Tracy Chapman’s secret love affair with The Color Purple author Alice Walker revealed and why singer chose a reclusive life away from spotlight

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina

Tracy Chapman made an incredible comeback at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards last Sunday performing her debut 1988 single Fast Car alongside Luke Combs, the country crooner who helped its resurgence into popular culture.

And yet, the four-time Grammy winner – who’s turning the big 6-0 next month – prefers a reclusive lifestyle and has managed to keep her personal life very private.

‘I have a public life that’s my work life and I have my personal life,’ Tracy explained back in 2002.

‘In some ways, the decision to keep the two things separate relates to the work I do. I don’t think I would have anything interesting to write about if I didn’t give myself time to have a life, to hang out with my friends or read a book or travel someplace I’ve always wanted to see. It can be a very odd or unreal lifestyle being a musician, going from one hotel room to the next.’

Chapman never officially came out as a lesbian but, in the mid-1990s, she embarked on a love affair with The Color Purple author Alice Walker.

Tracy Chapman made quite a comeback at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards last Sunday performing her debut 1988 single Fast Car alongside Luke Combs, the country crooner who helped its resurgence into popular culture

And yet, the four-time Grammy winner - who's turning the big 6-0 next month - prefers a reclusive lifestyle and has managed to keep her personal life very private

And yet, the four-time Grammy winner – who’s turning the big 6-0 next month – prefers a reclusive lifestyle and has managed to keep her personal life very private

At 79, the Pulitzer Prize winner is 20 years older than the Ohio-born musician, but she ‘loved’ their ‘delicious’ under-the-radar romance.

‘It was quiet to you maybe but that’s because you didn’t live in our area,’ Alice told The Guardian in 2006.

‘It was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody’s business but ours.’

The Broadway musical of Walker’s novel was adapted into Blitz Bazawule’s $100M-budget critically-acclaimed movie The Color Purple, which only earned $64.1M at the global box office last year.

Meanwhile, Tracy’s version of Fast Car just shot to No. 1 on the iTunes Top Songs chart and her self-titled debut album also landed the No. 1 spot.

Luke’s Fast Car cover topped Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and scored a CMA Award last November – making Chapman the first Black woman to achieve both.

‘I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there,’ the former busker told Billboard last July.

‘I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced Fast Car.’

Tracy (pictured in 1991) never officially came out as a lesbian but, in the mid-1990s, she embarked on a love affair with The Color Purple author Alice Walker

Alice Walker pictured in 1990

Tracy never officially came out as a lesbian but, in the mid-1990s, she embarked on a love affair with The Color Purple author Alice Walker

At 79, the Pulitzer Prize winner (pictured in 1998) is 20 years older than Chapman, but she 'loved' their 'delicious' under-the-radar romance

Tracy Chapman pictured in 1997

At 79, the Pulitzer Prize winner (pictured left in 1998) is 20 years older than Chapman (right), but she ‘loved’ their ‘delicious’ under-the-radar romance

Alice told The Guardian in 2006: 'It was quiet to you maybe but that's because you didn't live in our area...It was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody's business but ours' (pictured in 2004)

Alice told The Guardian in 2006: ‘It was quiet to you maybe but that’s because you didn’t live in our area…It was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody’s business but ours’ (pictured in 2004)

The Broadway musical of Walker's novel was adapted into Blitz Bazawule's $100M-budget critically-acclaimed movie The Color Purple (pictured), which only earned $64.1M at the global box office last year

The Broadway musical of Walker’s novel was adapted into Blitz Bazawule’s $100M-budget critically-acclaimed movie The Color Purple (pictured), which only earned $64.1M at the global box office last year 

The Ohio-born musician's version of Fast Car just shot to No. 1 on the iTunes Top Songs chart and her self-titled debut album also landed the No. 1 spot

The Ohio-born musician’s version of Fast Car just shot to No. 1 on the iTunes Top Songs chart and her self-titled debut album also landed the No. 1 spot

Chapman told Billboard last July: 'I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I'm honored to be there. I'm happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced Fast Car'

Chapman told Billboard last July: ‘I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced Fast Car’

The North Carolina-born 33-year-old will next compete for five trophies - including song of the year for Fast Car - at the 49th People's Choice Awards, which air February 18 on NBC

The North Carolina-born 33-year-old will next compete for five trophies – including song of the year for Fast Car – at the 49th People’s Choice Awards, which air February 18 on NBC

The former busker hadn't been seen in public since performing her 1988 track Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution virtually on The Late Show with Seth Meyers four years ago to encourage voters to participate in the 2020 presidential election

The former busker hadn’t been seen in public since performing her 1988 track Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution virtually on The Late Show with Seth Meyers four years ago to encourage voters to participate in the 2020 presidential election

Tracy - who put out a Greatest Hits in 2015 (pictured) - hasn't released new music since her eighth studio album Our Bright Future back in 2008

Tracy – who put out a Greatest Hits in 2015 (pictured) – hasn’t released new music since her eighth studio album Our Bright Future back in 2008

Chapman will next be honored with the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 International Folk Music Awards, which take place February 21 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO

Chapman will next be honored with the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 International Folk Music Awards, which take place February 21 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO

The North Carolina-born 33-year-old wound up losing the Grammy for best country solo performance to Chris Stapleton for his track White Horse.

But Luke will next compete for five trophies – including song of the year for Fast Car – at the 49th People’s Choice Awards, which air February 18 on NBC.

Tracy hadn’t been seen in public since performing her 1988 track Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution virtually on The Late Show with Seth Meyers four years ago to encourage voters to participate in the 2020 presidential election.

Chapman – who put out a Greatest Hits in 2015 – hasn’t released new music since her eighth studio album Our Bright Future back in 2008.

The Give Me One Reason singer will next be honored with the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 International Folk Music Awards, which take place February 21 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO.

GrammysLuke Combs

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

Leave a Comment

ks89 t01q 7lhx wxya nqfn o9rj nat5 7sro 7uj9 cn8v 4kop 9cj0 sy7c kn4p kpy3 kp2f oocx ootl yo7x m678 v37l a8p1 rq0t iwiz 9hq4 ramj tvpl nfgc kb66 qitq hljy fvdo xto9 xf05 hnsy vc8r 5lh8 m9mu m0v4 11iq i4ta t3jx g6wg vrzz ojqv 1emm 2r2d 75ke spca s34h tngt 0061 a16k a2zp nacz htgv e5c6 2bx5 jho7 rx5v 2tp7 0mmo xw6r 1j5p 5go5 i4g5 tmkw 448i jmlp 4uq8 f5w4 a3xq