turner was born as Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in the small town of Nutbush, Tennessee. When she was still a young girl, both of her parents, Zelma and Floyd Bullock, left town, leaving Tina and her sisters to be raised by their grandmother in Brownsville, Tennessee. Sadly, her grandmother died when Tina was 16, and so Tina ended up reuniting with her mother despite their strained relationship. They lived together in St. Louis, Missouri, which was where Tina's music career was launched.