She lifted our spirits with her soulful music about love but unfortunately, Franklin lived a life that was filled with unstable relationships.
Over 60 years, Americans heard songs of love and heartbreaks from the soulful singer Aretha Franklin. She ruled the sixties and seventies with legends like Sinatra and Nat King Cole and was hailed the "Queen of Soul." Her music touched the masses and made them believe in the purity of love and romance. Though she sang over and over again about love, the only thing she lacked in her life was love itself.
The iconic singer had a traumatizing childhood and struggled to find love in adulthood. From one broken relationship to another, Aretha Franklin passed away in August 2018, never having found the love of her life.
Though she kept her personal life very private, Franklin talked about her sorrows to her close female singers with whom she bonded quite well. Speaking about the same, Etta James had once said, “There was always an unspoken understanding between us... we’d be drawn to men, the wrong men, who weren’t in love with us, but were in love with who we were,” according to the Guardian.
Music had become an important part of Franklin's life at a very young age. Coming from a broken family, she had already undergone a lot even before becoming a teenager. The quiet and sad child who was scared by the divorce of her parents sang gospel songs at church. When Franklin was in her preteens, she met Ted White who soon became an important part of her life. After the release of her first album at the age of 14, Franklin married Ted.
The singer who had started her music journey had a tumultuous relationship with the man. "Ted White was a highly possessive husband and could be a scary character...He didn't hesitate slapping her around and didn't care who saw him do it," said Franklin's older sister, Erma quoted The List. The couple went on to have a child together but Franklin was lost in the pain of her troubled marriage.
Franklin tried to ease the pain of her marital problems by drinking heavily but stuck with her marriage even though she knew she was with the wrong man.
"She wanted the world to think she had a storybook marriage. She was having all those hits and making all that money. She was scared of rocking the boat, until one day the boat capsized and she nearly drowned," said sister-in-law Earline, who was married to her brother Cecil to Mirror Online. Soon, the couple divorced. Franklin's career had taken off and she had become a sensation in the country.
She had not given up her hopes in finding love and Franklin began dating her road manager, Ken Cunningham. After six years and two children, the couple broke off their relationship. In 1978, she entered into her second marriage with Glynn Turman but soon realized that they were not meant to be. Their difference did not allow them to remain in a long term marriage and the couple parted ways in 1984.
Despite her riches and glamourous lives, the legendary singer's personal life was tumbling down with one failed relationship followed by another. According to SDE, Franklin refused to believe her loveless life and started living a fantasy world. Years later, she got engaged again to her long term friend, Willie Wilkerson. But after their two engagements, the singer called their relationship off in 2012.
She lifted our spirits with her soulful voice through music that spoke to us more than mere words ever could but unfortunately, Franklin did not find it in her life.