Ike was bru­tal to Tina ...I was al­ways telling her to leave

‘Sis­ter’ hor­ri­fied at star’s tor­ment

Daily Mirror - - WATTS THE GOSS - BY CHRISTO­PHER BUCKTIN U.S. ED­I­TOR chris.bucktin@mir­ror.co.uk

The “sis­ter” of Tina Turner has told how dur­ing the Queen of Rock’s hellish mar­riage she begged the bat­tered su­per­star to leave her vi­o­lent hus­band.

As one of the found­ing Ikettes, Ike and Tina’s back­ing singers, Rob­bie Mont­gomery spent a decade as close to the star as you can get. Even now they re­fer to each other as sis­ters.

Dur­ing the 60s and early 70s, they did the Chitlin’ Cir­cuit – for AfricanAmer­i­can per­form­ers – liv­ing weeks on end in buses or seg­re­gated ho­tels.

Now, as Tina’s new book, My Love Story, is set for re­lease next week, the mem­o­ries of her bru­tal past have flooded back to “Miss” Rob­bie, 78.

For years she was hor­ri­fied by the tyran­ni­cal grip Ike had over Tina, and Miss Rob­bie fought back tears as she re­called the vi­cious abuse.

In her up­com­ing mem­oir, Tina re­veals she was taken to a Mex­i­can brothel on her wed­ding night.

She suf­fered a cat­a­logue of abuse at the hands of co­caine ad­dict Ike, who died of an over­dose in 2007. This in­cluded be­ing punched, spat on and hu­mil­i­ated by him hav­ing af­fairs, even mov­ing mis­tresses into their home.

“Oh my God, as leader Ike was very stern. A bru­tal au­to­crat,” Miss Rob­bie said. “I was an em­ployee, so he didn’t treat Tina the way he treated me.

“He went too far, way too far. He was bru­tal, un­re­lent­ing, mer­ci­less.

“Ike ran their mar­riage like a busi­ness. Tina and I were like sis­ters and she con­fided in me.

“We were both from St Louis and the band was our whole world. I think I re­minded Tina of a cousin who grew up with her. We left home at the same time and we learned how to sing and per­form to­gether.

“We shared food, rode buses for miles and miles, and were in the dress­ing rooms to­gether, in houses to­gether. She and I were even preg­nant at the same time, I with my first and she was hav­ing her sec­ond. So for years we had kids around, too.

“Thank God I did not wit­ness Ike abus­ing her but I and the other Ikettes (Jessie Smith and Venetta Fields) saw Tina the next day.

“It was heart­break­ing. She suf­fered. She’d de­scribe what hap­pened to her, how she got her bruises, and we’d cry.

“I would tell her to leave him, I was al­ways telling her to leave him but she couldn’t. His hold was too strong.

“In fact, I had to leave her with Ike when I re­alised my­self I had to leave. It was like leav­ing your child with some­one you knew was go­ing to do them wrong but there was no choice.

“It was a ter­ri­ble wrench leav­ing her, my best friend and my sis­ter. I was dev­as­tated.”

Tina fi­nally left Ike in 1976, aged 37, with just cents in her pocket. At the di­vorce hear­ing all she in­sisted on keep­ing was her name, Tina Turner.

Miss Rob­bie said: “I al­ways stayed in con­tact with her. I was so emo­tional when she left

Ike. It was a point she needed to get to her­self and that’s what she told me af­ter.”

In her mem­oir, Tina re­veals she tried to kill her­self seven years into the mar­riage. The What’s Love Got To Do With It singer says the fi­nal straw was when Ike brought home three women to sleep with and called them all – in­clud­ing Tina – “Anne” to save hav­ing to re­mem­ber their names. Tina re­called: “One night, just be­fore a gig, I sim­ply couldn’t take any more and swal­lowed sleep­ing pills. “I cal­cu­lated that I’d get through the open­ing num­ber, which meant Ike would get paid. I was so well trained even my sui­cide had to be con­ve­nient for him.

“The pills, how­ever, kicked in just as I started to put on my make-up, and I ended up be­ing rushed to hospi­tal. As the doc­tors pumped my stom­ach, I was fad­ing fast… The fol­low­ing day, there was Ike. ‘You should die, moth­erf ***** ,’ he said.”

Af­ter the split, Tina paid her rent by clean­ing houses and even­tu­ally broke into cabaret, then played Las Ve­gas.

But in 1984, with her own man­ager and a new record la­bel, Tina re­leased solo al­bum Pri­vate Dancer, which sold 10 mil­lion copies and made her an in­ter­na­tional star in her own right.

She moved to Switzer­land in 1995 but never for­got Miss Rob­bie and has said: “In those dark days she was like a sis­ter. When Rob­bie left I missed her so much. We were very close.”

Miss Rob­bie went on to sing with Ste­vie Won­der, BB King and Bri­tish rock­ers Joe Cocker, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones.

She last saw Tina six years ago but keeps in con­tact. She has just re­leased her first EP and tonight per­forms her first con­cert in 30 years in St Louis – and is pray­ing her “sis­ter” turns up.

“If Tina is in that au­di­ence, oh my good­ness, I’d col­lapse on the spot. I pray she does show up. I’m go­ing to sing River Deep Moun­tain High in hon­our of her. If she’s not there in per­son she’ll be there in spirit.”

■ My Love Story by Tina Turner is out on Thurs­day. The Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Helpline is free on 0808 2000 247.

TRAV­EL­LING BAND The Ike and Tina Turner Re­vue pic­tured in 1965. Miss Rob­bie is cir­cled, Ike and Tina are at the back GRIM TIME Ike and Tina Turner in 1963

AN­GUISH Rob­bie wept over Tina’s or­deal

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.