“For sixteen years, her husband beat her.
But on this night, Tina Turner washed the blood from her face, wrapped a cape around her bloodied clothes, covered her eyes with a pair of sunglasses, and placed a wrap on her head, because the swelling was so bad, she couldn’t wear her wig.
She ran out of the hotel, hid among the trash cans, and then ran to the Ramada Inn, where she begged for a room.
All she had was thirty-six cents and a Mobil credit card.
But after sixteen years of cruelty, she finally walked out on Ike Turner.
To be clear, it wasn’t easy. She was so worried about her safety, she stayed with friends, paying her way by keeping house. It got so bad that Tina Turner—the Tina Turner—had to use food stamps.
And yes, it’s incredible that Tina Turner built her career back from nothing.
But what’s even more incredible is the battle cry she repeated inside her head—the battle cry that gave her strength: “I will die before I go back.”
Never forget it: No matter how deep the hole is, you can always find a way out.
In their divorce, Tina Turner gave Ike nearly everything. All their money. And the publishing royalties for her compositions. “You take everything I’ve made in the last sixteen years,” she said. “I’ll take my future.”
From HEROES FOR MY DAUGHTER, by novelist Brian Meltzer, 2012