A Look Back At Tina Turner's Nearly 40-Year Journey With Her 'True Love' Erwin Bach

May 26, 2023 by apost team

Tina Turner was one of our generation's most recognized and celebrated music artists. Although she sadly passed away on May 24, 2023, we are sure that her 5-decades-long, highly successful career and legacy will be remembered for years to come. Though she had a prodigious musical career, she also had to battle a lot of hardships and difficulties in her life, and the path to happiness had not always been easy. 

Tina waded through ups and downs in her personal life but found a peace with her final husband, Erwin Bach, whom she moved to Switzerland to live with. The pair had been together for more than two decades before they finally tied the knot in 2013. At the time, Tina was 73 and Bach was 57. Their age difference did nothing to deter them from having a blissful relationship and together, they faced the joys and grief of life hand in hand and seemed very much in love until her final days. 

While Tina was a celebrity in her own right, Bach was also a highly successful man. The two first met in 1985 at an airport, which Tina had described as a "simple meeting," according to Closer Weekly.

They did not begin dating right away and remained in a platonic relationship for more than a year. Tina was especially hesitant to give love another chance after everything she had been through, but she had said she was glad she "listened to her heart" and gave Bach a chance. They got together in 1986 and were never separated after. It goes to show that you are never too old to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with!

Tina Turner (1984), (Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images)

Bach was a German music producer and executive who first met Tina when he was sent by her recording company, EMI, to greet her at an airport in Germany. At the time, the singer was 47 years old while Bach was 30. For Tina, the attraction was instantaneous. She told Oprah Winfrey in an interview it was nothing short of “love at first sight” with Bach.

“He had the prettiest face. You could not miss it. It was like saying, 'Where did he come from?' He was really that good-looking. My heart went bu-bum. It means that a soul has met. My hands were shaking,” Tina recalled. 

She recounted she didn’t want it to be the last time she would ever see him and told Winfrey she invited him to visit her in the United States.

“‘When you come to L.A., I want you to make love to me.’ He looked at me like he didn't believe what he was hearing,” Tina said. 

The relationship continued to blossom between the pair, with Bach and Tina meeting in Nashville before heading to Los Angeles. Even though Tina said she felt a connection with Bach, she was hesitant to pursue love again after her abusive marriage to her previous husband, Ike Turner. 

On her 50th birthday in 1989, Bach proposed to Tina. However, she still felt unsure about marriage and couldn’t bring herself to readily accept.

“I said, ‘I don't have an answer.’ It wasn’t yes, it wasn’t no,” she told Winfrey. “Marriage says ownership. I didn’t want that ‘my’ anything, anymore. I had enough of that.”


Erwin Bach, Tina Turner (1985), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

However, Tina said the love between her and Erwin was simply undeniable. Tina described Bach as not being "intimidated" by her and he continued to stay by her side despite rejecting his proposal. “(He) is a force of nature in his own right,” she wrote in her book. “He shows me that true love doesn’t require the dimming of my light so that he can shine.”

In 1995, Tina took the plunge and moved to Switzerland to be with her partner, and the pair lived in the Küsnacht suburb right up to Tina’s passing.

Speaking about marriage on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2006, Tina said on television she had no plans of marrying at the time. "People often ask me why don’t I marry," she said according to The Daily Mail. "I have love. I have a good life. I don’t need to interfere with that. For some people, marriage means 'You’re mine now.' That can be the beginning of the failure of a relationship." 

She also added, "Neither Erwin nor I feel the need to get married. We’ve been together for 18 years. What would marriage give me that I don’t already have? Marriage would be about pleasing the public. Why do I need to please the public if I’m already pleased?" 

However, in 2013, Bach’s long wait was finally over. Twenty-eight years after first laying eyes on each other at the airport, he and Tina would head down the aisle together.

“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 shared.

“That simple first meeting led to a long, beautiful relationship — and my one true marriage.”

Tina Turner, Erwin Bach (1989), (Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive via Getty Images)

By the calm waters of Lake Zurich, Tina and Bach tied the knot in a beautiful and intimate ceremony in 2013. Later, they also had a Buddhist ceremony at their home in Zurich. The intimate ceremony sealing their love for one another was attended by only 120 guests but also included Tina’s celebrity friends such as David Bowie, Oprah Winfrey and Sade, among others. Daily Mail reported that, as per the Swiss weekly newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag, Tina asked all her guests to wear white to the ceremony. Tina herself wore a beautiful gown designed by Giorgio Armani. In an act of kind consideration, the pair also reportedly sent out notices to their neighbors apologizing in advance for any noise they may cause. 

However, all the joy and jubilation that surrounded the long-awaited nuptials came to a halting stop when Tina found herself facing serious health issues. Three weeks following their wedding, she suffered a stroke and she was forced to learn how to walk again. 

"In the hospital, I didn't believe that I couldn't walk," the singer recounted to Winfrey in 2018. "Then I stepped out of bed and flopped to the floor and said, 'Oh my God, what have I done?' But I wasn't depressed — I was just determined to fix it." 

Then, as Tina was still undergoing rigorous physiotherapy and retraining herself to walk, came another tragedy. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, with doctors telling her both her kidneys were failing. Distressing as the news might have been, Tina told Winfrey she was at peace with her fate and felt she had lived a long enough life.

Tina Turner, Erwin Bach (2015), (Jacopo Raule via Getty Images)

Tina was not keen on going on "being on a machine" for the rest of her years, but her husband was not having any of it. "Erwin chimed in, very emotional, and said, 'I don't want another partner,'" Tina shared. "He was 150 percent ready to give me his kidney." Tina underwent a successful transplant in 2017.

"I’m happy to say that, thanks to my beloved husband, Erwin, giving me one of his kidneys, the gift of life, I’m in good health and loving life every day,” she wrote in her memoir as per Closer Weekly. “I’m also thankful that I’ve not only survived, but thrived."

In her 2018 memoir “My Love Story,” Tina recounted how even she was surprised by her enduring relationship with Bach.

“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," she wrote, according to Daily Mail.

It’s clear Tina loved Bach until her passing as the two shared an unbreakable bond so rare to find in life. In January 2021, Tina shared a heartfelt message alongside a throwback photo of her and Bach on Instagram that read:

“Erwin and I have been a couple for over 30 years. Did you know that I took the first step in our relationship? I left behind the fear of rejection and spoke to him. One of the best decisions of my life. Take heart! #LoveStays.”

Erwin Bach, Tina Turner (2018), (Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive via Getty Images)

What do you think of Tina and Bach's beautiful and enduring love story? Tell us your thoughts, and be sure to let your friends and family know about the power of love through this story!

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