Berry Gordy and Diana Ross appeared to be an unstoppable pairing during the Supremes' rise to fame through Gordy's legendary Motown record label. As Ross' star grew, so did her relationship with Gordy, who says he had big ambitions for the all-female R&B group from the very beginning.
In this video from Gordy's interview on "Oprah's Master Class," he recalls how those ambitions led to one defining moment in both his professional and personal relationship with Ross. It occurred during one of the Supremes' early shows in England, where Gordy planned to show off the group's broad musical range by adding Dean Martin's "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" to the performance. But there was one small problem: Ross refused to sing it.
"We had our first major argument," Gordy says. "She had [sung that song] once and refused to do it the second time because the audience didn't like it and she didn't like it either."
Gordy tried to reason with Ross to convince her to sing the song, saying it would help him get the Supremes into places like the Copacabana. He detailed how showing off this range of talent would help the group gain exposure. He laid out his vision for the Supremes' success. "I had this whole master plan for when we get back. We would just take it and sweep the world -- but, first, we've got to get national TV," Gordy says.
It didn't seem to matter. "I could not explain anything to her that made sense to her," Gordy says. "She refused to do it completely."
That's when Gordy gave up. "I walked out and my life left," he recalls. "Because if she didn't do it, I knew I could not manage them again. And my life was over."
In the video, Gordy then recounts what happened in that fateful show and how it led to a poignant revelation about his personal feelings for Ross.