Aretha Franklin is engaged to Willie Wilkerson


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Aretha Franklin is engaged to marry longtime friend and confidant William ‘Willie’ Wilkerson, with a Miami Beach wedding likely in the summer.

‘No, I’m not pregnant,’ the 69-year-old ‘Respect’ singer joked Monday in a statement announcing the engagement, which happened over the holidays.


The Queen of Soul has bounced back nicely after a health scare (she had extreme pain in her side) that included surgery in December 2010 and a number of canceled shows. ‘I had superb doctors and nurses who were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country,’ she said at the time.

At one point erroneous reports of pancreatic cancer circulated, but Franklin set the record straight last January: No cancer, no she’s not telling exactly what happened, but yes, the surgery added 15 to 20 years to her life.

Now that she’s lost 85 pounds and feels ‘fabulous,’ according to People, it’s time to bring on the wedding gown. She said she’s considering Vera Wang, Valentino and Donna Karan to design the dress.

It will be Franklin’s third marriage.


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— Christie D’Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.