Legendary singer Tina Turner who died on Wednesday aged 83, left behind a bereaved husband who gave her all the happiness in life during their decades-long marriage. Turner found true love with Erwin Bach, following her abusive first marriage to Ike Turner. The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll met Bach, her future second husband at an airport nearly 40 years ago.
They were happily married for 38 years before her death on Wednesday following a long, unspecified illness. Turner praised her second husband for helping her rediscover happiness and stated that they had an instant connection from the minute they met eyes inside Dusseldorf airport, Germany in 1985.
Finding True Love
Turner and Bach, a former German music executive, had an incredible love affair after they first met at the height of her '80s success. Turner faced a number of health challenges, so they recently lived a tranquil life at home in Switzerland.
Despite being 16 years younger than Turner, Bach never let her fame, talent, or success go in the way of being by her side. Bach gave his wife a selfless present in 2017 by giving one of his kidneys to her.
The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll thanked him for showing her how to "love without giving up who I am" after her first marriage to Ike Turner was marred by physical and emotional abuse.
The iconic singer died away at her home in the Swiss town of Küsnach, near Zurich, and her officials announced her passing with the words: "With her, the world loses a music legend and role model."
She is survived by two of her four sons - two preceded her in death - and her husband Bach, 67.
In 1985, Turner first met Bach, an official with the European record label EMI, when he was sent to meet her at Düsseldorf airport. The couple said that they fell in love right away.
Turner opened up about her romance with Bach, now 67, in her 2021 HBO documentary Tina.
"He was [16 years] younger [than me]. He was 30 years old at the time and had the prettiest face. I mean, you cannot [describe] it. It was like insane. [I thought], 'Where did he come from?' He was really so good-looking. My heart [was beating fast] and it means that a soul has met, and my hands were shaking," Turner recalled in the film.
"We met at Cologne [Bonn] Airport — actually it was Düsseldorf Airport [in Germany], and her manager Roger [Davies] asked me to pick up Tina," added Bach, a former music executive, in the documentary," Bach said in the documentary.
In the same year that they started dating, Turner continued to work with EMI to promote her music internationally.
"Falling in love with my husband, Erwin, was another exercise in leaving my comfort zone, of being open to the unexpected gifts that life has to offer," Turnerwrote in Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good.
"The day I first met Erwin, at an airport in Germany, I should have been too tired from my flight, too preoccupied with thoughts of my concert tour," she added.
"But I did notice him, and I instantly felt an emotional connection. Even then, I could have ignored what I felt — I could have listened to the ghost voices in my head telling me that I didn't look good that day, or that I shouldn't be thinking about romance because it never ends well.
"Instead, I listened to my heart. I left my comfort zone and made it a priority to get to know Erwin. That simple first meeting led to a long, beautiful relationship — and my one true marriage."
Finding True Love on Second Chance
Turner divorced her first husband, the erratic singer Ike Turner, in 1976 because of his abusive nature. With Bach, Turner found the steadiness that had been lacking in her traumatic marriage. Ike died after a drug overdose in 2007.
"I had an abusive life. There's no other way to tell the story," Turner said in a preview for the HBO documentary. "I started really seeing that I had to make a change. [In the] divorce, I got nothing. No money, no house. So I said, 'I'll just take my name [that I rose to fame with].'"
After waiting 27 years, Bach and Turner, who was 73 at the time, made the decision to get married in 2013 in a civil ceremony on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland.
Days after their wedding, they had a lavish party at their opulent Swiss residence with 120 guests, including Oprah Winfrey and David Bowie.
The Netherlands provided over 70,000 red and yellow roses that were used to decorate their home.
Many were surprised by the wedding because the couple downplayed engagement rumors and appeared content without being wed.
The "Proud Mary" singer credited Bach, who she lived with close to Zürich, Switzerland, until her death, in her 2020 book Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, with teaching her how "to love without giving up who I am."
"We grant each other freedom and space to be individuals at the same time we are a couple," Turner wrote in the memoir.
"Erwin, who is a force of nature in his own right, has never been the least bit intimidated by my career, my talents, or my fame. He shows me that true love doesn't require the dimming of my light so that he can shine. On the contrary, we are the light of each other's lives, and we want to shine as bright as we can, together."
Turner said that she spent years battling serious ailments, having suffered a stroke just three weeks after getting married to Bach. In 2016, she was told that she had colon cancer.
Her homeopathic treatments made her situation worse and she eventually developed complete kidney failure since she had severe side effects from her treatment.
"The consequences of my ignorance ended up being a matter of life and death," she wrote in her 2018 memoir My Love Story.
"At this terrible moment of guilt and self-recrimination, I learned something wonderful about Erwin. He never reproached me for my mistake. Instead, he was loyal, kind and understanding — and determined to help me get through all this alive," Turner said.
"At the time, Switzerland's organ-donor rate was one of the lowest in Europe — which meant that, at 75, I'd probably never rise to the top of the waiting list.
"I began to think about death. If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was OK. When it's time, it's really time. I didn't mind the thought of dying, but I was concerned about how I would go.
"One of the benefits of living in Switzerland is that assisted suicide is legal, though the patient has to inject the lethal drug herself.
"I think that's when the idea of my death became a reality for Erwin. He was very emotional about not wanting to lose me, not wanting me to leave."
Bach told her he didn't want another lady or another life, but in order to save her life, he ended up giving her his own kidney in April 2017. The procedure was mainly successful.