Izear Luster Turner Jr., better known professionally as Ike Turner, is an American singer, songwriter, and producer. He was born on November 5, 1931, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, to a seamstress mother and a minister father. Turner dropped out of eighth grade and began working at a downtown hotel where he watched the local DJ manage his station. He soon got a job working the afternoon shift at the radio station, influencing his career as a musician later on in life.
As a teenager, Turner formed Kings of Rhythm, a musical band that he managed until his death. In 1951, the musician released “Rocket 88” which is considered the first rock and roll song in America. Turner became an accomplished musician and talent scout, paving the road for other artists like B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Bobby “Blue” Bland. From the 1960s to the 1970s, he formed a duet with then-wife Tina Turner and made massive success with their hit records.
Turner was ahead of his time and was notable for translating the blues into commercial music. He won five Grammy Awards, and three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Even towards the end of his life, the singer didn’t stop producing music. A few years before he passed away, Turner produced two highly-acclaimed albums, “Here And Now” and “Risin’ With The Blues”.
Although Turner was a great innovator in the music industry, he was infamous for his controversial lifestyle. In addition to his long list of accolades, the musician was also notorious for his string of wives. Some people theorize that his impressive record of infidelity may be a cover-up for his secret sexuality. So, is Ike Turner gay? Let’s take a look at his dating history.
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Ike Turner’s Early Marriages
Ike Turner once claimed that he had been married 14 times in his life. According to the musician, getting married was easy during his youth and most people didn’t “bother with divorces.” The latter was the reason why Turner often remarried even while still being legally married to his previous wife.
Turner was first married at 16 years old, but records showed that the singer lied about his age. His first wife, Edna Stewart, left him in Clarksdale and moved to Ruleville. Two years later, he married his second wife, Velma Davis. Davis claimed that Turner was the father of her daughter, but the musician consistently denied this.
He also had a brief marriage with a woman named Rosa Lee Sane. Unfortunately, Sane had mental health issues and after her family admitted her into an asylum, the singer never saw her again. In 1952, Turner married Marion Louis Lee, but she ran off with another man the following year. He filed for divorce, which was finalized a couple of years later.
In a matter of two years, Turner wed three more women. However, it’s important to note that one of his supposed wives, Lorraine Taylor, was actually his live-in girlfriend. They had two sons together, Ike Jr. and Michael.
After his divorce from Tina Turner, the musician married Margaret Ann Thomas in 1981. The musician proclaimed that he loved Tina but he was “in love” with Ann Thomas. They were together for almost ten years until their separation in 1990. However, the pair would rekindle their romance later in life. It was also Thomas who found the singer unconscious in his home on December 12, 2007.
Ike Turner and Tina Turner’s Tumultuous Relationship
In 1957, Turner met Anna Bullock, also known to the world as Tina Turner. At the time, Bullock was dating another band member, Raymond Hill. She gave birth to her first biological son, Craig, in 1958 but Hill was already out of the picture. Tina then started an affair with Turner while he was still living with Taylor.
The couple got married in Tijuana in 1962, a few years after the birth of their son, Ronnie. Tina was married to the musician for over a decade, and while they had an amazing partnership in the public eye, the reality was a stark contrast. She later revealed in her 1986 memoir that Turner was a violent alcoholic with a severe drug addiction. The musician would often beat her and degrade her until she finally filed for divorce in 1976.
Turner didn’t deny his ex-wife’s allegations but justified that he punched her during arguments like any other couple. That being said, Tina took off on her own with no money to her name and revived her musical career. It was difficult at first, but her hard work eventually paid off. She made it clear that she didn’t like talking about her ex-husband and even though she forgave him, she insisted that she never wanted to work with him ever again.
On Sexual Abuse, Drug Addiction, and Legal Problems
It’s no secret that Ike Turner had a dark and disturbing past. When he was a child, he saw his father getting beaten by a group of white men. They left him an invalid and he had to live in their backyard for three years before he passed away. Turner’s stepfather was a violent alcoholic who gave the singer regular whippings.
From ages six to twelve, Turner was also sexually assaulted by at least three middle-aged women, inflicting trauma upon the poor child. Later on in his life, the singer would self-reflect and cite these events as the reasons why he had poor relationships with women.
Turner was known to be against drugs and alcohol, but when he turned 30, two “very famous people” introduced him to cocaine. Sources claimed that the famous duo were Elvis Presley and Redd Foxx. He quickly became addicted to the drug and when the 70s rolled in, the singer already had a severe addiction. According to Turner, he probably spent $11 million on cocaine alone.
The 1980s and early 1990s were dark times for Turner. Throughout the decade, he was arrested multiple times for drug, firearm, and assault charges. He was convicted twice and spent several years in and out of jail. During his time in prison, Turner stopped using cocaine and was clean for more than ten years. Unfortunately, the singer relapsed in 2004, which resulted in his death three years later, in December 2007.
Is Ike Turner Gay?
No, Ike Turner is not gay. Based on his personal history, the musician was only linked to women. He never spoke about his sexuality either, so whether his infidelity was a coping mechanism for his sexual repressions, fans will never know. Turner passed away on December 12, 2007, at 76 years old.