In a written post, media maven Oprah Winfrey broke down how the now-late Tina Turner impacted her life as a fan and eventually as a longtime confidant and friend.
From following her around concert to concert as an admirer to eventually becoming long-lasting friends, Winfrey and Turner’s camaraderie dates all the way back to the 1990s when the former talk show host promoted Turner’s Wildest Dreams album and tour on her “The Oprah Winfrey Show” program. A day after the singer’s death was announced on Wednesday, Winfrey reflected on her decades-long relationship with Turner, highlighting pivotal moments that shaped her into the person Winfrey is today.
“I had been expecting to hear this news four years ago in 2019 after visiting her at a hospital in Switzerland, where she told me she was ready to leave this earth,” Winfrey wrote on her digital magazine “Oprah Daily.” “She said she had a full life and was ‘tired.’ I’m always wary when someone who is ill says they’re tired. It often means they are tired of the work and energy it takes to stay alive. I left the hospital thinking that would be my last time seeing her.”
Winfrey went on to call Turner her “shero” and a “model for triumphant living.” She detailed how her fandom blossomed into an everlasting friendship that included her spending time with Turner in her home and even attending Turner’s wedding to Turner’s now-widower Erwin Bach.
“She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn’t know existed,” Winfrey wrote. “Tina lived out of the box and encouraged me and every other woman to do the same. After she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph.”
Not only were Turner and Winfrey friends, they almost worked together on screen as cast mates in the 1985 film “The Color Purple.” At a trailer launch for “The Color Purple’s” newest adaptation, prior to Turner’s death, Winfrey said Turner was approached to star in the original film but Turned turned down the role of Shug Avery due to her real-life experiences with domestic abuse.
“I remember hearing this from [producer] Quincy Jones years ago, that they had originally gone to Tina Turner in 1985 to ask Tina Turner to play Shug Avery,” Winfrey said, Entertainment Weekly reported.“Tina Turner turned down the role of Shug Avery because she said she’d already lived it with Ike [Turner]. And she was not gonna put herself through it again.” Margaret Avery filled the role, and Taraji P. Henson is set to star as Shug in the 2023 remake.