Our beloved Aretha Franklin is, unfortunately, severely ill. Here are some facts you might not have known about the Queen of Soul.
1. Clarence LaVaughn ‘CL’ Franklin- Aretha Franklin’s Father Was In A Five-Year Coma
Aretha Franklin’s father, Clarence LaVaughn ‘CL’ Franklin, was a popular minister and gospel singer from Shelby, Mississippi. Before Aretha Franklin turned 5, her father moved the family to Detroit, Michigan so that he could be the preacher of the New Bethel Baptist Church. In 1979, an attempted robbery occurred in their home in Detroit, and CL Franklin was shot twice. He was rushed to the hospital where he remained in a coma for five years until July 27, 1984, one week after being placed in Detroit’s New Light Nursing Home.
A photoshoot of Aretha Franklin with her father, CL Franklin, and younger sister, Carolyn Franklin.
2. Barbara Siggers Franklin- Aretha Franklin’s Mother Did Not Abandon Her
Aretha Franklin’s mother, Barbara Siggers, was a talented piano player and gospel singer. Siggers and CL Franklin were not married and had all of their kids out of wedlock. Despite what many people believe, Siggers did not abandon Franklin. Siggers moved to Detroit, Michigan with CL and their kids, but when their relationship wasn’t working out, Siggers took her son she had from a previous relationship and moved to Buffalo, New York. Aretha even recalled her mom visiting Detroit frequently.
Siggers passed away from a heart attack when Franklin was 10 years old.
A young Aretha Franklin singing and playing the piano in the recording studio.
3. Aretha Franklin Had Her First Child At Age 12
Aretha Franklin has four sons. Her first son, Clarence, named after her father, was born when she was 12 with a boy from her school. Franklin’s second son Edward was born in 1957 when Aretha was only 14. In September of 2010, Edward was attacked by three people at a gas station in Detroit, Michigan. Aretha Franklin’s third son, Ted White, Jr., was born in 1964 with her first husband, Theodore White. Franklin’s last son, Kecalf Cunningham, was born in 1970 with her then road manager, Ken Cunningham.
Aretha Franklin and Tito Jackson playing a board game while her son, Clarence, watches.
4. Aretha Franklin Has Been Married and Divorced Twice
Aretha Franklin was first married at the age of 19 to a man named Theodore ‘Ted’ White in 1961. He was her manager early on in her career. They were married for eight years, but after a difficult marriage full of domestic violence, it ended in 1968. In 1978, Aretha married Glynn Turman, an actor known from his role in The Wire. They were married for six years before getting divorced in 1984.
Franklin had planned to marry her lifelong companion, a firefighter named Willie Wilkerson, who she had met in the 1980s, but Franklin called the engagement off in 2012.
Aretha Franklin and her second husband, Glynn Truman, smiling for the camera.
5. From The 42 Studio Albums Released Came Many Successes For Aretha Franklin
With a net worth of $80 million, Aretha Franklin has had 20 number 1 singles, the most that any woman has had. The “Respect” singer has sold over 75 million records worldwide, and her first hit single was the song “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) in 1967. Also, in 1967, her first number one hit single, “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” were released. She first charted in 1961 and has won 18 Grammys from her 42 studio albums.
Franklin’s gospel-inspired studio cover version of Simon & Garfunkel 1964 song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” released in March 1971.