Oprah: Is it because of the constant performing that you've stayed in such great shape?
Tina: Well, my legs are starting to go a little bit. I've been able to get by with short dresses, but I've had to make sure that each dress is absolutely perfect. I'm not complaining, but I've got some cellulite, and I've lost some tone.
Oprah: I don't see it.
Tina: I'm not going to let you see it, Oprah.
Oprah: Did you make a decision to defy age? It was because of you that I decided to rock on through the 50s. It was because of you that I said: "I'm not going to stay where I am. I'm going to get better."
Tina: That's wonderful.
Oprah: Are you happy in your life?
Tina: Very happy.
Oprah: I know I get annoyed by the marriage question. Do you?
Tina: Yes. People often ask me why I don't marry. 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. Psychologically, something happens when someone says, "You're my husband or wife. You can't do this or that." It's about ownership. That freedom of two people loving each other and wanting to be together—and being able to leave if anything is wrong—is gone. Neither Erwin nor I feel that we 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?
Oprah: Did the age difference ever bother you?
Tina: I don't worry about age or color. In the past, I knew the difference when whites made us remember that we were black. But that has passed. And age? When I went for Erwin, he was 30—just three years older than my oldest son.
Oprah: How old were you then?
Tina: Forty-six. I didn't know he was 30, and I didn't care. Erwin was more mature than most 30-year-olds. I've observed older men, especially the more conservative ones who wear suits all the time. There's a grumpiness that doesn't allow for laughter and fun.
Tina: Yes. They don't mean to be. It's a male thing. They hope that a young woman can wake them up and make them feel good. But it doesn't happen a lot, so she ends up a decoration. If I were with an older man, I'd have to work very hard. I would refuse for him to be old. He would have to wake up, laugh, and have fun. If I were single, would I give an older man a chance? Only if I saw life in him. Only if he didn't say, "Now that I'm 60 or 80, I have to get to bed at a certain time." Many older men have set rules. And they still have that "I am the man" attitude. I refuse to live in that culture.
We Hear You!