Tina Turner is well-known for being a legendary singer, rock ‘n’ roll icon, and trailblazing artist who inspired generations, even after her death was announced on May 24. She was 83 years old. Beyond her many accomplished titles, Tina was also a mother of four with her two biological sons and two others, whom she adopted from her ex-husband Ike Turner Sr.
Tina welcomed her first son, Craig, with saxophonist Raymond Hill — who served in Ike Sr.’s band Kings of Rhythm — in 1958 when she was 18 years old. He was the only child the two shared together before Tina started seeing Ike Sr., whom she had her second child, Ronnie, with. She then adopted Ike Sr.’s two sons, Ike Jr. and Michael, whom the blues musician had from previous relationships, and raised them like her own. Tina filed for divorce from Ike Sr. on July 27, 1976, after a tumultuous 16-year marriage, during which she suffered years of abuse, as detailed in her 2018 memoir, «Tina Turner: My Love Story.» Ike Sr. then died on Dec. 12, 2007, at age 76.
Tina later remarried in 2013 when she tied the knot with her longtime partner Erwin Bach, a former music executive, after 27 years together. She was 73 years old at the time. The two had already been living in Switzerland since 1995, per The New York Times, and Tina relinquished her American citizenship the year she wed again. She and Bach didn’t share any kids together.
Speaking to Larry King in 1997, Tina said of her sons, «I’ve gotta say they were good kids,» adding that, despite her troublesome marriage with Ike Sr., at that time, they were doing well as adults. But in her 1986 autobiography, «I, Tina,» the singer wrote that she had become «a little bit estranged» from most of her kids, all except for Craig.
Read ahead to learn more about the rock ‘n’ roll star’s kids.
Craig Turner, Tina’s first and only child with Hill, was born in August 1958. Newsweek reported that at the time of Craig’s birth, Tina and her son moved in with Hill, who was living with Ike Sr. back then. When Tina got together with Ike Sr., the latter adopted Craig. Meanwhile, Craig’s biological father died back in 1996.
In a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Tina opened up about the domestic abuse she experienced at the hands of Ike Sr. and claimed Craig witnessed it. «Ike’s children never reacted, but my oldest son, Craig, was a very emotional kid,» said Tina, per The Guardian. «He’d always look down in sadness. One day when Ike was fighting me, Craig knocked on the door and said, ‘Mother, are you all right?'»
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Craig once worked as a real estate agent in San Fernando Valley, CA. On July 3, 2018, People confirmed, via a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, that Craig died in his Studio City, CA, home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Nearly one year later, in June 2019, Tina reflected on her son’s death in an interview with CBS News, saying, «I think Craig was lonely, that’s what I think really got him more than anything else.» She added, «I have pictures all around of him smiling, and I think I’m sensing that he’s in a good place. I really do.»
Ike Turner Jr.
Ike Turner Jr. was born in 1958 to his parents Ike Sr. and Lorraine Taylor. Tina adopted him early on in his life, telling The Mail on Sunday in 2018, «Tina raised me from the age of two. She’s the only mother I’ve ever known.» However, he also said, «I haven’t talked to my mother since God knows when – probably around 2000. I don’t think any of my brothers have talked to her in a long time either.»
Ike Jr. is a musician who started out young, as he also told The Mail, «My father took me out of school at 13. I ended up running his recording studio, plus going on the road with them. They made a lot of money on tour and my father used to make me count it until my hands were grey.» He was responsible for producing his father’s 2006 Grammy-winning album «Risin’ With The Blues,» and also briefly worked as Tina’s sound engineer after her divorce from Ike Sr. Though Ike Jr. added in his The Mail interview that his father «did not want me working with her – and he beat me in the head with a nickel-plated .45 pistol.»
Though Tina was a close mother figure for Ike Jr., he claimed that she stopped speaking to him because she didn’t «want to have anything to do with the past.»
Michael Turner was born in 1959, also to Ike Sr. and Lorraine Taylor, and adopted by Tina prior to her split from Ike. In the wake of Tina and Ike Sr.’s divorce, Ike Jr. told Spin in 1985, «Michael wanted my mother and father to get back together, and the next thing knew he was in the hospital. He was hurt by their being apart.»
According to an interview with Sunday Mercury, Michael admitted that he struggled with addiction as an adult, per People. «I know in my heart if I called Tina or my father, Ike, right now they would come and help me but I just can’t do it,» he said. «Tina was really good to me and I love her but I can’t live with anybody. I gotta be free to do what I want to do.» Ike Jr. later spoke to Bobby Eaton in 2017 and said that Michael was using a wheelchair and had had «several strokes and seizures.»
Speaking to The Mail in 2018, Ike Jr. gave another update on his sibling, saying, «Michael is in a convalescent home in Southern California and needs medical support.» He added, «I’ve been to see him quite a few times. He’s doing great.» Ike Jr. also noted that Tina had not been to visit his brother at the time but would send money.
Tina’s second son Ronnie Turner, her first with Ike Sr., was born on Oct. 27, 1960. Like his parents, Ronnie was also a talented musician and, according to People, he once played in a band called Manufactured Funk. He also had a small part in Tina’s 1993 biopic «What’s Love Got to Do With It,» in which she was portrayed by Angela Bassett, while Laurence Fishburne starred as Ike Sr. He got married in 2007 to his wife, French singer Afida Turner.
Afida was the one to break the news of Ronnie’s death on Dec. 9, 2022, as she posted an Instagram tribute calling him «a true angel» and her «best friend.» Per Entertainment Tonight, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office later confirmed that Ronnie died from complications of metastatic colon carcinoma, a form of cancer. Tina paid tribute to her son on the day of his death, captioning an Instagram post, «Ronnie, you left the world far too early. In sorrow I close my eyes and think of you, my beloved son.»