Feature

Ronnie’s lucky escape

Ronnie Spector was 17 when she fell in love with her producer, the legendary Phil Spector.

Ronnie Spector was 17 when she fell in love with her producer, the legendary Phil Spector. “He was very cool.... And he had a cute butt,” she told Hermione Hoby in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). But his talent was the real aphrodisiac. “When he would write those songs...oh, my heart. It was magic.” Spector produced a string of hits for her girl group, The Ronettes, including such classics as “Be My Baby.” But after they married in 1968, he became insanely possessive, imprisoning her in his California mansion. She was allowed to leave the house only once a month, “to go get my feminine stuff, if you get my drift.” He screamed at her every time she spoke, until eventually she became mute. “I cried every night I was married.” Finally, in the summer of 1972, her worried mother paid Ronnie a visit. “She said, ‘Honey, you’re going to die here.’ She knew.” Three days later, Ronnie snuck out of the house barefoot (he had hidden her shoes to prevent her from leaving). Today, Spector is in jail for murdering an actress in that same California mansion, and Ronnie is glad she escaped. “The more he tried to destroy me, the stronger I got,” she says, leaning in with conspiratorial glee. “It feels wonderful!”

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