I'm Oprah Winfrey, welcome to Super Cell Conversations, the podcast, I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us. Starts right now.
Years before Beyonce and Rihanna were born, Tina Turner was selling out stadiums around the world as the first black female rock and roll star. And it's no secret I am one of her biggest fans. Tina Turner is one of the greatest role models for women of any generation. Every note she sings declares, I am here. I will not be broken. Today, at 73 years old, Tina Turner says life really is simply the best. This summer, Tina married her longtime partner of nearly 30 years, and I was fortunate enough to be there to be a part of that big day.
I'm in the south of France where Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Bach have been enjoying their honeymoon. We're at the most elegant Grand Hotel du Cop Ferrat, one of the finest hotels in the world.
Hi, everybody. Oh, my God, look at you. You are the role model for the 21st century. Oh, thank you, Oprah. You make me feel very good. Oh, look at this.
Well, you look fantastic. Good God, girl. Good God, girl. So this is one of your honeymoon places.
I know you've been someplace else for the honeymoon. Yes.
This is this is a part of my honeymoon. But as everyone says, Oprah knows how to pull you out of retirement and the honeymoon.
And so here we are. OK, so you've been on honeymoon for a week. And I wanted to ask, is there something you need to share with us? Are you pregnant or are you pregnant?
So that's one of my girlfriends. And not don't go start having children. That's right. So I thought I knew you pretty well.
And then when I heard it announced that you were going to get married, I literally did. I literally went what? And for what? And for what? And for what? Can you answer that question? That comes a time in life. And as everyone knows, I'm 73 years old. You must put things in place first. I started consolidating, getting rid of property. Yeah, I got rid of the house and a property in America. Yeah, I have.
I say made a situation for my sons. Yeah. Anything that was costly I totally got rid of. Yeah. And then the next thing I found that if something happened in death for me which and I weren't married before now he would have no say. And I thought I was a bit unfair to live with someone for as long as we are and not to give him any say. Yeah.
Tina and Urban met in Cologne, Germany in 1986. At the time, Urban was a record executive and picked Tina up at the airport before a concert. Despite a 16 year age difference, Tina says she felt instant attraction.
So I had talked about marriage before because he said to me, Didn't you ask you when you.
When I was 50, when I was 50 years old, he asked me if I would marry with him. Oh, I'm so much younger now. And I simply said, I don't have an answer because it was a yes and it wasn't. No, no. We talked about marriage. He said we have to do something because if something happens to me, you can't get my money. And I said, look, I kind of thought like marriage says ownership.
You are my wife, you are mine. And I didn't want that my anything anymore. I'd had enough of that from growing up with, you know, with my family and that situation. I just didn't want to be hands on control anymore, which I didn't think that Urban would.
But he might have because psychologically that that law changes people's mind about that has been the thing for me.
I have to do certain things now because you are my wife. Well, yes. And also this that what happens is, is that people I think traditional men feel like the word wife means something.
Yeah. All right. And I notice you have these at the wedding like fans for everybody, which was great. Yeah.
You know, sometimes in a restaurant you see a really lady dress very nice. She picks up the menu or something.
A little fat is always a little bit time is a little nice. Little nicer. Let's keep a little one. I love this. A little fat. It's always a little nice. You planned every detail of that wedding.
That was one of the most spectacular weddings I'd ever seen.
More than 200 friends and family members join Tina and Irwin at their Swiss estate, Chateau Algonquin.
Just as Tina envisioned, the wedding was magical with personal touches from her everywhere, and it's love you give, I'll be a man of good faith.
Tinas longtime friend, Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, performed his classic song, All for Love as the couple walked down the aisle for one and often love.
The pink Armani flower girl dresses were just the most magnificent I've ever seen, and one of my favorite details, a stunning wall of roses created by celebrity florist Jeff Letham.
Well, I knew it was something going on when the wedding invitation requested that all the guests wear white because normally you never wear white to a wedding. That's when everyone said yes. So I knew that you must have been coming up with something spectacular, you and Giorgio Armani, that that dress was something I have to tell you. Do you have a favorite moment from that day, the day of the wedding? Yes. Do you have a favorite moment?
OK, I have to tell you, because I started to plan it January and I had really gotten tired. I was tired of thinking about it. I was tired of waiting for the day. I wanted to get in the car and go to Italy before its time. Then I said to Irving, I said, You know what, darling?
I'm going to miss all of this. I want won't see it. So then he starts to think for me.
So he said, you know what? If we get a place in the house or you can sit and peek and look what people coming in.
So your favorite memory is looking out the window and watching us all come in. So I stood in the window and I had it open, just, you know, and you could see my face reacting to certain people. Some I was laughing that bit and some was awesome. Those ladies dresses were.
Yes, everybody looks so. Yes. You know, I was very interesting about it and I was so absolutely honored to be there. And I said at one point, this feels like The Great Gatsby for real. And it also anybody who's been in an experience like that, you feel elevated by the experience. That's what I feel elevated by the experience. It really was.
I am rock and roll. I cannot envision performing any other kind of way. But the other side of me is that elegance. And that's what I wanted for that day. It was not about my career. I play my music or to wear hot, funky clothes. Yeah, it was to wear the best I could be and that I wanted my my garden, my house and my guest to be the best they could be. And they were. And they were.
In 2009 when music legend Tina Turner took her final bow, that curtain closed on one of the most storied careers in music history. After half a century, eight Grammys and nearly 200 million albums sold, the Queen of Rock and Roll had left the building.
Tell me you were 69, the last tour you put away The Libertines. You're the only human being I know.
Well, the red soled shoes that was up there with the red soled shoes before we knew what red shoes. That's right. OK, so you put that away. How hard was that to to hang up the shoes?
Oprah, my friend. Very easy, really. I've been working towards that for so long. I worked hard all my life. They gave me everything. And I when I started to take care of my family, I would say, oh, I wish someone would do that for me. And I knew that it wouldn't happen. So I worked. And when that happened, that means I balanced my money and I had to make sure that financially that I could do it.
And when I left there, I put it to rest. I put it to sleep. I tried to forget all of those stressful moments, even in the dressing room, and not feeling like going on stage whenever it's time for me to be. Dana, something turned and that's that professional that I became, no matter what I felt or how sick I was or aching to. I like I did it because I wanted to leave that stage knowing that everybody had a wonderful time.
And I believe that's what happened again.
Every time I've seen you perform and I've seen you perform more than anybody else on Earth, I remember standing in Houston with a woman who was crying and said, I now know I can do anything just from watching you on stage. And that's what you wanted every time. And I got letters saying it was more than singing, more than a rock and roll star. I didn't know how my style of work on stage could give people hope and make them go out and make it happen for themselves.
And all of the mail that came in to me said after seeing your show, I went out and I made my life happy.
Yeah, that is what I achieved.
Yeah. That is what you achieved. That is what you achieved. So the night in Sheffield, England, when you knew that that was going to be the last performance, was it bittersweet at least? No opera.
Now, this I have to be careful how I say this, because the public will get it wrong when you've waited for something decades. I went back out Ike I cantina days were over where I was a slave. I had to go back and slave again for myself. Yeah.
And that whole to make more because to have enough money to have to take care of family. Yeah. And to take care of responsibilities and all of my charities and all. And you have to get yourself in that position so you don't worry about it. Yeah. I wanted to retire and now. Worry, and that is what that tour did for me, so I got to my go, I received that moment, a revelation of this is it, I'm going home now.
Whoa, I was going home in a big way, more than just a house. I was going back to a place where I had decided in my last stage of my life where I want to be. Yeah, no one ever knew on stage how much I really was tired of singing and dancing. You were tired of it. It's work. I know it's work, but it's something when you do all of your life. Yes. Every night.
That's all you do. You know, everyone is having a good time. You're up there working. Yeah. It's just was years and years of work and oh again, the body had started to react on working on high blood pressure. Yeah, I was taking medication which pulled me back. I didn't I couldn't get into that second gear to try to fly.
Is that what would happen to you on stage? It feels surreal. It was the second gear. The first few seconds was, you know, the look and everything. And then the second song I started to perspire and I was losing the beauty. But that wasn't important then because I knew I already had my audience. And then I made the costume change. Second gear, I went for third gear. That was when I changed the clothes the last time I got on that plane and went out to the people and that was it.
So it started to become harder. I couldn't hit my notes, dammit. I wanted to hit those notes and I had to really fake those notes somehow, you know, but I managed it. It took every drop of energy and life out of me. Afterwards, I took a hot bath and just laid. And then I would eat and it would take really until the next evening for me to restore that energy back. So I did nothing but that so that I could complete continue.
So everyone thought because it was so you were so believable on stage.
Effortless. It looked effortless. It's not that I didn't enjoy it Oprah. I enjoyed that. But you know, whenever I got to certain songs like sampling the bars of Proud Mary are what's love got to do with it. There was certain key songs, but there was certain songs in between that worked me a little bit harder to get to those ones.
My idea is still, if I ever go back for any reason in any way, I will have to create another way that will get people to accept it, because no one ever wants to see a new performance any other way than that. Right? Well, you can't add one hundred or 80 or 90, so I don't think they would accept me standing in a wonderful gown singing That's not me.
Yeah, but every now and then, I always love that point where we get to problem, which is always one of my favorite moments. We sing every now and I want to do something nice and easy.
Right? Yeah, but I like to do it nice.
Wow. That was always a pleasure because then it was just me and my girls being naughty, as naughty as we wanted to be.
Did your performances excite even you when you would look at the tape? Yes. You still know I watch it with people. I'm on the edge of my seat. Really? Yes, yes, yes. Yes. Nothing like it. Nothing like it. Nothing like it. What did it feel like out on that screen?
It felt so good because I saw all of those faces that you don't see on stage. I only see a few. But when I was over there, it was so rewarding to give myself to them. They saw me with their own eyes and not on a screen. That's what I did for myself and for them. When I went out there, I went to them. How does singing take you beyond? Doing my time. When you sang I mine was singing and dancing, you fly, you move away from everything that is real, you are into something that's coming out of you, a note or a song or a note or a feeling.
And you get totally wrapped into that. And with the emotion of that and the dancing and the singing, it's like crying because you're not thinking of eating or sleeping. Addressing the song and the singing totally takes you out.
Tina Turner has always said her brutal 16 year marriage to Ike Turner was actually much worse than portrayed in the film. What's love got to do with it?
Now, just to look at your life up until the time you were able to escape, really kind of you were in a slavery. It was hell. It was hell. But what I want to say to the public is my struggle started inside of my mother's womb. I suffered all the way from childhood right up until the end of Ike. And what kept me on course was me, something I was born with, I believe that I was born with keeping in touch with staying on track because I always prayed.
You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah. Anna Mae Bullock was born in 1939 in tiny Bush, Tennessee. Her parents, Floyd and Zelma, had a volatile relationship and split up when Anna Mae was 10.
She was about to leave him when she found out that she was pregnant with me and the fighting had already started. But what I liked about it, she fought back. What I remember about them when they fought, there was no him standing over her. She was a fiery woman.
But you grew up watching your father be like. I watched them fight. Watch them? No, not even beat her up. I never saw him win. She fought with sticks of wood and everything. I mean, she was really feisty. But the bottom line is she didn't want to have another. She didn't want to have and I knew it. So I kind of grew up. So you were that baby that she was that baby. I didn't know what love was as a young child, but I was born independent.
I left the job by 18 years old and amazing life changed forever.
When Ike Turner, the lead singer of the popular St. Louis band Kings of Rhythm, brought her on stage and handed her a microphone, was worried about the way that things A said, but the way I knew he had found a star and charmed Anna's mother into letting her join the band.
She found that when we were talking alone last week.
So if you don't want to talk about it, just tell me, you know, and talk about it. And I ask you, do you remember the first time I kid you and you told me the first time, do you feel comfortable telling people now?
OK, OK. I didn't talk about it when I recorded the song A Fall in Love, I took it to New York Juggy Mary Sue Records, who said, Why don't you keep it with the girl's voice? I like it. And then I, you know, he hadn't considered that. So then I problem was he was a musician that always wanted to be a star and was a star locally but never internationally to travel. So he then changed the name to Ike and changed my name to Tina, because if I ran away, Tina was his name.
It was patterned, as you call it, so so we could own you. So he could only Aizman. He was an educated, smart man, but he has a common sense and and a really strategy and car. So he owned you. Yes. So we came back.
I don't even know if that was the name on the record. And so I started to feel something and he started to touch me. I really didn't like it because that was my brother. That was my friend, actually. Maybe I wouldn't have been here today if we had not if I hadn't gotten a relationship with him because we were very close as friends.
So you weren't even his girlfriend? Oh, I not everybody. No, it was just control. I had sex with everybody around him, over everybody, his wife. So then I said to the woman that was helping him at the time, I said, I don't want to do this. I knew how I was. He had been he always fought.
He always fought women, man. Everybody. And my instincts told me I was moving into something that wasn't going to be good.
And so she went in and told it. So then he said she said, I want to see you. So I went into his room and he started that. He had a sick way. I found. He started it with what are you trying to do to me, and then the next thing you would pick up something because, you know, if you play guitar, you can't fight and play the guitar. So you always fought with something and that against the I guess the head, always the head with a shoe stretcher.
And I had never would meet the shield stretcher and it really hurt. But I was still trying to figure out what was happening. And then so then the beating came, you know, like all the rest that I was down by then really started to cry. And then he said, get in bed. That was really awful. I have sex after they know I hate you.
How can I let you? How can we make love now if it's love. Yeah. And went through that and then I laid there with a swollen head just having sex. Feeling like you have really gotten yourself into something. I had nowhere to go. I had a child, I had already a child from one of the musicians. I had nowhere to run. I needed to make money. I wanted to sing to make money. In 1978, Ike and Tina divorced.
Tina was left to raise her two sons, one from Ike and one from a previous relationship. She also adopted two of Ike's children as her stepsons.
Everybody who's watching this right now, who's living this right now, you told me something I thought was so I mean, profound. You said sometimes you'd walk in the kitchen in the morning and he'd say, what's on your mind? Yeah. And you say nothing. You have to start working on having nothing on your mind. So when he asked you, he couldn't believe it. Nothing was on your mind. Sometimes now I really love it. He was really crazy.
Crazy. It's crazy. It was crazy because how could you not have anything writing? You always have something on your mind. Something is always on your mind. Stupid. Oh, we're so happy that I can laugh about my past because when I look back well actually today that we didn't laugh about him a lot while he was alive. I had his back because everyone knew that it was ridiculous how he was OK.
Do you remember Robbie Montgomery? Robbie was a support for me in those dark days. Oh, I might choke up here a little bit. Robbie was like a sister when she was in.
I get you know, Miss Robbie Montgomery is the star of the hit show. Welcome to Sweetie Pies. But Miss Robbie got her start is one of the famous Arquettes singing backup in the Ike and Tina Turner Review.
And times when I didn't have money, Robbie would always loan me money. Yeah, I have to give it back. But, you know, I did my own and I probably knew that I would. But she didn't know how because I didn't give me money. And when Robbie left. Oh, I missed her so much. Oh, I don't mean to cry, Robbie, but it's just, you know, it comes up. Robbie and I were very close when she was when I get in twenty seven, Ike Turner died from a cocaine overdose.
He was seventy six years old. Tina did not attend Ike's funeral.
I thought it was so appropriate. The world's waiting to hear what you have to say. You said nothing when he died. Was it then finally over for you?
You know, I want to tell you the truth. It was twenty years. I didn't feel anything about whether I was alive or dead at that time.
Yeah, he was totally gone in my memory or anything. So when I heard he was dead, it was almost like hearing a person that I didn't know anymore.
This is why you are not just a role model for me. Everybody knows that I'm a big fan and it's actually difficult to interview somebody when you're as big a fan as I am of you. You're obviously a role model for me, but you are a role model for the world, because I remember when I was interviewing in 2008, you and Cher in Las Vegas and we started talking about aging.
And you were so profoundly eloquent. How do you feel, though, about getting older? I have to say that I welcome it with open arms because my my senior life is so much better than when I was young. I am the wisdom, the way I think my attitude towards things, it really there is a change when you are still healthy and you still look good. Yeah. So your whole outlook changes on everything. And you really you don't mind being 60.
The number doesn't mean a thing. You have no regretting of it, not of death, not in of any of that. No, all of that is I I've done it. You say loudly and proudly that you were 70. Yes. Three. Yes. But I am at a stage where. You can get emotional when you start to talk about that, to be able to get to this stage and say even when it's time to leave and go to another planet.
Yeah, excited about that, because I'm curious to know what what is it about? You know, nobody can tell you. Yeah. Because nobody has come back to. So I'm not excited about to die, but I don't I don't regret it when it's time for me. I've done what I came here to do now is pleasure. I've got great friends. I have a great man in my life now. I have a great husband and I'm happy.
Yeah. I was speaking to you just before the wedding and something you said really struck me. You said I found happiness for myself. You said, Oh, I found happiness for myself. And I think it's because I desire nothing made my eyes water. When you first said that. Yes, yes. You desire nothing. How do you get to the space? That's where we're all trying to get to where you desire nothing.
First, it's a journey. You're born, you go through the journey and then you leave the journey. Now, how you manage the journey, it's very, very important. I stayed on track. I stayed on course. Now, why I stayed on course, I had a wish, my wish was to arrive here where I am today in this frame of mind and this physique and this healthiness and this it's a happiness that I never knew that that's what happiness was.
I'll try to explain that you're happier than you ever imagine yourself. Ever imagine what happened is was and the past happiness was, oh, I bought a dress. Oh, I have this car and oh, we just bought another house. Just it was all material things. Yeah. There is one. When I get up in the morning and I go and sit I have a big chair in my room where I meditate. I sit there to finish waking up inside of me is a first is a feeling of I say I give thanks for this feeling.
It's a feeling comes over you a wellness. Of a free no schedule, nobody bothering you? Nothing in the way, just that moment of you sitting there where you want to be. There is nothing that you want, I have the house, I have the comfort, I have the cars, I have the jewelry, I have the peace of mind, I have the friends. What else is there to want? Sounds like Nirvana to me, it sounds like Nirvana to me sounds like no, but is it true?
Are you now a citizen of Switzerland? Yes, I am.
I feel totally safe there. I like how they live. They live strictly by a law that they've kept from the very beginning. And how I know from the very beginning, because when I went for the interview for the citizenship, I had to really learn how the Swiss people are.
So I had to take the test, as people do when they're coming to America. Tell me about this, though. Is there something about being over here, Switzerland in particular, that you feel embraced? I can answer it longer. OK, I went on tour when I was 69 and, you know, I toured and I continue days. Yes. And I always took the bus. We didn't fly by plane only when we had to. And I really looked at the land, you know, seeing it for years and years by bus and all over and over.
I have to say, it's some kind of way. I felt like I finished living and I felt that you'd done it, that I had done it. And that was not a desire anymore. But I was maybe it was because I had something and lived in Europe and felt something different. And I know that in all that you've done and all that you are you are also a giver and that you're giving back to the place that really started your beginning the flag school and not Bush.
What does that mean to you?
When Tina was a young girl back in Bush, Tennessee, schools were very much segregated. She attended a one room schoolhouse for black children called Flag Grove School. For the past 45 years, it's been used as a barn, but last year it was moved to a local museum to be restored. Tina is not only helping with restorations, but the school will now hold treasured memorabilia from Tenez music career. I am getting involved with that school because I feel a part of heritage, yeah, legacy.
Legacy, yeah. And what will be ultimately you think? I think the school is a wonderful legacy. But when you look back at your life and now you're in the Nirvana stage of your life, what is the legacy of Tina Turner? Oh, Oprah, thank you, I have to sit over here to talk about that. That's a joke, endurance. You know, I endured hardship all the way. If we stay on course, we stay focused, never smoking, never drinking, never doing drugs, my legacy is that I stayed on course from the beginning to the end because I believed in something inside of me that told me that it can get better or you can make something better and that I wanted better.
So my legacy is a person that strived for wanting it better and got it. I love this quote in German Vogue. They said To let rest the glorious past and try something new is probably one of the most difficult things a living legend can do. You're on the cover of German Vogue. You're actually I read the oldest person they've ever had on the cover of journalist. Tina landed Vogue at 73.
But to let go of the glorious past and try something new, probably one of the most difficult things in living legend can do.
Not true for me, not true for, you know, because this is my glory days. This now, you know, people think when you're on stage, that's the glory days, the lights, you know, the clothes. And that was not my glory days. These are my glory days. Wow.
OK, I want to talk about when you first saw Urban and what that meant. You know what? I think I really needed love. I just needed to love a person. The feeling of love in a person is very important to have. Yeah. So I walk through the airport and as I got to the door, I was walking at this really handsome young man stepped out from behind a column. I think he was just coming and he had his arms out.
He said hello. So what first got me? I step back two steps because I didn't know who he was. And also he was he was another kind of handsome. He was an unusual looking man, great eyes. So I got in the car with Ervine and my heart was already my hands were wet. And I thought, oh my God, this is love at first sight. It was love at first sight. We're going to bring him in.
Let's do that or that.
Mr. Bush put on your smiling wedding present. So be the groom. So I saw you as we were talking about the old days and I saw you flinching. I saw you drop your head. Is it hard for you to hear? Well, yes, it is. I didn't read the book.
You didn't read the book? No.
It's hard to hear and read the past of a person you love when this comes up. So I always think that one day will erase this reset that you want it to be done.
Yeah, I think that our relationship is now almost thirty years old.
Yeah. And I think that our relationship is almost longer in Tina's present than the previous relationship.
So I think it's a time to close the book and close the chapter. And I think after the interview with you, she will. I think so. I think so because everything is said. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know what is interesting that you ask her to marry. She shared with us that you'd asked to marry when she turned fifty twice. Yeah. Yeah. But you didn't really want to get married then. I think I've heard you say that.
Oh no, no, no, no. Truth is the truth is that I was trying to show my commitment. Oh good. You know, I think when a woman turns 50, she should have a commitment from her partner. Yeah. And that's why I proposed and asked the question wrong. Would you say, well, I said, will you marry remarry with me?
And of course, that was a joke. Not in my view. To me, it was like, OK, OK, that was a mistake. So I wasn't I wasn't so into the proper grammar at the time. It was cute that it happened anyway. So I was committed. I was committed and and you wanted her to know it and I wanted to show this. And so I went down on my knees. I never did that before in my life.
I was never married before. Yeah. And I had my ring ready and I had this ready and I had everything ready. And it could have happened that I would have said yes, I didn't know. So she sort of said nothing and then strung along for too long.
I mean, that that was OK with me. I could read between the lines. Yeah. Because did you feel that once he asked you that, that he was committed to you, did you feel. No, no, no, no, no, no. Even though he asked me, I didn't think it was real. I didn't believe in. But you didn't want to say I didn't want to say no, because I want to continue the relationship.
Got it. I got it. Now, do you feel married? Do you feel married? It's been a week.
I think our love relational partnership was upgraded after 27 years.
You either go for it or you don't. Yeah, respect. And so I think that's what we both looked at each other and said, should we upgraded? Should we make it a little bit more legal? Should we make it? It should be, yeah. And that's basically what we did. The age difference ever bother?
You know, to me, Tina is not old. Tina is not younger. Yeah, she's she's the time. She's not black. She's not white. I mean, to me as a woman I love and that's it. I mean, I don't have any age related thoughts. Yeah.
Can I ask you this? I know the moment for all of us sitting at the wedding was when we heard Frank Sinatra's voice and the song started. I did it my way. And that was your wedding march. Basically, I did it my way. What was the significance of that?
I chose the song because when I listen to the words, it was very final. And he said, and now. The time has come. That's the introduction. Yeah, something's down the final curtain. Yes, I might cry if I sing it. I like what he said. I bit off more than I could chew and I spit it out. It's like, you know, as I've been on every roll that you can travel through the differences.
That wouldn't have been my way. But that is the way it was. Yeah. And you were actually smiling. Yeah. Could you say that that was one of the most perfect days of your life? That moment, the perfect day started two years prior. The consolidation and getting all of that together. That was the beginning of me saying, hey, wait a minute, something else was happening to Tina here. That's what I talk to myself.
So there's a movement coming here. And then that day, just which is I summarized it. Yeah, yeah, that was it. Now I have a husband and we will go the rest of our rest of my way together.
That's it. Perfect. That's my way together. Thank you.
Good, good, good, good, good, good. I'm Oprah Winfrey and you've been listening to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast. You can follow Super Soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet, go to Apple podcast and subscribe rate and review this podcast.
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