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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 24 May, 2019
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I Knew You Were Waiting For Me: singer Aretha Franklin is engaged at 69

The Grammy-winning singer joked that she wasn’t pregnant.

Franklin performing last October.
Franklin performing last October.
Image: Leandro Justen/AP/Press Association Images

SOUL SINGER ARETHA Franklin is engaged to longtime friend William “Willie” Wilkerson.

The Grammy-winning singer told The Associated Press in a statement yesterday that she and Wilkerson are considering a summer wedding, perhaps in Miami Beach, Florida.

The Queen of Soul wants to follow the ceremony with a reception on a private yacht. The 69-year-old jokes: “No, I’m not pregnant. LOL”

Franklin and Wilkerson became engaged over the holidays. She is considering Vera Wang, Valentino and Donna Karan to design her dress.

Franklin has been married twice before. First to Ted White in 1961. He became her personal manager before the couple divorced in 1969. She then married actor Glynn Turman in 1978 before the couple then divorced six years later in 1984. She has four children in total.

Franklin, who sang at the inauguration of Barack Obama as US president in 2009, returned to performing in May of last year after being admitted to hospital for an undisclosed illness that was rumoured to be cancer although she denied this.

- additional reporting from AP

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Hugh O'Connell

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