Who is Erwin Bach? Tina Turner’s second husband and the man who helped her find happiness
Erwin Bach would have given everything for the love of his life Tina Turner, including one of his kidneys.
The Proud Mary singer died age 83 on Wednesday following a long, unspecified illness.
She is survived by her two children and 67-year-old Bach, 16 years her junior, with whom she shared an instant connection from the moment they locked eyes inside Dusseldorf airport, Germany in 1985.
It is with Bach, an executive with the European record label EMI, that Turner found true love following an abusive first marriage.
He was never intimidated by her fame, talent or success and was a constant by her side. He even donated his own kidney in April 2017 to her to save her life.
Tina Turner found true love with Erwin Bach after fleeing from her abusive first husband. In 2017, the music exec donated his kidney to save her life. Pictured celebrating her 50th birthday in November 1989 with Bach in London
The pair enjoyed a loving relationship for 38 years until her death on Wednesday aged 83 following a long, unspecified illness: Turner and her husband pictured at a Paris Fashion Week show in July 2018
Turner revealed she spent years battling life-threatening illnesses having suffered a stroke just three weeks after her wedding to Bach and she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016.
She experienced unpleasant side effects from treatment and instead turned to homeopathic remedies but that made her condition worse and she ended up with total kidney failure.
‘The consequences of my ignorance ended up being a matter of life and death,’ she wrote in her 2018 memoir My Love Story.
‘At this terrible moment of guilt and self-recrimination, I learned something wonderful about Erwin.
‘He never reproached me for my mistake. Instead, he was loyal, kind and understanding — and determined to help me get through all this alive.’
Turner said: ‘At the time, Switzerland’s organ-donor rate was one of the lowest in Europe — which meant that, at 75, I’d probably never rise to the top of the waiting list.
‘I began to think about death. If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was OK. When it’s time, it’s really time. I didn’t mind the thought of dying, but I was concerned about how I would go.
‘One of the benefits of living in Switzerland is that assisted suicide is legal, though the patient has to inject the lethal drug herself.
Ms Turner overcame several health challenges during her long life, including a stroke that forced her to relearn to walk, intestinal cancer that required surgery to remedy, and kidney failure that resulted in her second husband donating one of his organs
Turner started to wind up her recording career as her relationship with Bach blossomed. She made her last album in 1999 aged 59 and gave her final performance in 2009. Pictured: Turner and Bach at Spago’s Restaurant in Hollywood, California back in 1985
‘I think that’s when the idea of my death became a reality for Erwin. He was very emotional about not wanting to lose me, not wanting me to leave.’
He told her he didn’t want another woman or another life and ended up donating his own kidney in April 2017 to her to save her life and the operation was largely successful.
She said: ‘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.
‘I’m also thankful that I’ve not only survived, but thrived, so that I can pass on to you this book containing precious gifts that were given to me — the greatest gifts I can offer,’ she later wrote in her memoir.
‘The best moment was when Erwin came rolling into my room in his wheelchair.
‘He somehow managed to look good, even handsome, as he greeted me with an energetic: “Hi, darling!” I was so emotional — happy, overwhelmed and relieved that we’d come through this alive.
‘He snapped right back to his old self, and within a few weeks was enjoying his first glass of wine.’
She praised him for helping her find happiness and said it was love at first sight when they locked eyes inside Dusseldorf airport, Germany in 1985. Pictured: Turner and Bach at Giorgio Armani 40th Anniversary event in April 2015 in Milan
Turner met Bach, an executive with the European record label EMI, at Düsseldorf airport in 1985 when he was sent to greet her. The couple said it was love at first sight.
‘Her manager Roger [Davies] asked me to pick up Tina,’ Bach recalled in the 2021 HBO documentary Tina.
‘So Roger said to me, “Tina, you ride with Erwin,” and I wanted to go, “Yay!”‘
Turner laughed and added: ‘He was really so good-looking. My heart [was beating fast] and it means that a soul has met, and my hands were shaking.
‘My hands were ice-cold. So this is what they call love at first sight, I thought. Oh my God, I am not ready for this.’
The pair began their relationship in the same year and Turner continued to work with EMI to distribute her music overseas.
‘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 in Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good.
‘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,’ she added.
‘But I did notice him, and I instantly felt an emotional connection. 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.’
It took 27 years before Bach and Turner, 73 at the time, finally decided to tie the knot in a civil ceremony on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland in 2013.
Bach, 16 years Turner’s junior, was never intimidated by her fame, talent or success and was a constant by her side. Pictured: Turner and Bach at the German media awards in February 2005
Turner thanked him for teaching her how ‘to love without giving up who I am’ after her first marriage with Ike Turner was plagued with physical and emotional abuse. Pictured: The couple at the London press night performance of ‘Tina’ in April 2018
Bach revealed he had asked Turner to marry him twice before when she turned 50. Pictured: The pair attend the opening night of ‘Tina – The Tina Turner Musical’ on November 07, 2019 in New York City
Days after their wedding, they threw a lavish, star-studded party at their extravagant Swiss home where Oprah Winfrey and David Bowie were among the 120 guests.
More than 100,000 red and yellow roses from the Netherlands were used to decorate their house.
The wedding came as a surprise to many as the couple played down talks of marriage and looked to be happy without being married.
At the time, Turner said: ‘We are married — we just haven’t walked down the aisle, and until there’s a need to, we probably won’t.’
Bach agreed: ‘We don’t need a marriage to be together. Some people need that security thing, but I think if you’re internally happy with your partner, you don’t need symbols.’
In extracts of her memoir My Love Story, exclusively revealed to Dailymail.com, Turner said: ‘My wedding day could not have been more perfect or spectacular — and no one minded a bit that the bride was aged 73.
‘I’d organized the whole thing myself, and that included importing more than 100,000 roses to bedeck the grounds of our home in Switzerland.
‘As friends gathered, sipping champagne on that glorious day in July 2013, the air was filled with the most wonderful scent.’
She added: ‘It was only as we gathered for photographs that I started to feel a little funny. It must be the heat, I thought, or the dress — an Armani confection of green taffeta, black silk tulle and Swarovski crystals that was getting heavier by the minute.
‘In fact, that funny turn was the first sign of a hellish ordeal to come . . . a nightmare that would end only when my dear husband Erwin offered me the ultimate gift — the gift of life itself.’
Days after their wedding, they threw a lavish star-studded party at their extravagant Swiss home. Pictured: Turner celebrating her birthday with Bach and singer Lionel Richie in 1998
Bach was 30 years old when he met Turner who was 47 and the pair received negative comments for the age gap over the years. Pictured: Bach leading Turner alongside a pier on Lake Constance in 2007
Bach revealed he had asked Turner to marry him twice before when she turned 50.
‘I was trying to show Tina my commitment. I think when a woman turns 50 she should have a commitment from her partner,’ he said during an interview on Oprah’s Next Chapter.
‘I was committed and I wanted to show this, so I went down on my knee. I never did that before in my life, I was never married before. And I had my ring ready … I had everything ready.’
‘So she sort of said nothing and strung you along for 23 years?’ Winfrey asked and Bach responded: ‘But that was okay with me, I could read between the lines.’
Turner explained: ‘Even though he asked me I didn’t think it was real, I didn’t believe him.
‘But I didn’t want to say “No” because I wanted to continue the relationship.’
Bach was 30 years old when he met Turner who was 47 and the pair received negative comments for the age gap over the years.
‘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,’ Turner wrote in her memoir My Love Story.
‘What else would a younger man want with an older woman? Erwin always ignored the rumors.’
Turner relinquished her American citizenship in 2013 as she lived with her husband in Switzerland. Pictured: Turner and her husband shopping in Milan after her Grammys performance in 2008
Turner relinquished her American citizenship in 2013 as she lived with her husband in Switzerland.
‘I was just tired of singing and making everybody happy,’ she told the New York Times of her retirement in 2019.
‘That’s all I’d ever done in my life. I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t dress up.’
Bach shared that hearing about the abuse Turner endured while married to Ike was ‘hard for him to hear’.
She suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from the domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of her first husband and music partner, Ike Turner.
‘It wasn’t a good life. The good did not balance the bad,’ she recalled in her documentary titled Tina.
‘I had an abusive life, there’s no other way to tell the story. It’s a reality. It’s a truth. That’s what you’ve got, so you have to accept it.
‘Some people say the life that I lived and the performances that I gave, the appreciation, is blasting with the people. And yeah, I should be proud of that. I am.
‘But when do you stop being proud? I mean, when do you, how do you bow out slowly? Just go away?’
Turner credited Bach for being the man who finally brought her happiness.
But Bach revealed she still had nightmares about her abuse relationship with Ike and said: ‘She has dreams about it, they’re not pleasant. It’s like when soldiers come back from the war. It’s not an easy time to have those in your memory and then try to forget.’
Turner started to wind up her recording career as her relationship with Bach blossomed and made her last album in 1999 aged 59 and gave her final performance in 2009.
The iconic singer died at her home in Küsnach near Zurich, Switzerland and her representatives confirmed her death, saying: ‘With her the world loses a music legend and role model.’
She is survived by two of her four sons – two preceded her in death – and her husband Bach.