What an amazing love story! After a whopping 27 years together, powerhouse diva Aretha Franklin and boyfriend Willie Wilkerson will be tying the knot next summer. Get the details of their relationship below. Congrats you two!
Aretha met Willie almost 27 years ago while he was a firefighter in her hometown of Detroit. He had broken his leg while on the line of duty and when he asked Aretha for an autograph, she signed his cast, ‘Don’t jump to it’. During that time she was enjoying the success of a single by the same name ‘Jump To It’. The two began to develop a great friendship and two years later he snagged the cover of an April 1987 issue of Jet with her. The caption read, ‘Aretha Franklin finds happiness with a new love In her Life’. In the issue, she gushed over Willie while pointing out that their relationship flourished because he was able to distinguish the celebrity from the ‘Natural Woman’ who likes to chill in front of the television and watch soap operas.
“It can be a problem for women in the business world. To some men, it’s very intimidating, especially if most of the time they see you on TV or the cover of JET or cover of Ebony. They only see the professional side. I’m glad he could make the distinction between the lady and the artist because a lot of men can’t.”
“I know who she is and I have all the respect in the world for what she’s accomplished but it’s still the lady that counts. She’s a very warm, loving person.”