Marvin Gaye's wife though he was going to kill her while high on drugs.

Jan Gaye - who married the soul singer in 1977 and filed for legal separation two years later, though they remained in an on/off relationship until his murder in 1984 - has opened up about her tumultuous relationship with the troubled Motown legend and has accused the 'Let's Get It On' hitmaker of putting a knife to her throat and telling her to ''provoke me'' to ''put us out our misery''.

The incident was sparked when Marvin accused Jan of

having affairs and flew into a wild jealous rage while intoxicated on cocaine and magic mushrooms - which cause hallucinations.

The 59 year old says the explosive row was the point when she realised ''the madness'' of drug abuser Marvin's behaviour had ''reached a dangerous new level'' and she was terrified he was going to kill her.

In an extract from her tell-all autobiography 'After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye' obtained by the Daily Mirror newspaper, she recalled: ''The time the madness reached a new and dangerous level. His eyes turned red with hatred. I was filled with fear ... he took a kitchen knife and put it to my throat. I was petrified, paralysed. I thought it was all over.''

She added: ''He told me 'I love you so much. This love is killing me. I beg you to provoke me. Provoke me right now so I can take us both out of our misery. I was too frightened to say a word. Too frightened to move. Fortunately, his rage subsided and he put the knife away. But by then I knew what I had to do.''

Subsequently, Jan left their Los Angeles home immediately, taking with her their two children, daughter Nona and son Frankie.

Jan - who was eventually driven into the arms of other men by her controlling spouse - and Marvin eventually divorced in 1982 after she could no longer tolerate his behaviour.

However, she spiralled into her own drug hell, getting hooked on crack cocaine but she eventually turned her life around and now lives a peaceful life as a grandmother in Rhode Island

In the tome, she admits: ''I borrowed money from ex-lovers, friends, and family. I got a job cleaning house for a lady who paid me half in cash and half in cocaine ... In spite of my history, I have survived. Marvin's history, with all its brutal complexities, cut short his survival.''

Marvin was shot dead by his dad Reverend Marvin Gay Senior on April 1, 1984 after getting into a fight with him after breaking up an argument between his parents at their Los Angeles home. He was just 44 at the time of his passing.