Inside Tina Turner's 37-Year Romance with 'True Love' Erwin Bach: 'I Instantly Felt an Emotional Connection'
Tina Turner, who died at 83 on Wednesday after a long illness, married her second husband, Erwin Bach, in 2013
Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, found her king when she met her future second husband Erwin Bach at an airport nearly 40 years ago.
The music legend — who died at age 83 on Wednesday after a "long illness," her rep confirmed — 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.
Turner then continued with a laugh: "So Roger said to me, 'Tina, you ride with Erwin,' and I wanted to go, 'Yay!'"
"We enjoyed the ride," Bach added. "I enjoyed driving the artist, actually a superstar. You're normally a little nervous, but I wasn't nervous either. I was just doing the job."
Following their meet-cute in 1985, the couple began dating — and ultimately tied the knot in 2013 after 27 years together.
Related: Who Is Tina Turner's Husband? All About Erwin Bach
With Bach, Turner found the stability that was missing from her abusive marriage to her first husband, the mercurial musician Ike Turner, whom she divorced in 1976. (Ike died in 2007 of a cocaine overdose.)
"I had an abusive life. There's no other way to tell the story," Turner said in a preview for the HBO documentary at the time. "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].'"
In her 2020 book Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, the "Proud Mary" singer credited Bach — whom she lived with near Zürich, Switzerland, until her death — 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."
Related: Tina Turner's Life in Photos
The global superstar also recalled in her book how meeting Bach helped her keep her heart open.
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"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," she wrote. "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, and in too much of a hurry to get to my hotel to pay much attention to the young music executive who came from my record company to welcome me."
Related: Tina Turner's Most Memorable Style Moments Throughout Her Career
"But I did notice him, and I instantly felt an emotional connection," she continued in the book. "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."
Over the years, Bach helped Turner through a series of medical emergencies, including a stroke and intestinal cancer, and in 2017, he donated a kidney when she went into kidney failure.
"I wondered if anyone would think that Erwin's living donation was transactional in some way," she wrote. "Incredibly, considering how long we had been together, there were still people who wanted to believe that Erwin married me for my money and fame. What else would a younger man want with an older woman? Erwin always ignored the rumors."
In her memoir, she added of life with Bach after Ike: "I lived through a hellish marriage that almost destroyed me, but I went on. I know that my medical adventure is far from over. But I'm still here — we're still here, closer than we ever imagined. I can look back and understand why my karma was the way it was. Good came out of bad. Joy came out of pain. And I have never been so completely happy as I am today."
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