When you think of Tina Turner, you might picture her as an American music icon, but did you know that she found solace and happiness in the picturesque landscapes of Switzerland? In a surprising twist, the legendary singer spent her final decades living abroad, far away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
Tina Turner’s love affair with Switzerland began almost two decades before she decided to bid farewell to her U.S. citizenship in 2013. She found a sense of peace and discretion in the country, which reciprocated the affection by welcoming her as a resident. Sadly, the music world lost this extraordinary soul-turned-rock star on Wednesday at the age of 83 at her Switzerland home, where she battled health issues such as a stroke in 2013, intestinal cancer in 2016, and a kidney transplant in 2017.
So, what made Turner’s life abroad so intriguing? Let’s take a closer look at the details:
The Love Story
Turner’s husband, German producer Erwin Bach, played a significant role in her decision to make Switzerland her home. After a decade of knowing each other, she joined him in the mid-1990s when he had already established a home there. In 2013, the couple tied the knot in a civil ceremony followed by a Buddhist celebration. Turner once said that “Buddhism literally saved my life,” and at the age of 73, she found love and happiness with Bach.
In a candid interview with Larry King back in 1997, Turner explained her decision to reside abroad. She revealed that she left America because her success and her heart were in another country. Europe, particularly Switzerland, had been incredibly supportive of her career, even more so than her home country. She also mentioned spending time in the U.K., Germany, and owning a house in the south of France. But it was Zurich that she called home because her boyfriend had moved there to run a company, and it brought her immense joy.
The Enchanted Villa
Turner and Bach resided in a breathtaking lakeside villa known as “Chateau Algonquin” in Kuesnacht, a luxurious town southeast of Zurich. Described as having “cartoon palace energy,” the villa was a sight to behold, with ivy-covered walls, meticulously manicured gardens, and extravagant interior decor. From framed renderings of Turner as an Egyptian queen to gilded Louis XIV-style sofas, the villa exuded a sense of grandeur.
A New Home
In 2021, Turner and Bach took their love for Switzerland to another level. They purchased a magnificent $76 million estate consisting of ten buildings, a pond, a stream, a swimming pool, and a boat dock on Lake Zurich. Located in the village of Staefa, their new residence brought them closer to Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer, who also considered the property before choosing a different one along the lake.
Living in Peace
One of the remarkable aspects of Turner’s life in Switzerland was the privacy she enjoyed. Unlike the constant scrutiny and intrusions in her native United States, she found respite in the tranquility of Swiss living. Neighbors respected her privacy, refraining from staring, seeking autographs, or taking photos. It allowed her to live a normal life after enduring a turbulent past, including an abusive relationship with her late former husband Ike.
A Community Engagement
While Turner sought a private life, she still managed to engage with the community. She actively participated in local events, such as lighting the annual Christmas tree and inaugurating a municipal rescue boat named “Tina.” The mayor of Kuesnacht, Markus Ernst, expressed that Turner’s desire to have a completely normal life was one of the reasons she chose Switzerland. People treated her with respect, and she could go to restaurants without being bombarded by paparazzi or fans.
Saying Goodbye to U.S. Citizenship
In 2013, Turner made a significant decision to relinquish her U.S. citizenship. Fluent in German, she cited her lack of strong connections to the U.S. in an embassy report. Turner had sworn an oath of Swiss nationality earlier that year, solidifying her commitment to her new home and future in Switzerland.
A Celeb Haven
Turner joined the ranks of notable celebrities who found refuge in Switzerland. From Charlie Chaplin to Freddie Mercury, the country’s reputed respect for private lives attracted stars from across the globe. The Alpine chalet became a temporary sanctuary for Roman Polanski, financial magnates, and business gurus lured by the country’s low taxes and discreet financial practices.
Tina Turner’s life in Switzerland was a remarkable chapter that showcased her resilience, love, and pursuit of happiness. She found solace and privacy in the picturesque landscapes, enchanted villas, and welcoming community. Switzerland became her sanctuary, allowing her to live a life far removed from the chaos of fame and allowing her to write her own peaceful melody.