Singer Ronnie Spector, is speaking out about her abusive marriage to super producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector.
The original bad girl of Rock and Roll married Phil in the late 1960s but said his increasingly destructive and bizarre behavior tuned their relationship sour.
He kept her a prisoner in her own home – a Beverly Hills mansion surrounded by barbed wire and guard dogs – and even hid Ronnie’s shoes to prevent her from trying to run away.
But the strangest thing he ever did in their six year marriage came in the Christmas of 1971 when he surprised Ronnie by coming home with five-year-old twins Gary and Louis, now 52.
Ronnie Spector (pictured in 2017) has revealed that her ex-husband once brought home twin boys that he had adopted – without telling her
The former Ronettes front woman believed Spector (pictured together in 1963) was trying to attach her to more children so that she wouldn’t leave the mansion where he had turned her into a prisoner
Phil surprised Ronnie by coming home with five-year-old twins Gary and Louis in 1972. They had adopted son Donté Phillip Spector two years earlier (the twins, left, and Donte, pictured together as kids)
Ronnie, who had adopted son Donté Phillip Spector with him two years earlier, was stunned.
‘We were in the car and all of a sudden we pull up to the mansion and there’s these twins running around – these blond-haired, blue-eyed twins,’ she told People.
‘I’m saying, “What’s this?” and he said, “Merry Christmas!”
‘No one wants live children as a surprise,’ Ronnie, now 75, said as she recalled the moment.
‘He never said, ‘Ronnie, what do you think we should do? Should we adopt twins? Everything was a surprise.’
The twins later claimed that they had been abused by their adopted dad. In an interview with the Mail on Sunday in 2003, Donte described his relationship with his father as a ‘thin line between love and hate.’
He said Phil locked him and his brothers in their bedrooms ‘with locks on the door’ and that he’d left home at 10 years old after years of abuse.
Fast-forward 46 years and it is Spector who is now the prisoner, serving 19 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
Clarkson was killed in the very same mansion that Ronnie escaped from, just months after Spector brought home twins Gary and Louis, now 52 years old.
‘The more kids I got, the further I was in that mansion,’ Ronnie later wrote in her memoir. The couple already had a son named Donte, now 49.
It was hard for Ronnie to give up on the man who helped make her a star.
‘People don’t understand why I stayed so long,’ Ronnie told People. ‘But when you’re in love and that person made you famous, there are lots of reasons.’
Ronnie, pictured with her son Louis Spector, who claims he was abused by his father
Ronnie was working as a dancing girl with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley -known as The Ronnettes – at Brooklyn’s Fox Theater when they caught Spector’s eye. They are pictured here in 1960
Spector was immediately smitten with Ronnie, co-writing the hit tune Be My Baby as a ‘love letter’ to her
Donte Spector (pictured) the son of Phil, as a baby in the swimming pool with his dad and one of the twins, said there was a ‘thin line between love and hate’ with his father
Ronnie was working as a dancing girl with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley at Brooklyn’s Fox Theater when they caught Spector’s eye.
He was immediately smitten with Ronnie, co-writing the hit tune Be My Baby as a ‘love letter’ to her.
The song – one of the first to feature Spector’s famous ‘wall of sound’ – went straight to the top of the charts and turned the Ronettes into bonafide celebrities.
Their hits kept coming with tunes like Walking In The Rain and Baby, I Love You. Soon it wasn’t just Spector that was paying attention to Ronnie.
One night in London, a young John Lennon tried to get Ronnie into bed. But she only had eyes for Spector.
‘I just dug my feet into the carpet and said, ‘We gotta go downstairs John!” she recalled.
Spector never approved of Ronnie’s friendship with Lennon.
When the Beatles invited the Ronnettes to join their world tour, he delivered an ultimatum – she could leave him, or she could marry him.
‘I stayed with him because I loved him,’ Ronnie said.
The song – one of the first to feature Spector’s famous ‘wall of sound’ – went straight to the top of the charts and turned the Ronettes into bonafide celebrities
When the Beatles invited the Ronnettes to join their world tour, he delivered an ultimatum – marry him or go on tour. Ronnie stayed with him
They wed in California two years later. When Ronnie’s mother turned to her daughter after signing the wedding certificate, she remarked: ‘I just signed your death certificate’.
In the seven years that they stayed married, Ronnie was only allowed to leave the house a handful of times.
‘I was never around people,’ she said. ‘He made sure of that.’
Spector kept her isolated in the studio, where her best friend was Cher – who at the time was a backup singer.
‘We became really close,’ she said. ‘We’d tell each other secrets.’
If she was gone for more than 20 minutes, he would call the guards. He even had an inflatable mannequin of himself made for the passenger seat of her sports car.
‘He was obsessed,’ Ronnie recalled. ‘He always said, ‘Before I let you go, you’ll be dead.”
In the seven years that they stayed married, Ronnie was only allowed to leave the house a handful of times
After escaping his mansion, Ronnie divorced Spector and launched her comeback in 1973. She is pictured here in 1977
‘I thought I wasn’t going to sing again. I thought I was going to die there.’
Ronnie’s mother moved in after Spector surprised her with the twins, and it was she who would help convince her daughter to finally leave.
In 2009, Spector was convicted for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson (pictured)
‘She said, ‘I’m your mother and I’m telling you we gotta get out of here. Or you, my little girl, are going to be gone,’ Ronnie recalled.
‘My whole survival is through my mom’s strength. I tell other women: If you’re in a bad relationship, you have to find one person to help you.’
They studied the service entrance for three days before putting their plan into motion.
In the midst of her escape, Ronnie and her mother came face to face with Spector.
But Ronnie’s mother saved the day, telling him they were simply going for a walk through the sprawling mansion’s grounds.
‘As soon as we got to a corner where he couldn’t see us, we started running,’ she recalled.
Ronnie moved to New York and lost custody of her children. She then worked hard to relaunch her career.
‘Phil’s abuse was mental, not physical, telling me I’ll never be successful without him,’ she said. ‘It made me say, ‘Wanna bet?”
Now it is Spector who has become the prison (pictured left during his 2005 murder trial, and right in a 2017 mug shot)
Ronnie got the comeback she needed after singing on the hit 1973 song Take Me Home Tonight.
That year she married producer Jonathan Greenfield, who she now lives with in New England and shares children Austin, 36, and 35-year-old Jason.
‘My mother died knowing she left me with the right person,’ Ronnie said.
Last year the Ronettes reunited for the new single Love Power, and now she’s preparing to headline a holiday tour.
‘What I went through made me great,’ she said. ‘I was determined nobody would ever keep me down again.’
‘All I can think about now is my next show,’ Ronnie added. ‘I’ll never stop singing. I couldn’t sing then, but I’m damn sure singing now!’
‘I won. Phil’s where he is, and I’m going all over the world.’