How Many Kids Did Aretha Franklin Have: A Complete Guide

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was not only known for her incredible voice and unforgettable music, but also for her big and loving family. Throughout her life, she had a total of four children from different marriages and relationships, and each one of them has their own unique story. However, despite her fame and popularity, many are still left wondering how many kids Aretha Franklin actually had. In this guide, we will delve deep into the life of Aretha Franklin and uncover the details about her children. From their birth to personal lives, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the Queen of Soul’s offspring and unravel some of the mysteries surrounding her family.


Aretha Franklin was an iconic American singer, songwriter, and pianist known for her soulful voice and powerful performances. Throughout her career, she won numerous awards and accolades, including 18 Grammy Awards, and sold more than 75 million records worldwide. But despite her immense success, Aretha Franklin was also a devoted mother with a strong commitment to family values.

In this article, we will explore the personal life of Aretha Franklin with a focus on her children and family. We will delve into her early life, marriages, and partnerships, as well as her legacy and impact on future generations. Through this comprehensive guide, we hope to provide readers with a deeper understanding of this legendary artist and her enduring legacy.

First, we will take a closer look at Aretha Franklin’s childhood and family background, which played an instrumental role in shaping her character and values. We will then examine her marriages and partnerships, including her two marriages and other relationships. Finally, we will turn our attention to her children, exploring their birth, personal lives, and contributions to society.

Overall, this introduction sets the stage for what promises to be an informative and engaging exploration of the personal life of one of the greatest musicians of all time. By examining the role that family played in Aretha Franklin’s life, we can gain valuable insights into her motivations and inspirations, and better understand the person behind the music.

Early Life of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s Childhood

Aretha Franklin’s Childhood

Aretha Franklin, one of the greatest singers of all time, was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her parents were Barbara Siggers Franklin and Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, who was also known as C.L. Franklin. C.L. Franklin was a prominent Baptist minister who preached at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.

Growing up, Aretha Franklin was exposed to music from an early age. Her father was a gospel singer and encouraged her to sing in the church choir. By the age of ten, she was already performing in her father’s church, and by the time she was a teenager, she was recording gospel music.

Despite her musical talent, Aretha Franklin’s childhood was not always easy. Her mother left the family when she was just six years old, and her father was often absent due to his preaching engagements. She was raised mainly by her grandmother and aunt. Aretha’s childhood was also marked by tragedy when her mother died when she was just ten years old.

Despite these challenges, Aretha Franklin’s family played an important role in shaping her career. In addition to her father’s influence, her sisters Erma and Carolyn were also talented musicians who provided inspiration and support. Together, they formed a singing group called The Franklin Sisters and performed at various events around Detroit.

Overall, Aretha Franklin’s childhood was characterized by a love of music, strong family ties, and a resilience that would serve her well in her later career. Her upbringing helped to shape her into the amazing artist that she became and her talent has inspired generations of musicians.

Aretha Franklin’s Parents

Aretha Franklin’s parents played a crucial role in shaping her life and career. Her father, Rev. Clarence LaVaughn “C.L.” Franklin, was a Baptist minister and a civil rights activist. He was known for his powerful preaching style and his ability to inspire and motivate people. Aretha’s mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, was an accomplished pianist and vocalist who had a strong influence on her daughter’s musical development.

Rev. C.L. Franklin was born on January 22, 1915, in Sunflower County, Mississippi. His family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when he was a child. He began preaching at the age of 16 and quickly gained a reputation for his dynamic sermons. In 1946, he became the pastor of the New Salem Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where he remained until his death in 1984.

Barbara Siggers Franklin was born on April 1, 1917, in Shelby, Mississippi. She was raised in Buffalo, New York, and attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, where she studied piano and voice. After marrying Rev. C.L. Franklin in 1934, she served as the musician and director of music at his church.

Aretha grew up in a household that was steeped in music and religion. She began singing in her father’s church at a young age and quickly developed a talent for performing. Her mother’s musical background provided her with a solid foundation in piano and vocal technique, while her father’s preaching style gave her a sense of drama and intensity that would become a hallmark of her own performances.

Despite their influence on her career, Aretha’s relationship with her parents was not always easy. Her father was known for his infidelity and his contentious relationships with other civil rights leaders, while her mother suffered from mental health issues and died when Aretha was only 10 years old.

Nonetheless, the legacy of Rev. C.L. Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin lives on through their daughter’s music and the example they set as leaders in their community. Their dedication to social justice and their commitment to excellence in music continue to inspire musicians and activists around the world.

Aretha Franklin’s Marriages and Partnerships

The First Marriage of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s first marriage was to her manager, Ted White. The couple tied the knot in 1961, when Franklin was just 19 years old. At the time, White was already a well-known figure in the music industry and had been managing Franklin’s career for some time.

Their relationship started off strong, with White serving as Franklin’s manager and helping her achieve major success in the music industry. However, as time went on, their marriage began to suffer due to White’s controlling behavior and alleged abusive tendencies.

Despite their troubles, Franklin and White remained married for several years before ultimately divorcing in 1969. The divorce was reportedly contentious, with both parties making accusations of infidelity and abuse.

In later interviews, Franklin spoke candidly about her first marriage and the challenges she faced while married to White. She credited the experience with teaching her valuable lessons about love and relationships.

Overall, Franklin’s first marriage to Ted White was a tumultuous and difficult period in her life. While it may have ended in divorce, it also helped shape who she was as an artist and as a person, ultimately leading her to become one of the most iconic musicians of all time.

The Second Marriage of Aretha Franklin

The Second Marriage of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin married her second husband, Glynn Turman, on April 11, 1978. Turman was an American actor known for his roles in films such as “Cooley High” and “A Different World.” He was also a playwright and director.

Franklin and Turman met in the mid-70s when he was performing in a Broadway play called “A Raisin in the Sun.” The two began dating shortly after and decided to tie the knot in a private ceremony in Los Angeles.

The marriage between Franklin and Turman lasted for six years, until they filed for divorce in 1982. The reasons for their divorce are not entirely clear, but it has been reported that their busy schedules and conflicting work priorities contributed to the breakdown of their relationship.

Despite the end of their marriage, Franklin and Turman remained on good terms and continued to support each other’s careers. In fact, Turman directed a music video for Franklin’s hit song “Freeway of Love” in 1985.

In an interview with Jet magazine in 1983, Franklin opened up about her divorce from Turman, saying, “It was just time to move on. We’re still friends, it’s just that things didn’t work out.”

Overall, while Aretha Franklin’s second marriage to Glynn Turman ultimately ended in divorce, the two maintained a respectful and supportive relationship with each other following their split.

Other Relationships of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s romantic life was not just limited to her marriages. The Queen of Soul had several other relationships throughout her life, including partnerships, fiancées, and boyfriends. Let’s take a closer look at some of these relationships.

One of Aretha Franklin’s well-known relationships was with Ken Cunningham, who was a road manager for the singer. Although they were never engaged or married, they had a long-lasting relationship. During that time, Cunningham was also involved in managing Franklin’s business affairs and recording sessions.

Another notable relationship of Aretha Franklin was with Willie Wilkerson. In 2012, the singer announced that she and Wilkerson were engaged to be married. However, the wedding was called off just a few weeks later due to undisclosed reasons. Despite the sudden cancellation of the wedding, Franklin and Wilkerson remained friends until the end of her life.

Franklin’s romantic life also included several boyfriends, including actors Glynn Turman and William Wilkerson Jr., and businessman John McArn. Turman, who was famously known for his roles in “A Different World” and “The Wire,” was married to Franklin from 1978 to 1984. Wilkerson Jr., on the other hand, was an attorney whom Franklin dated before she met Ken Cunningham. McArn, a Detroit businessman, was in a short-term relationship with Franklin in the 1990s.

In conclusion, Aretha Franklin’s romantic life was filled with various partnerships, fiancées, and boyfriends. These relationships may have been brief, but they were significant enough to impact her life. They also show us a more personal side of the legendary singer beyond her music and achievements.

Aretha Franklin’s Children

Clarence Franklin

Clarence Franklin

Clarence Franklin was the second child and eldest son of Aretha Franklin. He was born on January 28, 1955, in Detroit, Michigan. Like his mother, he had a natural talent for music and began singing at an early age. He even performed with his mother on several occasions.

However, despite being born into a family of musicians, Clarence struggled with addiction and legal issues throughout his life. In 1978, he was convicted of attempted murder after shooting his girlfriend during an argument. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison but was released after serving only eight years.

After his release, Clarence continued to struggle with addiction and was in and out of rehab several times. He eventually got clean and started a career as a singer, performing under the stage name “C.L. Franklin II”. He released several gospel albums and even performed with his mother on her 1998 album, “A Rose is Still a Rose”.

Sadly, Clarence passed away on July 27, 2018, at the age of 63. His death was attributed to complications from cancer.

Despite his struggles, Clarence Franklin will always be remembered as a talented musician and the beloved son of one of the greatest singers of all time.

Edward Franklin

Edward Franklin: A Glimpse into the Life of Aretha’s Second Son

Edward Franklin is the second son of legendary singer Aretha Franklin. He was born on January 22, 1957, in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Like his mother and siblings, Edward grew up surrounded by music and was exposed to the world of entertainment from a young age.

Despite being born into the spotlight, Edward has kept a relatively low profile throughout his life. He has not pursued a career in music like his older brother Clarence or younger half-brother Kecalf. Instead, he has chosen to live a more private life away from the public eye.

While not much is known about Edward’s personal life, it is known that he has four children – two sons and two daughters. He has been married to his wife for several years and the couple has managed to keep their relationship out of the limelight.

Although Edward has not inherited the musical talent of his mother, he remains an important part of the extended Franklin family. He has shown support for his siblings and their careers over the years and has helped preserve the legacy of his famous mother.

In conclusion, while Edward Franklin may not be a household name, he has played an important role in the life of his family and continues to be a supportive member of the Franklin clan.

Ted White Jr.

Ted White Jr.

Ted White Jr. is one of the four children of legendary singer, Aretha Franklin, and her first husband, Ted White Sr. He was born in 1964, a few years after his parents got married.

Not much is known about Ted White Jr.’s personal life, as he has kept a low profile throughout the years. However, it is believed that he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a professional musician. In fact, he reportedly played drums for his mother during some of her live performances.

It’s worth noting that Ted White Jr.’s parents had a tumultuous relationship, which ultimately led to their divorce in 1969. Aretha Franklin has spoken openly about the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, and how it impacted her personal and professional life.

Despite the hardships that his parents faced, Ted White Jr. seems to have remained close to his mother over the years. In fact, when Aretha Franklin passed away in August 2018, Ted Jr. was one of the family members who were present by her side.

In conclusion, while there isn’t a lot of public information available about Ted White Jr.’s personal life, it’s clear that he inherited his family’s musical genes and has made a name for himself in the music industry. His bond with his mother, despite the challenges they faced as a family, speaks to the resilience and strength that runs in the Franklin bloodline.

Kecalf Cunningham

Kecalf Cunningham

Kecalf Cunningham is the youngest son of legendary singer Aretha Franklin. He was born on April 16, 1970, to Aretha and her then-husband Ken Cunningham. Kecalf’s birth was a joyous occasion for Aretha, who was already a mother of three at the time.

Despite being the youngest of Aretha’s children, Kecalf has always been close to his mother. In fact, he grew up in a musical household and often attended his mother’s concerts and events. Aretha even had Kecalf perform with her on stage when he was just six years old!

As Kecalf got older, he began to explore his own musical talents. He became a rapper and released several songs under the name KPoint. However, Kecalf’s passion for music didn’t stop there. He also worked behind the scenes in the industry, producing and managing other artists.

In terms of his personal life, Kecalf has kept a relatively low profile. He has stayed out of the spotlight compared to some of his siblings, which may be due to his focus on his career. However, we do know that he is married and has children of his own.

Overall, Kecalf Cunningham may not be as well-known as some of Aretha’s other children, but he has certainly made a name for himself in the music industry. His talent and dedication to his craft have undoubtedly impressed his legendary mother, and he continues to carry on her legacy in his own unique way.

Other Children

Other Children

Apart from her four sons, Aretha Franklin had two other children who were born out of wedlock. Their names are unknown because Aretha never publicly acknowledged them. However, their existence was revealed after her death in August 2018.

It is believed that one of the children was born in the late 1950s or early 1960s when Aretha was around 14 or 15 years old. The identity of the father has not been confirmed, but it is rumored to be either a schoolmate or a family member.

The second child was reportedly born in the mid-1960s and the father is said to have been a well-known singer and producer. Again, this has not been confirmed by Aretha or any member of her family.

Despite the lack of information, it is clear that these children were a part of Aretha’s family and therefore, her legacy. Their descendants are also a part of her extended family and may be entitled to certain legal rights and benefits.

In conclusion, while we may not know much about Aretha Franklin’s other children, it is important to acknowledge their existence and their place in her family history. They are a reminder that even legends like Aretha Franklin have personal lives that are full of complexities and mysteries.



Aretha Franklin was a legendary soul singer and songwriter who left behind an impressive legacy. Her impact on the music industry and her influence on generations of singers cannot be overstated. However, beyond her incredible talent, Aretha Franklin also had a strong familial bond that played a significant role in shaping her life and career.

Family was always important to Aretha Franklin, and this is evident in the close relationships she maintained with her siblings and children throughout her life. She was a devoted mother to her four sons, Clarence, Edward, Ted Jr., and Kecalf, and took great pride in their achievements.

Moreover, Aretha Franklin’s legacy extends far beyond her own family. Her music has been enjoyed by millions, and she paved the way for countless other artists to follow in her footsteps. She was also a dedicated civil rights activist and used her platform to fight for equality and justice.

In conclusion, Aretha Franklin’s impact on the world goes beyond her incredible voice and music. Her dedication to family and her fight for social justice have left a lasting impression on those who knew her and on future generations to come. We can all learn from her commitment to both her art and her principles and strive to make a similar impact in our own lives.
Aretha Franklin was a legendary singer who had an eventful life, including marriages, relationships, and motherhood. She had four children from different partners, all of whom have pursued their careers in the music industry to some extent. Her children are not just a footnote to her biography but rather a testament to her legacy as a mother and musician.

The story of Aretha Franklin’s children is also a reminder of the importance of family, love, and resilience. Despite facing many challenges in her personal life, she managed to raise her children with love and care. Her children have followed in her footsteps and are carrying on her musical legacy.

Overall, the life of Aretha Franklin and her children show us that talent, hard work, and dedication can take you far in life. They remind us that family support, love, and guidance are essential for success and happiness. We should honor the memory of Aretha Franklin and her children by cherishing our loved ones, following our dreams, and leaving a positive impact on the world.

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