Aretha Franklin's difficult life and times: from her caring father to drug and alcohol abuse

Rodolfo Vieira
Aug 17, 2018
07:13 A.M.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul music, didn't have an easy life considering that she had to face challenges such as violence, alcoholism and substance abuse.


The singer passed away this Thursday, August 16, 2018, at the age of 76, leaving a big void in the music industry, where she was regarded as an icon.

But, according to the Mirror, Aretha had to overcome many difficulties throughout her turbulent life, starting with her father, Clarence LaVaughan 'CL' Franklin.

The news outlet reported that Clarence, who was a prominent Baptist minister, allegedly held wild orgies at the church and that Aretha grew up in that shocking environment.

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Her mother died when she was only 10, so Aretha was very close to her father, and because of that, she was introduced to adulthood at a very early age.

The artist was 12 years old when she fell pregnant with her first child and had a second one two years later. Considering that she was still a child herself, her grandmother Rachel took responsibility for her sons.



By the age of 19, Aretha married Ted White Sr., her manager, who was not known for being a very nice man. Although it isn't certain, it is generally believed that he was the one who introduced Aretha to marijuana and alcohol.

The Queen of Soul always denied being an alcoholic, but she admitted being addicted to cigarettes back in the 90s. Although the couple seemed happy, even giving birth to another son, Ted Jr., there were rumors of domestic abuse.



According to Ruth Bowen, a friend, Aretha turned to alcohol and food to comfort herself and disguise the fact that her marriage hadn't come out of a fairytale.

The couple split in 1968 and, pregnant again, Aretha became involved with her road manager, Ken Cunningham, with whom she had Kecalf, another son, in 1970.



Despite having one of the greatest voices in the music industry, the late singer suffered from low self-esteem for a long time, believing that she wasn't good enough as an artist, as a mother and as a woman.

She also became overweight after she lost control of her love for food, but after a health scare in 2010, she changed her lifestyle and was able to lose 85 lbs.

All of Aretha's life adventures can be found within Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, a book written by her official biographer, David Ritz. Her death shook the world and several people have already paid tribute to Aretha, including former President of the U.S. Barack Obama.

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