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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Jeremy Armstrong

A marriage split, a new husband, and sleeping with David Bowie - Tina Turner aide tells all

Through the rollercoaster years when Tina Turner broke free from her abusive marriage and went solo to conquer the world, she could always rely on her personal assistant Eddy Hampton Armani.

For over 20 years he travelled the world with her as her right-hand man, looking after her wardrobe and ensuring her life ran smoothly.

He was there when she left Ike Turner, and he was there when she first met her second husband Erwin Bach, who was with her when she died aged 83 at home in Switzerland this week after a long illness.

Eddy was there when, as a single woman at the height of her fame, Tina was courted by some of the biggest names in rock’n’roll.

And he was in the hotel room next door to hers when she finally fell into bed with David Bowie.

Eddy told the Mirror yesterday: “I was with her for many years, we were best friends. Our relationship ran deep; I was her personal assistant, I made her wigs, I lived in her house, I cooked for her.”

They first met when Eddy, now 65, started the Ike and Tina fan club while still a teenager living in Los Angeles.

He worked in Ike’s Bolic Sound studio in Inglewood, California, before he finally persuaded Tina to take him on, and they travelled across the US, Australia, Asia, Europe and to the UK.

Tina nicknamed him “Armani” because of his love of designer gear.

Once rid of Ike’s control, she confided in him about her crush on Mark Knopfler, who wrote her smash hit Private Dancer, her chemistry with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, and her passion for Blade Runner actor Rutger Hauer.

Tina never slept around, but in Birmingham she finally fell for Bowie, who had courted her for many years.

She had invited the singer to perform as a special guest in her Private Dancer Tour on March 23, 1985, at the city’s NEC venue.

Eddy said: “David Bowie always had a fascination with Tina Turner.

“She always saw him as an exotic rock’n’roll star, but he was not on her radar. He was terribly charming, he was such a gentleman and they would meet and talk and get a little bit flirty.

“He told her, ‘I’ve been a fan of you for such a long time, I have to have you’, and that was the start – he pursued her.

“This was before her Private Dancer tour, there was a lot of teasing going on. He wrote her a couple of songs, went to see her in LA at a pool party, in his limousine with his assistant called Coco, and he would try and get close to her – but always in a playful way – when Coco left the room.

“When Tina was working with Heaven 17 she did a cover version of Bowie’s song 1984 and he loved it and agreed to appear as her special guest in Birmingham.

“There was Paul Young, Bryan Adams and David Bowie all in the private suite with Tina and it was my job to get the drinks but then at the end of the night to politely wind it up when it was time to go to bed.

With Mick Jagger in 1987 (Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock)

“Paul and Bryan left and said, ‘See you tomorrow’, and I said, ‘Excuse me, Mr Bowie’, and he joked, ‘I’m not quite ready to go yet’.

“Then he said, ‘You’re excused now, we’re just going to have one more drink and then I’ll go to bed’. I was next door, I did their drinks, Tina only had white wine or champagne.

“I had to get Tina up next day and it looked like there had been a party.

“She popped out of her bedroom and I said, ‘You’re looking very perky today’. She said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but last night David was so persistent I just had to give up. He just wore me down’.

“David had taken a shower and had nothing on, he put one of her wigs on and started singing her hit Proud Mary. Tina was in hysterics and we were reliving it, laughing, falling off the bed. So they did consummate their relationship. Tina would never admit to that and I never knew why.

“Jonathan Ross and a couple of other interviewers alluded to it, but she would never confess.

Hauer in Blade Runner (Corbis via Getty Images)
Tina, Jagger and Bowie in 1986 (Dave Hogan)

“Maybe they had made that promise to each other. They always stayed good friends.

“They were not long-term lovers – she just thought, ‘Come on then, let’s just get it out of the way’. Off stage, Tina was kind, thoughtful and spiritual, spending her free time in nature and following her Buddhist beliefs.

After breaking free from Ike – who Eddy described as “an incredibly controlling man” – Tina valued her freedom and liked to go out in public unnoticed.

Eddy said: “If we went for a shopping spree, she would put on her jeans and T-shirt and wear a baseball cap so she wasn’t recognised and we would whip around the stores and she would send everything back to the hotel.”

Recalling her generosity, he added: “We spent Christmas in Hong Kong one year and she bought me a Sony Walkman – typical of her kindness. “

Eddy, a singer and songwriter, stopped working for Tina when she met record exec Erwin and moved to Switzerland with him.'

Tina with husband Ike Turner in 1963 (Michael Ochs Archives)

He wrote a memoir about their life on the road together, and he has nothing but fond memories of the rock superstar he knew so well.

“I miss her,” he said. “Her death has not really sunk in yet.

“I’ll never forget her laugh, and the good times we shared.

“We will always have her music, there was no one quite like her.

“I do believe she was the queen of rock’n’roll.”

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