Eight-time Grammy-winning music star Tina Turner reflects on her life in her latest memoir that reveals her greatest untold life lessons and deepest realizations.
The 80-year-old admits to overcoming a lifetime of adversity that includes an unhappy childhood, abandonment by her parents, an abusive marriage, a stalled career and financial ruin as well as the premature death of family members and multiple illnesses.
She details how she did it through her faith in Buddhism and chanting that began five decades ago in her new book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide To Changing Your Life For Good.
From growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee, as a little girl picking cotton and strawberries during the early days of World War II, she never could have imagined that shaking the hand of the Queen of England was in her future.
Anna Mae Bullock, the only name she ever knew until Ike Turner changed it to Tina Tuner, was born in a windowless basement relegated as the ‘colored’ women’s maternity at the county hospital.
Tina Turner has released a new memoir Happiness Becomes You: A Guide To Changing Your Life For Good that reveals her greatest untold life lessons
The 80-year-old admits to overcoming an unhappy childhood, abandonment by her parents, an abusive marriage stalled career and financial ruin. Anna Mae Bullock aka Tina Turner in a photo from the Sumner High School yearbook of 1958
Her home was a hotbed of hate and her mother finally fled for good when Anna Mae was 11.
Tina writes that her own acceptance of abuse years later in her first marriage kept her own self-image so low she subjected herself to insane levels of abuse years later.
She details how she did it through her faith in Buddhism and chanting that began five decades ago in her new book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide To Changing Your Life For Good
After both her parents left, her cousin Margaret took her in but died in a car accident.
Margaret’s death rocked Tina’s world but she found solace in the music she heard from the local and traveling gospel, blues and jazz musicians who stopped to perform in churches, cafes and juke joints.
A brief romance in Knoxville with sax player, Raymond Hill produced her first son Craig.
But then musician and singer Ike Turner invited her to join his band and then his bed.
Later came well known years of domestic violence. ‘Busted lips, black eyes, dislocated joints, broken bones and psychological torment became a part of everyday life,’ she writes.
‘I tried to keep myself sane while managing his insanity,’ Tina adds.
But her depression and despondency from Ike’s abusiveness and infidelities led Tina to attempt suicide in 1968 by downing 50 sleeping pills backstage before a concert.
The music crew backstage realized something was wrong and rushed her to the hospital to save her life.
Initially disappointed to wake up, she decided to just make the most of her life, but where she was headed she didn’t know – until a sound engineer suggested she try chanting.
‘Wasn’t that for hippies?’ she thought – until her youngest son brought home Buddhist chanting beads and suggested she chant ‘Namu-myoho-renge-kyo’.
‘These are words chanted with all forms of Nichiren Buddhism, and according to the faith, enables us to summon forth wisdom to surmount all adversity,’ she writes.
Ronnie also suggest they go to a chanting meeting but since Ike wouldn’t let her out of the house, Tina told Ronnie to bring the Buddhists to the house.
It was a quick path to reading books on Buddhist wisdom – and learning how to transform poisonous destructive negativity into creative positivity that gave her the strength to finally leave Ike Turner and file for divorce in 1976.
Ike & Tina Turner pose for a portrait with their son and stepsons in 1972. It was her youngest son who brought home Buddhist chanting beads and suggested she chant ‘Namu-myoho-renge-kyo’
She grew up as Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, picking cotton and strawberries and never imagines she’d be shaking the hand of Queen Elizabeth
Her depression and despondency from Ike’s abusiveness and infidelities led Tina to attempt suicide in 1968 by downing fifty sleeping pills backstage before a concert, she writes in her latest book
Ike thought that Tina might be able to put a curse on him with her chanting.
She writes that chanting ‘has become the hope-filled theme of her life’ and began at age 34.
It got her through tough days with the divorce, Ike sending over thugs to harass her, set fires to a friend’s car and fire bullets through her windows.
She even used the positive effect of chanting after suffering a stroke in 2013, intestinal cancer and kidney failure.
Tina is now married to Erwin Bach who she married in 2013
‘I was never shaken, at least not for long, by any health issue that arose…and mustered all my resilience through my spiritual training’.
With her faith and chanting, Tina finally escaped hearing the voices of the ghosts of her childhood and through her 20s and 30s, voices that told her how unattractive she was – with ‘a masculine body and legs like a pony’.
But she filled out and her legs became one of her biggest assets and she could dance on a wet stage in the rain wearing her high-heel Louboutins feeling no pain, she writes – thanks to chanting.
A favorite pastime growing up was to swallow four-leaf clovers in the hope that it might change her luck.
She didn’t realize at the time that her destiny was within and would soon learn to leave the ‘how’ up to the universe and the mystical workings of her soul and mind.
Meeting Erwin Bach at an airport in Germany while on a concert tour in 1985, she felt an instant emotional connect to the young music executive from the record company – which she attributes to her faith and being open to the gifts of the universe.
She admits to becoming her soul’s doctor through her devotion to Buddhism that she shared with David Bowie, who called her a phoenix because she was able to rise from the ashes of her earlier life.
She broke out of feeling like a prisoner of fears, desires and illusions by ‘practicing self mastery, self-reformation and refining my character’.
Well known years of domestic violence – from ‘busted lips, black eyes, dislocated joints, broken bones and psychological torment became a part of everyday life. ‘I tried to keep myself sane while managing his insanity,’ Tina writes of her relationship with Ike
Now in her 80s, she is fulfilling a long-held dream to teach – with the writing of this book and hoping it inspires readers to pursue Buddhism
Tina reminds the reader that life is short after facing her own mortality multiple times. She encourages us to get out of our bubbles and prevent barriers between people. Pictured performing in 1997
At home in Zurich, with Erwin, married in 2013, she goes to her second-floor prayer room and sits at a carved wooden altar where she daily chants.
She’s enjoyed telling people she’s 80 and thanks to her dear husband, he gave her the gift of life when he gave her one of his kidneys.
Now in her 80s, she is fulfilling a long-held dream to teach – with the writing of this book and hoping it inspires readers to pursue Buddhism.
She now forgives Ike for his brutal treatment of her and has come to terms with the death of her first son, Craig Hill.
Hill could not overcome mental health issues and committed suicide in 2018 suffering clinical depression and loneliness which exacerbated a drinking problem.
Tina reminds the reader that life is short after facing her own mortality multiple times.
She encourages us to get out of our bubbles and prevent barriers between people.
‘We need to awaken to work together to find solutions to transform the global poisons of systemic racism and homophobia, climate crisis, pandemics, loss of the Amazon jungle, factory farming of animals, fossil fuel consumption, nuclear weapons, plastic pollution’ — and more!