Uncovering Tina Turner’s Journey: From Abuse to Success in ‘Tina’ and ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’ Movies (preview)


For Tina Turner and many other celebrities, it is incredibly surprising how we think we know who celebrities are because we only see their success, and we don’t see what it took for them to get there.

Tina Turner’s movie, ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ which pertains to her marriage to the very abusive Ike Turner, came out in early 1993 and represented what she went through, but not who she actually was.

I actually saw Ike Turner coming out of a 7-Eleven in the valley of Los Angeles and was surprised at how people treated him like he was a huge star. He reveled in every bit of it. He admitted in an interview that Tina had not spoken to him in over 30 years.

What's Love Got to Do with It, Tina Turner

I had the chance to watch Tina’s 2021 documentary on HBO Max, ‘Tina,’ recently, where she revealed a lot about her life and how she has felt unloved her entire life, starting with her mother, who abandoned her when she was a young girl, forcing her to live with her extremely religious and strict grandmother.

She reconnected with her mother when she was 16, as a teenager in St. Louis. It is ironic that her mother was not more supportive of her when she told her she was being abused by Ike because it’s the very reason her mother left Nutbush to get away from an abusive man. However, it is revealed in the movie, as well as the documentary, that her mother was in it for the money and didn’t really care about what happened to Tina.

Her mother appears briefly in the ‘Tina’ movie, and it’s quite evident that she was disconnected from Tina. Additionally, Tina admitted that she wanted her mother to love her, so she gave her everything she could, but she never received the love she desired and deserved.

There is a segment where Tina breaks down while talking about how she never felt loved in her life. Even her kids say that she was a good mom and she cooked, but she was very sad around the house.

This is the total opposite of who she appeared to be on stage, which apparently is where she found her freedom. Tina Turner was very fortunate in ways many celebrities never are—she got a second chance. At the age of 43, her album “Tina” was released in 1983. In the movie, her manager explains that the label didn’t want to take a chance on “that old Nigger bitch,” as a record executive said, but he convinced them to take a chance on her, and it worked.

What is also surprising is that Tina was not a big fan of the movie “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” It’s evident when she’s sitting down for a press junket for the movie, and she’s very disconnected from Angela Bassett, who is sitting right next to her.

She admits that she agreed to the movie as a way for people to stop asking her about Ike, but instead, it made them want to know more. However, it was something that she wanted to forget and not remember, so at the press junket, and she said that she had not seen the movie when one of the reporters asked what she thought of it. Angela Bassett looks completely uncomfortable, but they get through it.

Tina did not necessarily fit into black radio. She was definitely a pop artist, something many black artists never get a chance to be or do. So she enjoyed massive success in recent years. She suffered a stroke and had many medical issues in recent years after leaving America for Switzerland, and she died on May 24, 2023, at 83. Rest in peace.

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