Mar 30, 2021

“How does a superstar fade away gracefully?” The shocking revelations of Tina Turner documentary

Tina Turner

Tina Turner was one of the most iconic stars of the ’80s, but in a new documentary that follows her tumultuous life and career, audiences get a backstage glimpse into what her life was really like. 

Airing on Foxtel, the documentary follows Tina from her abusive marriage with Ike Turner, to the night she decided to leave, and the stories behind some of her most iconic tracks. It also reveals what life is like now for the star, who celebrated her 81st birthday in November. 

The tell-all film titled ‘TINA’, allows the star to tell her incredible story one last time, closing the final chapter of her life in the spotlight. 

Born in 1939, Tina remembers matter-of-factly the way that she and her siblings were abandoned by their parents as children. One day her mother was gone, and her father left soon after. The children were left abandoned and unloved, their parents not even sending money or letters for support. In the documentary, may interviewees draw connections between this early childhood trauma, and the unfortunate situation of her relationship with Ike Turner later in her life. 

Tina met Ike when she was a teenager, and the legendary R ’n’ B singer quickly became the young woman’s whole world. Their professional life became a marriage when Tina was just 22, with Ike eight years her senior. Early footage of Tina, performing and presenting as a powerful young woman, carrying herself in a manner that was not commonly seen in other female performers of the ’50s and ’60s, hid the true horror of her personal life. Regularly enduring beatings and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband and business partner, Tina did her best to conceal the truth. 

Married for 16 years, Tina filed for divorce in 1976 after she was beaten in a hotel room. Once Ike fell asleep, Tina grabbed only her handbag, and ran across a busy highway, bruised and beaten, to take refuge in a hotel. Citing “irreconcilable differences”, the bitter divorce saw Tina leave their professional partnership with almost nothing but her stage name. 

Following years of interviewers asking the same question – “Where is Ike?” – and Tina patiently answering the same iteration of their going separate ways artistically, she eventually made the decision to do a tell-all interview with People magazine in 1981. Opening up publicly for the first time about the horrific abuse she suffered during her 16 years of marriage unfortunately led to Tina having to relive her past trauma, as tabloid journalists asked intrusive questions.

Finally, aged 44, Tina released her debut album, Private Dancer, and the second single, ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’, skyrocketed her to stardom. Quickly becoming one of the best-selling singles of the ’80s, Tina remembered being hesitant to record the song after hearing an earlier version by UK pop band Bucks Fizz. 

“It was terrible, it was awful … I was rock and roll, that was a pop song,” she said on hearing the track.

But upon taking on the song in her signature style, it became one of her most iconic tracks, and cemented her place as an incredible solo performer. 

Rounding out the incredible documentary, Tina says it is to be her swan song and a final goodbye to her loyal fans. The two-hour film tracks the incredible, and at times traumatic, journey of her life. 

The eight-time Grammy winner asks herself, “How does a superstar fade away gracefully?” Having spent the last decade fighting a myriad of health problems – from cancer, to a stroke and a kidney transplant – she feels it’s time to step away and enjoy the rest of her life out of the public eye. 

Tina intends to live out the rest of her days at her lakeside home in Zurich with her beloved husband, Erwin, whom she met in Germany in 1985, and says was love at first. 

She shares in the documentary, “He was younger. The prettiest face – you cannot miss it. It was like saying, ‘Where did he come from?’ He was so good looking. My heart went bu-bum. It means that a soul has met.”

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