As far as red flags go, Ronnie Spector’s turbulent marriage to Phil Spector was the biggest and most red of them all.
Phil was convicted in the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson and died in prison the previous year. But before he could be tried for the heinous crime, the relationship between the producer and his teenage protagonist deteriorated due to cruelty, ill-control and perverted love. And it eventually became a chilling harbinger of the violence to come.
Ronnie, the bad-girl singer of ’60s rock group The Ronettes, died Wednesday at the age of 78 after a brief battle with cancer. But in the years before his death, the musician was open about his painful relationship with Phil, who first signed to his band in 1963.
Phil would help bring Ronnie and the Ronettes to chart-topping success with the hit tunes “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up” and “Walking in the Rain” from “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I Love You” (both 1963) . ”(both 1964). The pair tied the knot in 1968, and the Ronettes called it quits soon after.
Ronnie’s rep did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
In Ronnie’s 1990 memoir “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness”, she wrote that, while she admired her ex-husband’s musical talent, he was vindictive, controlling, and violent.
In the book, he also mentions that he had actually placed a gold coffin in their basement and told him that he would kill her if he tried to leave it.
“All I can say is that when I left in the early ’70s, I knew if I didn’t leave at that time, I was going to die there,” she wrote.
The book further describes how Phil kept her locked up in his California mansion, where he made her the victim of severe psychological abuse. In 1972, with the help of his mother, he ran a race for it barefoot, barely saving his life.
Ronnie told People in 2018 about her mom’s help and her ordeal: “She said, ‘I’m your mom and I’m telling you, we have to get out of here. Or you, my little girl, are going to leave’ .'”
The “Love on a Rooftop” musician continued, “It was very dark in those days. Now I feel free to be able to tell other women. Maybe not every woman will listen to me, but some guys and I [hope] I can get one or two to save them [own] Survive or protect them from abuse. ,
As a result of their 1974 separation, Phil received custody of their three adopted children – Deontay Philippe and twins Louis and Gary. The record producer forced her to sign away from his life in a divorce settlement and cut her from future record earnings.
By that time, he had accused her of pulling a gun and told that he had threatened to hire a hit man to kill him.
Decades after their divorce, Phil still felt like he had some kind of control over Ronnie. He led a campaign to prevent him from being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
“You’d think he would have focused on his murder trial,” Singer told The Post at the time.
The couple’s three adopted children also suffered abuse and trauma by the producers behind Wall of Sound recording technology. Deontay Philippe claimed in a 2003 Mail Sunday interview that the trio had been abused by Phil and described her relationship with him as “a thin line between love and hate”.
He also alleged that Phil trapped him and his brothers in their bedroom “with the lock on the door”.
When Phil finally passed away at the age of 81, Ronnie spoke about his death. “It’s a sad day for music and a sad day for me,” she wrote on social media at the time.
“When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him make it in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the best. He was in complete control directing everyone. In those days So much to love about that,” she continued. “Meeting him and falling in love was like a story. The magical music we were able to make together was inspired by our love. I loved her madly, and gave my heart and soul to her.”
Perhaps in the sense of the century, Ronnie said that, although his ex was “a splendid producer”, he was “a lousy husband”. She appeared at peace with the role she played in her career.
“Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and work outside the recording studio. It was dark, many lives were lost. I still smile whenever I listen to the music we made together, and always Will keep doing it. Music will be there forever.”