Aretha Franklin's ex-husband opens up about his final visit to singer

Ksenia Novikova
Aug 21, 2018
10:47 A.M.
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On Thursday morning, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away after battling with pancreatic cancer. However, before she died, her ex-husband Glynn Turman paid her a visit to say goodbye.


The actor opened up about his visit and the kind of relationship he shared with the legendary star. He also described the woman he got to know while married to her.

Turman felt Franklin fight to stay alive.

Glynn Turman, 71, visited Aretha Franklin, 76, in her final days at her home in Detroit where he gained closure. He shared that when he held her “frail arm” he could feel the strong pulse of the woman he called “a love of my life.”

“I was able to feel her pulse, which was strong. So she was fighting ’til the very end,” he said. “She’s always been a warrior — a strong, strong woman and a fighter. Her pulse told me that she was not in surrender mode. She was going to fight it ’til the end,” the actor added.


For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. During his visit, the musician was conscious but unable to communicate with Turman and Stevie Wonder.

The actor shared that “she did know that I was there.” Her acknowledgement allowed them “to feed off of that recognition, feed off of the moment of both sort of realizing that time was extremely precious at this time.”


How Turman met the Queen of Soul

The actor first met Franklin in Los Angeles, backstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during a performance by actor Ben Vereen. As he was walking around backstage he heard someone call out to him.

"Glynn Turman, my mother loves you!" the young man said. "I said 'Who's your mother?' He said, 'Aretha Franklin.' I said 'Whoa.'"

Marrying a legend

The pair married in 1978 and divorced in 1984 after separating in 1982, partly because they had difficulty maintaining a long-distance relationship. They didn’t have any children together but remained close.



Turman’s realization that he married the Queen of Soul

One day, he woke up in the middle of the night and realized his wife wasn't in bed.

"She was sitting at the piano, barefoot, cigarette hanging on the side of her mouth. In her nightgown. Playing this amazing music. Just amazing," he recalled.

"I started to say hey baby, come to bed,” but he stopped and sat down in the doorsill. “And that's really the first time it really dawned on me that my wife was Aretha Franklin!" the actor shared.


Who Franklin really was

Turman described his ex-wife as a funny person who could turn any situation into a joke. He also recalled that she was stubborn and when she set her mind to something; nothing would change her resolve.

“Women’s Rights Movement should have her name written all over. She just didn’t take tea for the fever, as the old folks would say,” the actor revealed.

Turman shared that he had gotten to know Franklin as more than just “an iconic singer, an iconic performer,” but as a mother, a wife, and someone’s lover.

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