Go Head Aretha Franklin!

They say it’s never too late to say ‘I do’ and at 69 years old, Aretha Franklin is finally ready to walk down the aisle.  She announced today that she would be getting married to her ‘forever friend’ Willie Wilkerson next Summer in a wedding on Miami Beach. ‘No, I’m not pregnant’ she joked as she delivered the news.

Their love story is sweet! 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.

Willie added,

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.

And 25 years after their JET cover story they still remain great friends and are getting hitch. Congrats!

Take a walk down memory lane with Aretha and Willie