Ronnie Spector will never forget the moment her then-husband, celeb music producer Phil Spector, gave her the news he had adopted a set of twins without asking her.
“We were in the car and all of a sudden we pull up to the mansion and there’s a fountain and there are these twins running around — these blond-haired, blue-eyed twins,” the singer told People magazine Wednesday. “I’m saying, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘Merry Christmas!’”
Spector, 75, was suddenly the mother of Gary and Louis, who are now 52. The boys ended up being raised by their adoptive father after the couple's divorce in 1974.
“He never said, ‘Ronnie, what do you think we should do? Should we adopt twins?’ Nothing!” said the pop star. “Everything was a surprise, and no woman wants live children as a surprise. That’s when my mother came along.”
Spector, born Veronica Bennett, first met the music hit-maker, now 78, when he took her girl group the Ronettes (Spector, sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley) under his wing at the beginning of their career. Spector was 17 and Phil was 24 when they first met. The band quickly became a sensation with the release of 1963’s “Be My Baby.”
Ronnie and Phil tied the knot in 1968 — and everything went downhill from there. According to the magazine, the Ronettes disbanded and Phil kept Spector as a prisoner in their own Beverly Hills mansion, which he surrounded with barbed wire and guard dogs.
Ronnie was able to escape from Phil in 1972 with the help of her mom, Beatrice.
“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 said.
Phil Spector is currently serving a sentence of 19 years to life after being convicted in 2009 killing actress Lana Clarkson.
Meanwhile, Ronnie Spector moved back to her native New York soon after the divorce and kept her stage name.
She enjoyed a musical comeback in the ‘70s and sang on the 1983 Eddie Money track “Take Me Home Tonight.” In 1982, she married producer Jonathan Greenfield, who originally attended one of her comeback concerts as “a smitten teen.” The couple shares two sons — 36-year-old Austin and 35-year-old Jason.”
Ronnie Spector’s past hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her love of music. She is currently headlining a holiday tour across the country and will be hitting the road with the Ronettes in 2019. She also doesn’t think twice about giving no-nonsense advice to other women in need.
“I would tell any woman, if you are in a bad relationship, you have to find someone – like my mother,” she explained. “If it’s not your mother, your best friend. One person has to help you.
“It was so dark back in those days. Now I feel free to be able to tell other women. Maybe not every woman will listen to me, but some will and I [hope] I can get one or two to save their [own] lives or save them from getting abused.”
This isn’t the first time Spector has spoken candidly about her tumultuous marriage to Phil.
Back in 2014, Spector told The Telegraph that after their marriage, Phil pulled her from the limelight and imprisoned her. She was only allowed to leave once a month “to go get my feminine stuff if you catch my drift” and if she was gone for 20 minutes he’d send a bodyguard. He also reportedly screamed at her so violently, she became mute.
“The last year of my marriage I didn’t talk at all,” she told the UK-based publication. “Because if I said anything he’d yell at me, so why say anything? I was a scared little girl from Spanish Harlem living in this mansion with five servants, not knowing what to do with any of it. I cried every night I was married.”
Spector added that once her worried mother paid a visit, the two stayed up “for three days and nights” planning her escape.
At the time, she vividly described what it was about Phil that made her fall in love with him.
“First, I fell in love with his coolness,” she explained. “He was very cool. Always had one hand in his pocket. And he had a cute butt. I loved his tush, he had the cutest tush. The way he handled the band — he’s a guy, 24 years old, yet he’s telling married men with children what to do? That turned me on so much. I fell in love with that power.”
And there was also that magnetic connection through song.
“When he would write those songs and I’d be sitting on the piano next to him… oh, my heart… it was magic,” she said.
Still, Spector stressed, “The more he tried to destroy me, the stronger I got. It made me think, ‘How dare you, you don’t own me.’”
Associated Press contributed to this report.