How Tina Turner’s ‘so different’ husband Erwin Bach once saved her life during their 38-year love affair
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: As a sensational singer, Tina Turner, aka the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll’, led a glorious career that made her immortal in the heart of her admirers. The legendary singer tragically died at the age of 83 at her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday, May 24. During her decades-long career, Turner delivered a string of chart-busting songs including ‘The Best’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Steamy Window’, and ‘Private Dancer’, among many more.
Turner spent the last days of her dynamic life with her loving second husband Erwin Bach, who blessed her with the "gift of life." The singer and the former music producer enjoyed a remarkable 38-year-long love affair after meeting at the pinnacle of her '80s success. In a story similar to a rom-com, the pair first met at Dusseldorf Airport in 1986, when Bach had been sent to greet her at the airport. The meeting came just a few months after the singer divorced her first husband Ike Turner to end their 20-year-long marriage that left her physically battered, emotionally devastated, and financially ruined.
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every time i think of tina turner i think of her describing seeing her husband erwin bach, who was 20 years her junior, for the first time and basically thinking: hes hot af, yes pls. pic.twitter.com/W1Y70GtbHJ— soraya roberts (@sorayaroberts) May 24, 2023
'This is what they call love at first sight'
According to Turner, she fell head over heels in love with 30-year-old Bach when she first saw him at the airport. "My heart suddenly started to beat BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, drowning out all other sounds. My hands were ice-cold. So this is what they call love at first sight, I thought. Oh my God, I am not ready for this. And Roger said to me, 'Tina, you ride with Erwin', and I wanted to go, 'Yay!'” the ‘Goldeneye’ singer wrote in her autobiography, according to Nine News. Once Turner was confident of her attraction to Bach, she made the first move and proposed a future meeting in the US. Soon, the pair felt the spark and started dating.
“TINA” (2021 HBO Doc): The story of Tina Turner’s love life has largely been defined by the first half of her life and her abusive relationship with Ike Turner, but the longest, most enduring relationship was the nearly 40 years she spent with her partner Erwin Bach. pic.twitter.com/mAy24AbYe6— Rom Com Historian (@romcomhistory) May 24, 2023
'I didn't want that 'my' anything, anymore'
Recalling the soft spot of their relationship, Turner gushed that "He was just so different, so laid back, so comfortable, so unpretentious, and that was the beginning of our relationship." After three years of a dedicated relationship, Bach decided to pop the question on one of her best days: her 50th birthday. However, Tina's response to the proposal was different from what Bach had anticipated. Reflecting on the proposal, Tina told Oprah Daily that "I said, 'I don't have an answer'. It wasn't yes, it wasn't no. Marriage says ownership. I didn't want that 'my' anything, anymore. I had enough of that."
Tina Turner vivía en Suiza desde 1994 con su esposo, el actor y productor musical alemán, Erwin Bach. pic.twitter.com/B4fqkARjbB— Roberto Rodríguez M. #SOSUCRANIA 🇺🇦 (@esosiquetetengo) May 24, 2023
In their gorgeous Swiss state, Turner and Bach finally exchanged vows in 2013 after 27 years of dating. "I wanted to be the best I could be. I wanted my garden and my guests to be the best they could be. And they were,” the singer said while speaking about the ceremony. The couple soon moved to Switzerland and enjoyed a peaceful life until 2016 when Turner, who retired from performing in 2009, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had the option of regular dialysis or a transplant. After the devastating diagnosis, a kidney transplant was the only chance for Turner to live a normal life, according to Amomama.
'He said he didn't want another woman or another life'
"Only the transplant would give me a good chance of a near-normal life. But the chances of getting a donor's kidney were remote,” she wrote in her memoir. Despite relentless efforts, Turner failed to find a kidney donor and her situation got so worse that she even consider assisted suicide. But Bach couldn't bear to let her leave, so he promised to give his wife one of his kidneys. "He said he didn't want another woman, or another life," Turner recalls. "He said he wanted to give me one of his kidneys."
Thankfully, the kidney transplant was successful, and she was thankful to her husband for giving her the "gift of life.” "The best moment was when Erwin came rolling into my room in his wheelchair," wrote Turner, according to Smooth Radio, adding "He somehow managed to look good, even handsome, as he greeted me with an energetic: 'Hi darling!' I was so emotional – happy, overwhelmed, and relieved that we'd come through this alive."