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Aretha Franklin Never Married Again after Her Son Introduced Her to Her Ex-husband

Junie Sihlangu
Jan 18, 2022
11:00 A.M.
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Aretha Franklin married her husband, Glynn Turman, before announcing the news during one of her concerts. However, their marriage ended painfully, and she never remarried.

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ARETHA'S MARRIAGE

Aretha Franklin and actor Glynn Turman both had failed marriages when they started falling in love. The pair were wary of marriage at that point, but Glynn couldn't deny his feelings and eventually proposed to the singer.

The proposal occurred in a motel in rural Texas while Franklin was visiting Glynn while shooting a television movie. The legendary singer said yes to the proposal, and they tied the knot on April 11, 1978.

Aretha Franklin during the "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" premiere concert at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2017, in New York City, and she with her husband Glynn Turman relaxed at home on January 17, 1981 | Photos: Theo Wargo & © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG/Getty Images

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Her minister and father, C. L. Franklin, performed the star's televised marriage ceremony at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church. The venue was packed on the day, and the bride wore a gown decorated with 7,000 pearls.

She had twelve bridesmaids, while Glynn also had the same amount of groomsmen. The Four Tops sang "Isn't She Lovely?" while her sister, Carolyn, and cousin Brenda, sang solos.

Aretha Franklin during rehearsals for the Soul Together show in Madison Square Garden, New York City, on June 28, 1968 | Photo: Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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MOVING IN WITH FRANKLIN

After getting married, the "Different World" star and his three children moved in with Aretha and her son, Kecalf Cunningham, but she also had three more sons, Clarence Franklin, Ted White Jr., and Edward Franklin. Her home featured a basketball court and a swimming pool.

The singer also boasted acoustic and electronic pianos, video cassette players, and television sets. The children also traveled with Glynn to Europe or events like the Grammy Awards.

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DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PAIR

Although Aretha loved Glynn, the pair had several differences between them. For instance, the musician smoked, and her husband didn't. Glynn wished his wife wasn't a smoker.

The actor was a 90 percent committed vegetarian while Aretha loved her meat. Glynn was a simple man who drove a small Japanese station wagon; while his wife rode around in a chauffeured limousine.

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When asked if they ever argued, the actor smiled and admitted that they did get into squabbles once in a while. Aretha quickly jumped in to deny the claims and Glynn laughed as he felt her retort solidified his statement.

THE DIVORCE

Sadly, Aretha's marriage to the actor wouldn't last forever. Hollywood thought the couple had the best relationship ever, with both stars having success in their careers.

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In "Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin," Aretha's late sister, Erma Franklin, described Glynn as a handsome and dashing man who got to marry a glamorous and beautiful singer. After the fairytale wedding, Aretha did all she could to pretend that her marriage was perfect in front of the media.

However, Erma revealed that the end of the couple's relationship was quite painful. The "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman" vocalist separated from her second husband in 1982 before divorcing two years later.

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NEVER REMARRIED

Aretha and Glynn never had children together, and after their marriage ended, she never married again. The end of their marriage was partially caused by the strain of trying to maintain a long-distance relationship.

While married to the actor, Aretha became the stepmother of his three children from his previous marriage. She was also a mother to one child, Kecalf, born out of a years-long relationship with her then-road manager, Ken Cunningham.

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For his part, Glynn remarried once more in 1992 to Jo-Ann Allen, and he and Aretha remained good friends until her death. Reports previously stated that the former couple would often speak on the phone, mainly about a film she was working on.

HOW GLYNN GOT TO KNOW ARETHA

However, some people aren't aware that the musician and the actor were introduced by her son. Glynn and Aretha initially met backstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during a Ben Vereen show.

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One of the singer's sons introduced them when he caught Glynn's attention by announcing that his mother loved him. Glynn asked who the boy's mother was and was shocked when he found out it was Aretha.

FRANKLIN'S DEATH

During Aretha's final days in the world, her ex-husband managed to visit her a day before her death. Speaking to People, Glynn revealed that he got to feel his former wife's pulse while holding her frail arm.

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The actor described her as "a love of my life." Glynn said Aretha's pulse had been strong, and she fought to stay alive until her death of pancreatic cancer at age 76 on the morning of August 16, 2018.

He [Lou Gossett Jr.] also noted how very close the pair [Aretha Franklin and Glynn Turman] was as friends and he felt that was an indication that the couple would have a long-term relationship.

The actor described his late friend as a strong woman, a warrior, and a fighter. During his visit, Aretha was able to see Glynn (and fellow singer Stevie Wonder) because she was conscious but unable to communicate.

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Glynn also confirmed that his ex-wife was aware that they were with her during her last days. The star described the moment as precious because it allowed them full closure.

HISTORY BETWEEN FRANKLIN & TURMAN

The "A Raisin in the Sun" Broadway actor got to meet Aretha for the first time in 1977 at a benefit for children in need in Los Angeles. During a performance at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, the singer announced her marriage to Glynn.

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She introduced him to the crowd and described herself as Mrs. Aretha Franklin Turman before clapping her hand over her mouth in mock horror. At that point, Glynn had been her husband for a while.

HOW THE COUPLE WAS SEEN

Glynn's longtime friend and fellow actor, Lou Gossett Jr., only had good things to say about the former couple. He described them as two halves of a circle while noting how Aretha had soul and guts.

On the other hand, Gossett Jr. felt his friend was disciplined with an artistic temperament. He also noted how very close the pair was as friends, and he felt that was an indication that the couple would have a long-term relationship.

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