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Aretha Franklin calls off wedding to Willie Wilkerson

January 23, 2012 |  4:46 pm

Aretha Franklin with Willie WilkersonAretha Franklin's longtime fans were taken aback when the soul singer announced just after New Year's that over the holidays she'd gotten engaged to be married to longtime companion William "Willie" Wilkerson. Well, those with concerns need not worry about buying wedding gifts just yet — the 69-year-old "Respect" singer has put the brakes on her wedding, which was to have taken place sometime in the summer.

In a statement on her Facebook page, Franklin explained the situation like this: "Will and I have decided we were moving a little too fast, and there were a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly. There will be no wedding at this time. We will not comment on it any further because of the very personal and sensitive nature of it. We appreciate all of the many well wishes from friends."

Just a few weeks ago, Franklin, who suffered serious (but unrevealed) health problems in 2010, was giddily discussing her recent weight loss of 85 pounds and her plans to be fitted for a wedding dress by Vera Wang, Valentino or Donna Karan.

It's unclear if longtime friends Franklin and Wilkerson have called off only the wedding or their entire significant-other relationship, but something tells us that after today's announcement, Wang, Valentino and Karan shouldn't waste a lot of time waiting by the phone.


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Photo: Aretha Franklin with William Wilkerson at the after-party for the BET Honors 2012 on Jan. 13. Photo credit: Bennett Raglin / Getty Images.