It was with tragic irony that Anna Mae Bullock, now christened Tina Turner by Ike Turner — whom she married in 1962 — would taste success at the cost of humiliation and abuse at the hand of her bandleading husband. The wedding was a rush job in Tijuana, reportedly to ward off his last wife trying to get a piece of his estate. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve never been married,” Tina said to Vanity Fair in 1993. “This woman was asking for money, so Ike felt he’d better marry me, so she couldn’t get property.” 

During the ’60s, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue caught fire, churning out hits like “Proud Mary” and “River Deep — Mountain High,” with critics eventually dubbing the female vocalist as the Queen of Rock and Roll. But she didn’t get any royal treatment from Ike, who allegedly engaged in philandering every chance he got, while physically and mentally abusing Tina repeatedly, sometimes just before a show. “I think my nose was broken because blood was gushing into my mouth when I sang,” she recalled of one incident to Oprah Winfrey. “Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup. But you can’t hide swelling.” 

While Tina said she’d try to leave on occasion, Ike would still catch her, often punishing her with a coat hanger or worse. “He had a gun at the time,” Tina recounted to Rolling Stone. “He always made me feel that at any moment he might put it to my head.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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