A public person in a private country: Tina Turner enjoyed a ‘normal’ life in her Swiss home

In her adopted country, Tina Turner was more than just a rock, R&B and pop superstar. Without apologizing, she moved to Switzerland at her discretion and calm, bringing her very public personality to a very private country. She enjoyed her life as a Swiss citizen, and the feeling for her was mutual.

Mourners placed flowers and candles on Thursday outside the door of her lakeside villa in the posh town of Kuesnacht, southeast of Zurich, where she lived for decades with her husband, German music producer Erwin Bach, until her death on Wednesday. at 83 years old.

It was a low-key tribute, reflective of the Swiss discretion that had drawn her to the rich Alpine country in the first place.

The neighbors didn’t gawk, nor did they harass her for autographs or photos. Many Swiss were proud to be able to withdraw here from the pressures of the media. It gave her the appearance of a normal life after a turbulent one of hers in her native United States, including at the hands of her late ex-husband Ike, who discovered her, married her and, according to her memoirs, he hit her violently.

Celebrities of the past, such as Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury, as well as living stars such as Sophia Loren and Shania Twain, have been drawn to Switzerland, often because of its respect for private life. Roman Polanski briefly hid in an alpine chalet to evade American justice, and some of the world’s financial moguls and business gurus have been drawn to the country’s relatively low taxes and secrecy about money matters.

The American Tina Turner performs during a concert in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2009. The singer died this Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

The American Tina Turner performs during a concert in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2009. The singer died this Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

Turner, who moved in the mid-1990s and took Swiss citizenship in 2013, dispensing with her US passport, was arguably the most famous resident of recent years.

Swiss President Alain Berset tweeted a tribute to Turner, calling her an icon and saying his “thoughts are with the family of this impressive woman, who found a second homeland in Switzerland.”

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Markus Ernst, mayor of Kuesnacht, a bucolic town on the shores of Lake Zurich, said Turner was committed to the community, regularly lighting the annual Christmas tree and once inaugurating a municipal rescue boat that has been christened “Tina”. , but the locals left. out of his way to help an overwhelmingly public figure enjoy a private life as well.

“One of the reasons he came to Switzerland was to have a completely normal life,” he said by phone. She “could go to restaurants without being photographed all the time…on the street, people didn’t look at her or ask for her autograph”.

A statement from his longtime manager, Bernard Doherty, said a private funeral ceremony was planned between family and close friends, adding: “Please respect their privacy.”

Years ago, Turner recounted the milestones of her life and her affection and affinity for Switzerland in a dazzling television commercial for the communications company Swisscom, featuring young actors who portrayed her in both her early and later years. highlights of his career.

Tina Turner fans leave flowers and gifts outside her residence.

Tina Turner fans leave flowers and gifts outside her residence.PA

It alluded to stereotypes about Switzerland, as the home of William Tell or an ice-skating skill center; she sat in a rocking rowboat on a lake surrounded by majestic mountains, mobile phone in hand. Turner recounted how her friends had to adjust to her Swiss tastes, while an actor playing her made a pot of cheese fondue to the mocking gazes of fictional guests.

Another actor waved fans off as flashes went off as she climbed into the backseat of a limousine alongside the real Turner, with the superstar quipping: “As time went by, I learned more and more about Switzerland, like safety and discretion are a thing of the people”. Top priority, just like they are to me.”

“And when I finally moved to Switzerland, I felt at home right away,” he reflected. “People respect each other’s privacy here, they take care of each other.”

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