Aretha franklin and willie wilkerson

Inside Aretha Franklin's Enduring 30-Year Romance with Longtime Love Willie Wilkerson

aretha franklin and willie wilkerson

Willie Wilkerson is the longtime boyfriend of Aretha Franklin.

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August 21, By Fabiosa. After a long battle with cancer, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, quietly passed away on Thursday morning. She was 76 years old. Throughout all ups and downs, Aretha always had someone special by her side — her beloved partner Willie Wilkerson. A singing legend and a former firefighter reportedly met in the 80s when Wilkerson asked Franklin to sign a cast on his leg. The couple started secretly dating until they opened up about their romance in for a Jet cover story. Aretha was previously married twice.

The Queen of Soul's fortune was expected to be split equally between her four sons but now, a long term on-off lover says he deserves a piece too. Her sons are reportedly at odds over whether fireman Willie Wilkerson, who Aretha once described as her "forever friend", should get any of her money. Wilkerson, 71, first met the legendary musician at a meet-and-greet with fans in Detroit in the s, when they sparked a "fiery" relationship. They called of an engagement in but they continued to see each other until she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. Aretha's two eldest Clarence, 63, and Edward, 62, feel like he deserves "something" for the time they spent together, reports claim. But Ted White Jr, 54, and Kecalf, 48, think he used her as a "meal ticket" and only wants her money, an unnamed source told the Express. The process of dividing her many millions could take years and is likely to play out in public, according to experts who were shocked she did not write a will.

Aretha Franklin's lack of will has caused a legal feud among her heirs. However, Franklin's children are debating whether or not her long-term, on and off lover deserves a share of her wealth. Reports suggest that Franklin's heirs are involved in a legal feud with Willie Wilkerson, a fireman who was considered as forever friend by the late singer. Wilkerson, 71, met the famous artist in Detroit during a meet and greet with fans in the s. It was during this time when they started their relationship. The two canceled their engagement in

The queen of soul reportedly met the dashing former firefighter at an autograph-signing session in her hometown, Detroit, in the early s. The gregarious Wilkerson is said to have asked the star to sign the cast on his broken leg, sparking friendship which bloomed into romance. In a surprise move in , Franklin and her lover went public about their relationship in a cover story for Jet magazine. Failed unions aside, Franklin never gave up on the idea of making it official. Instead, in the years before ill health took its toll, Franklin was happy to be photographed at everything from sporting events to the red carpet—usually with Wilkerson on her arm.

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The couple first met in the '80s and were close until her death on Thursday morning. After dating for several years, the couple opened up about their romance in a Jet cover story. During a photo shoot with PEOPLE in , Franklin — who died Thursday morning from advance pancreatic cancer at the age of 76 — demurred and blushed when asked about her relationship status. But less than a year later, the private singer confirmed she and Wilkerson, 70, were ready to walk down the aisle. Previously wed to Ted White for eight years and then to actor Glynn Turman for six, Franklin never gave up on finding her king.



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Aretha Franklin has died, according to the Associated Press. She was 76 years old. The two were friends for several years before turning their friendship into a romance. Franklin and Wilkerson started dating many moons ago. She and Wilkerson had already been thinking about their wedding day by the time they got engaged. According to Essence , the pair had been hoping to exchange vows in Miami Beach. Wilkerson and Franklin never made it down the aisle because they called off their engagement just two weeks after announcing it.

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The two are planning a summer wedding in the Hamptons, and Franklin says she's already talking to Vera Wang and Donna Karan about designing her dress. And she's hoping gospel singer Karen Clark, Stevie Wonder or Smokey Robinson, whom she calls her "dearest, oldest friend," sing at the nuptials. This isn't just some fly-by-night romance. Wilkerson and Franklin were featured on the cover of Jet Magazine all the way back in And they're still together! Wilkerson asked the singer to sign the cast on his leg and a friendship developed from there.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Lisa F. says:

    As Aretha Franklin privately battled pancreatic cancer, she had someone by her side who saw her through many of life's ups and downs.

  2. TzĂ­pora M. says:

    Inside Aretha Franklin's Enduring Year Romance with Longtime Love Willie Wilkerson

  3. Gregory C. says:







  4. Icraveva says:

    60 Top Willie Wilkerson Pictures, Photos and Images - Getty Images

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