David Ruffin and
After escaping an abusive relationship with James Brown, Tammi began a volatile relationship with the lead singer David Ruffin in 1965. In 1966, David surprised her with a marriage proposal.
However, when she announced her engagement to David on stage he became upset. Tammi was devastated once she discovered that he had a wife, three children and another girlfriend in Detroit. This led to them having public fights. Tammi was portrayed in the Temptations movie during the Motown picnic scene. It is claimed that
with a hammer and/or a machete, though these claims were denied by
Tammi’s family. Earl Van Dyke, leader of Motown’s Funk Brothers band, recalled David beating up Tammi at the Motown Hitsville headquarters. Her sister Ludie Montgomery also confirmed a story that Tammi was hit in the face by Ruffin’s motorcycle helmet, leading to the end of their relationship in 1967. Tammi went on to record classic duets with Marvin Gaye, but she unfortunately died from a brain tumor at the age of 24 in 1970. David died of a drug overdose in 1991.