The Queen of Soul is portrayed by Jennifer Hudson in the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, which touches on many significant aspects of the singer’s life, especially her personal partnerships. Her first marriage to Ted White Marlon Wayans, who’s served as both her manager and husband for a time, and her romance with Ken Cunningham Albert Jones, with whom she never wed but bore a kid, are both depicted in the film.
Although White and Cunningham were significant to Franklin, they weren’t the only ones. She also spent decades dating a man who was referred to be her “forever pal.” However, Franklin hardly ever discussed her personal or romantic relationships, thus nothing is known about them. The following is a list of what is known regarding Franklin’s marriages and long-term relationships.
Following a brief courtship, Franklin and White were wed in 1961. She was 19 and he was 30 at the time. White looked after Franklin while also writing several of her songs, including “Sweet Sweet Baby Since You’ve Been Gone.” They got divorced in 1969 after divorcing in 1968.
Ted White Jr., their only child, performed with Franklin under the alias “Teddy Richards.” The third boy she had was him (she had two sons from a childhood relationship).
White mistreated Franklin, engaging in “ugly physical battles” that left noticeable marks on her body. In 1968, a friend told Time, “I don’t think she’s happy.” Due to someone else, she is singing the blues. White was described as “a previous street-corner wheeler-dealer who used to toy around with Detroit real estate” in the same piece.
Such as lyrics like “You’re no good, heartbreaker/You’re a liar and a cheat/I don’t know why I let you choose these things to myself friends constantly tell me that you ain’t no good/But oh, they don’t know that I’d leave you if I could,” fans believe that Franklin’s song “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You” was written about White. I’ve never had feelings for a man like this.
She married Glenn Turman in 1978.
In 1977, Franklin and actor Turman met at a charity event. The next year, they were wed in her father’s church. The three kids from Turman’s first marriage were raised by Franklin.
David Ritz wrote The Life of Aretha Franklin, a biography of the singer. The romance “was billed as the ultimate Hollywood relationship,” Franklin’s sister Erma told Ritz. A famous, gorgeous, and successful singer marries an attractive, charming, and successful actor. Erma continued, “After her fairy tale marriage and all the effort she did to make it look beautiful in all the media, the termination of this romance stung even more.”
1982 saw the breakup of Franklin and Turman, and 1984 saw their divorce. They never had any kids together. However, according to Turman, they remained friends and occasionally spoke on the phone. People frequently consider her to be a legendary singer or performer, but they occasionally forget that she’s also a mother, a wife, and someone’s lover. There was that portion, which I’m delighted I discovered.
Franklin did not remarry, but Turman did. When the actor visited Franklin prior to her passing in 2018, he referred to her as “the love of my life.”
Franklin’s first two sons, who were born when she was twelve and fourteen, may have been the product of Edward Jordan Sr. A written will that was discovered after Franklin’s passing states this. She said that he “never done anything” for the welfare of her sons despite reports that he was a “player” and a “player.”
In 1970, Franklin and her manager Ken Cunningham welcomed their fourth child. Franklin and Cunningham cohabited, but it’s reported that because Franklin’s divorce from White was so painful, she didn’t want to get married again, and they never did get married. He assisted Aretha in getting things back on course. He assisted her in quitting drinking, according to Franklin’s cousin and backing singer Brenda Franklin-Corbett. “What a wonderful gift. Ken enjoyed all types of music and took both reading and art very seriously. He arrived at the appropriate moment. Aretha needed a man to guide her in the right direction.
Franklin’s “friend for life” passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. When Wilkerson passed away, his daughter remarked, “She was a very major part of his life… They had fallen in love. They appeared to be great buddies. They addressed one other as “sweetie.” She called him frequently. For her, he would do everything. They shared a strong connection.