USA Today: By Morgan Hines – Tina Turner was a global superstar born in the United States – but the music legend, who died Wednesday at 83, took solace living in Switzerland for decades.
The “Proud Mary” singer filed paperwork to relinquish her U.S. citizenship in 2013, at which point, she’d lived in Switzerland for nearly 20 years. She also took Swiss citizenship in 2013. The singer died at her Switzerland home after battling poor health, including a stroke in 2013, intestinal cancer in 2016 and a kidney transplant in 2017.
The pioneering soul-turned-rock star enjoyed a life in the country that provided her more discretion, and Switzerland enjoyed having Turner as a resident. Mourners laid flowers and candles Thursday outside the gate of her lakeside villa where Turner lived with her husband, German producer Erwin Bach, 67, according to the Associated Press.
Here’s what to know about Turner’s life abroad.
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Why did Tina Turner move to Switzerland?
Turner’s relationship with her husband Bach may have been one of the reasons that she found refuge in Switzerland. She moved there to join Bach where he had set up a home in the mid-1990s, almost a decade after they met.
In 2013, the couple married in a civil ceremony with a Buddhist celebration said to follow at their home. She told USA TODAY in 2020 that “Buddhism literally saved my life.” Turner was 73 when she married Bach.
Erwin Bach, Tina Turner – COURTESY OF PAUL COX/HBO
In a 1997 interview with Larry King, Turner answered questions about her residency abroad.
“I have left America, because my success was in another country and my boyfriend was in another country,” she said, noting Europe has been very supportive of her career — even more so than the US.
Turner noted she also spent time in the UK, Germany and owned a house in the south of France. Zurich, though, she said was home “because my boyfriend moved there to run the company and I always wanted to go to Switzerland and I was very happy.”
Where did Tina Turner live in Switzerland?
Turner and Bach lived in a rented lakeside villa called “Chateau Algonquin,” which is located in Kuesnacht, a high-end town situated southeast of Zurich.
In 2019, Amanda Hess described the villa which she visited while reporting for the New York Times. She wrote it had “cartoon palace energy.”
“Ivy snaking up the walls, gardeners manicuring the shrubs, a life-size two-legged horse sculpture suspended from a domed ceiling, a framed rendering of Turner as an Egyptian queen, a room stuffed with gilded Louis XIV style sofas,” Hess wrote in her description.
The Associated Press reported in January 2022 that the duo had purchased a house in Switzerland. They bought a sprawling $76 million estate made up of 10 buildings, pond, stream, swimming pool and boat dock on Lake Zurich in September 2021 in the village of Staefa.
Swiss news reports said at the time the couple would be nearby neighbors to Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer, who reportedly also looked at the property before settling on a different one further east along the lake.
A woman pays her respects outside the estate of late singer Tina Turner following the announcement of her death – FABRICE COFFRINI, AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
What was Tina Turner’s life like in Switzerland?
Turner who was well-known across the world, was able to enjoy a semblance of privacy during her life in Switzerland.
Neighbors didn’t stare, bother her for autographs or take photos as so often happens when a celebrity is out and about in public. It afforded her a normal life after a turbulent one in her native United States, including at the hands of her late former husband Ike who discovered her, married her and — according to her memoirs — violently beat her.
Markus Ernst, the mayor of Kuesnacht, told the Associated Press that Turner was engaged in the community — regularly lighting the annual Christmas tree and once inaugurating a municipal rescue boat that has been christened “Tina” — but locals went out of their way to help her enjoy a private life, too.
“One of the reasons she came to Switzerland was to have a completely normal life,” he said. “She could go to restaurants without being photographed all the time … in the street, people didn’t stare at her or ask for her autograph.”
Tina Turner during the presentation of the music project “Beyond – Three Voices For Peace” on May 14, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland – MIGUEL VILLAGRAN, GETTY IMAGES
Why did Tina Turner relinquish her US citizenship?
In 2013, Turner applied to give up her U.S. citizenship.
Turner, who was able to speak fluent German according a report from the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland cited by The Washington Post, Turner had been at the embassy on Oct. 24, 2013 to sign a “Statement of Voluntary Relinquishment of U.S. Citizenship under Section 349 (a)(1) of the INA.” She had previously sworn an oath of Swiss nationality on April 10, 2013.
At the time, she said she didn’t have strong connections to the U.S. “except for family, and has no plans to reside in the United States in the future,” according to the report.
Other celebrities have moved to Switzerland, too
Celebrities of the past including Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury, as well as living stars like Sophia Loren and Shania Twain, have been drawn to Switzerland — often for its reputed respect for private lives. Roman Polanski holed up in an Alpine chalet briefly to skirt U.S. justice, and some of the world’s financial magnates and business gurus have been attracted by the country’s relatively low taxes and secrecy about money matters.
Rock ‘n’ roll icon Tina Turner is dead at 83. A look back at her life and career in photos, from her early years with Ike Turner to her solo stardom.
Top Feature Photo: Turner performs at the pre-game show during Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta on Jan 30, 2000 – H DARR BEISER, USA TODAY