Oprah: I can see that.
Tina: Harry also took my virginity. I don't regret it. I came home that night and folded the dress I'd been wearing and put it away. The next day, my grandmother was doing spring cleaning and everything got washed. When I came home, she said, "I knew you were running around. You're gonna get pregnant." Oh, Oprah! I felt embarrassed. I didn't know what to say. She didn't wash the dress. She just left it out. There was this big spot on it. She didn't let me go dating Harry anymore.
Oprah: Your eyes still light up when you talk about him.
Tina: At the time, I wanted to get married and have children. Harry would have been the one. Years later, after "What's Love Got to Do with It," I ran into his son. He came up to me and said, "Harry Taylor is my father." He looked just like Harry. I thought, "My God, that must have been from another lifetime."
Oprah: It's so interesting what maturity does. What did the Ike years teach you about yourself?
Tina: That's when I learned that I was truly talented. Before I met Ike, I was singing at church and at picnics—but lots of people sing at church and picnics. After I moved with my mother to St. Louis, my older sister and I went to see Ike Turner, who was the hottest then. His music charged me. I was never attracted to him, but I wanted to sing with his band. Ike thought I couldn't sing because I was a skinny-looking girl. Oprah, you were Ike's type. He liked the ladies with the hips.
Oprah: Oh, I really missed out on that one! What is Ike's phone number?
Tina: There was a girl named Pat, and she looked a lot like you, Oprah. He let her sing because she was his type. Pat couldn't sing nearly as well as I could. One evening when the drummer gave my sister the mike, I took it. I could do B.B. King songs with all the emotion. Ike said, "Girl, I didn't know you could sing!" I was so happy, because he was bigger than life. That's when I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. Forget marriage, children, and living happily ever after as a housewife. That was gone. Ike went out and bought me a fur, a dress, some high-heeled shoes. He got my hair all done up. I rode to work in a pink Cadillac. I even got my teeth fixed.
Oprah: How old were you?
Tina: Seventeen. Ike had to come to the house and ask Ma if it was okay for me to sing with him. He knew I had the potential to be a star. We were close, like brother and sister. We had so much fun, Oprah. On his off nights, we'd drive around town, and he would tell me about his life, his dreams. He told me that when he was young, people found him unattractive. That really hurt him. I felt bad for him. I thought, "I'll never hurt you, Ike." I meant it. He was so nice to me then, but I did see the other side of him. He was always fighting people—but I just thought that was because they'd wronged him. That had nothing to do with me.
We Hear You!