Who was aretha franklin dating

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Franklin's new fiance is a former firefighter who she reportedly met more than 27 years ago while signing autographs in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

The pair struck up a friendship after Wilkerson asked the singer to sign the cast around his broken leg.

Different women took turns in raising Franklin and her siblings including their grandmother Rachel.

After the death of her mother, Aretha Franklin began learning to play the piano by ear and singing at New Bethel Baptist Church Detroit, where her father pastored.

It wasn’t just her health battles Aretha Franklin sought to keep out of the headlines.

The famously private singer, who died of pancreatic cancer on August 16 aged 76, was also coy about her long-time partner, the man she called her “forever friend,” William “Willie” Wilkerson.

Following her recovery, the singer of 1960s hits like Respect and Baby I Love You sang at her own 69th birthday party in March.

Franklin, who has won 18 Grammy awards, is one of the most successful singers in the history of popular music.

The cause of her illness was not disclosed but led to speculation that she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The queen of soul reportedly met the dashing former firefighter at an autograph-signing session in her hometown, Detroit, in the early 1980s.

The gregarious Wilkerson is said to have asked the star to sign the cast on his broken leg, sparking friendship which bloomed into romance.

Mere weeks after the upbeat wedding announcement, the pair cancelled plans.“Regretfully, To Our Friends and Supporters: Will and I have decided we were moving a little too fast, and there were a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly,” said Franklin in a statement.“There will be no wedding at this time.”Nonetheless, Wilkerson remained an important, albeit largely hidden, part of Franklin’s life until the end.

The singer’s biographer David Ritz believes Franklin’s fierce desire to guard her private life had its roots in her tumultuous early years.“She had a tough childhood,” Ritz told magazine of his subject, whose first children were born when she was 12 and 14 (Franklin never publicly confirmed the identities of the fathers).

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