The Truth About Aretha Franklin’s Ex Husbands

Aretha Franklin may be known as the queen of soul, but the icon, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2018, per Rolling Stone, was also a queen of hearts to those who knew her best. With the release of the eight-part-mini-series about her life, Genius: Aretha, on National Geographic, there has been an uptake in interest about the legend’s love life. However, the show, which premiered on March 21, 2021, and thus after available for streaming on Hulu, was slammed for not having the approval or input of Franklin’s relatives.

“As the immediate family, we feel that it’s important to be involved with any biopic of my grandma’s life, as it’s hard to get an accurate depiction of anyone’s life without speaking to the ones closest to them,” Franklin’s granddaughter, Grace Franklin, said on TikTok prior to the release of the series. “During the process of writing, directing, and filming this movie, we’ve reached out to Genius as a family on multiple occasions where we have been disrespected and told we will not be worked with. As the immediate family — emphasis on immediate — we do not support this film and we ask that you also do not support this film, as we feel extremely disrespected, and we feel there will be many inaccuracies about my grandmother’s life.”

Despite the disconnect between Franklin’s family and producers, the show did its best to portray the many sides of the legend. Keep scrolling for more details about her ex-husbands.

Aretha Franklin's love life was complicated

Although there may be some discrepancies between Aretha Franklin’s family and the producers of Genius: Aretha, the series didn’t hold back when discussing her tumultuous upbringing and complicated love life. The songstress, who had her first child at only the age of 12 and her second at 14, per SmoothRadio.com, was married twice, first to Ted White in 1961. She was 19 at the time they wed and White went on to be Franklin’s manager until 1969 when the pair went their separate ways. According to those who knew the couple best, White was described as a “shady” character and was allegedly abusive to the songstress. They shared one child together, Ted White Jr., marking baby No. 3 for the artist, before she welcomed baby No. 4 with road manager Ken Cunningham in 1970.

Franklin later tied the knot for the second time in 1978 to Glynn Turman, however, they split up in 1984, claiming long-distance put a wedge in their relationship. Despite their breakup, Turman, who still works as an actor, and Franklin stayed in touch and he was by her bedside in her final days, according to Distractify. It sounds like Franklin’s love life made for some great material.

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