Aretha Franklin’s Husbands, Ted White & Glynn Turman, Were Very Different

The brand new Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, which stars Jennifer Hudson because the Queen of Soul, covers a myriad of essential occasions in the singer-songwriter’s life — together with her romantic relationships. The movie depicts her first marriage to Ted White (Marlon Wayans), who was additionally her supervisor for a time, and her relationship with Ken Cunningham (Albert Jones), whom she by no means married however had a toddler with.

White and Cunningham weren’t Franklin’s solely companions, nonetheless: Franklin had a number of relationships that had an impression on her, together with a decades-long romance with a person who was referred to as her “perpetually good friend.” Nonetheless, Franklin rarely spoke about her relationship status or personal life, so the small print of her marriages and relationships are few and much between. Under, what we do learn about Franklin’s marriages and longtime loves.

Aretha Franklin’s first marriage was to Ted White.

File producer Jerry Wexler, Franklin, and White.Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Pictures

Franklin and White married in 1961 — when she was 19 and he was reportedly 30 — after a couple of months of courting. White turned her supervisor, and has writing and cowriting credit on a number of of Franklin’s songs, together with “(Candy Candy Child) Since You’ve got Been Gone.” They separated in 1968 and divorced in 1969.

That they had one little one, Ted White Jr., who would carry out with Franklin underneath the stage identify “Teddy Richards.” He was her third little one (she had two sons from a childhood relationship).

White was abusive to Franklin, subjecting her to “ugly bodily fights” that left her with “seen bruises.” In 1968, a friend told Time, “I don’t assume she’s completely satisfied. Someone else is making her sing the blues.” In the identical article, White was described as “a former dabbler in Detroit actual property and a street-corner wheeler-dealer.”

Franklin didn’t focus on the connection publicly, however followers have theorized that Franklin’s tune “I Never Loved a Man The Way I Loved You” was about White, significantly the lyrics “You’re no good, heartbreaker / You’re a liar and also you’re a cheat / I don’t know why I allow you to do these items to me / My pals preserve telling me that you just ain’t no good / However oh, they don’t know that I’d depart you if I may … I ain’t by no means cherished a person the way in which that I like you.”

She married Glenn Turman in 1978.

Afro Newspaper/Gado/Archive Pictures/Getty Pictures

Franklin met Turman, an actor, at a benefit in 1977; the next yr, they have been married at her father’s church. Turman had three youngsters from a earlier marriage, and Franklin turned their stepmother.

Franklin’s sister Erma instructed David Ritz, the writer of the biography Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, that the connection “was billed as the right Hollywood relationship. A good-looking, dashing, and profitable actor marries a good looking, glamorous, and profitable singer.” Erma added, “After her fairy story wedding ceremony and her monumental effort to color an ideal image in all of the magazines, the tip of this relationship was particularly painful.”

Franklin and Turman, who had no youngsters collectively, separated in 1982 and divorced in 1984. However, Turman says the 2 remained pals, and would converse on the cellphone sometimes. “Folks consider her typically as an iconic singer, an iconic performer, however they don’t essentially keep in mind that she was a mom and a spouse and somebody’s lover,” he stated. “There was that half that I’m glad I obtained to learn about.”

Turman remarried however Franklin didn’t. The actor referred to as Franklin “a love of my life” and visited her before she died in 2018.

Franklin had different relationships that performed a essential function in her life.

Michael Stewart/WireImage/Getty Pictures

The daddy of Franklin’s first two sons — who have been born when she was 12 and 14 — was reportedly Edward Jordan Sr., in keeping with a handwritten will discovered after Franklin’s demise. Sources referred to as him a “participant” and he or she wrote that he “by no means made any contribution” to her sons’ welfare.

Franklin had a fourth little one, born in 1970, along with her her supervisor Ken Cunningham. Franklin and Cunningham lived collectively however reportedly by no means married due to Franklin’s contentious break up with White and her hesitance to get married once more. “He helped Aretha get it collectively. He helped her cease ingesting,” Brenda Franklin-Corbett, Franklin’s cousin and backup singer, instructed Ritz. “That was an enormous blessing. Ken was additionally serious-minded about artwork and books and he cherished every kind of music. He got here alongside at simply the suitable time. Aretha wanted a person who may level her in a optimistic path.”

Franklin additionally had a 30-year romance with Willie Wilkerson, a former firefighter who met the singer within the Nineteen Eighties. They often opened up about their relationship, and Franklin referred to as them a “fiery match.” The 2 confirmed an engagement in 2012, however referred to as it off a couple of weeks later. “Regretfully, To Our Mates and Supporters: Will and I’ve determined we have been transferring slightly too quick, and there have been a variety of issues that had not been thought by means of totally,” she stated. “There will likely be no wedding ceremony right now.”

Franklin’s “perpetually good friend” died of COVID-19 in 2020. On the time of his passing, Wilkerson’s daughter said, “She was a really giant a part of his life … They cherished one another. They have been like greatest pals. They referred to as one another sweetie. She referred to as him on a regular basis. There’s nothing he would not do for her. That they had a particular relationship.” | Aretha Franklin’s Husbands, Ted White & Glynn Turman, Have been Very Totally different


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