The son of a strict Black Hebrew Pentecostal preacher (I know, right?
), Marvin struggled to find his own identity outside of his father Marvin Gay Sr’s shadow.
Not only that, but it’s always Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. One would be surprised to learn that there was much more to Tammi’s story than simply being Marvin Gaye’s lady. Not surprisingly, Terrell’s behavior changed drastically after the incident.
At the time of her death, Tammi was engaged to Ernest Garrett, a physician at the hospital where she was being treated for terminal brain cancer.
By 1970 Terrell was confined to a wheelchair, suffered from blindness and hair loss, and weighed only 93 pounds.
He was also allegedly abused by his father in his childhood, and stated that he would have ended his own life had his mother not encouraged his singing, in which he found an outlet.
Marvin was so traumatized by his childhood that he changed his last name, adding an “e” at the end both as a means to squash rumors about his sexuality (largely stemming from his soft-spoken nature) and to distance himself from his father.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, You’re All I Need to Get By, If This World Were Mine (yes, that one, before Luther had a hit with it), and the list goes on and on.