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Ted White: Aretha Franklin’s first husband was her manager in ’60s

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Aretha Franklin had married the much older Ted White in 1961, despite strong objections from her father.

Ted White was her manager in the ’60s. Aretha Franklin’s third child, Ted White Jr., was born in 1964. Today he is known as Teddy Richards and is a professional musician, often playing guitar in his mother’s band.

After a contentious marriage that involved domestic violence, Aretha Franklin divorced Ted White in 1969.


According to people who worked with Aretha Franklin during this period, Ted White had no prior management experience before becoming her manager. She was to spend most of the decade in the middle of a tug-of-war between Columbia Records and her husband. To this day, Aretha Franklin refuses to discuss any aspect of her relationship with Ted White. She also refuses to speak to him. They have had only two conversations since their divorce in 1969.

Aretha Franklin had married the much older Ted White in 1961, despite strong objections from her father

Aretha Franklin had married the much older Ted White in 1961, despite strong objections from her father (photo Rancurel)

 

Aretha Franklin married actor Glynn Turman on April 11, 1978, at her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church. She subsequently became a stepmother to Glynn Turman’s three children. They split in late 1982 and officially divorced in early 1984.

In 2012, Aretha Franklin again announced plans to walk down the aisle with her longtime companion Willie Wilkerson. Within several weeks of the announcement, Aretha Franklin called the wedding off.