ARETHA FRANKLIN NUPS BUSTER

Published on: February 6, 2012
Photography by: Getty
ARETHA FRANKLIN NUPS BUSTER

When it comes to ARETHA FRANKLIN, The ENQUIRER has earned more than “just a little bit -- “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”!

Days after we reported that an ugly family feud had erupted following the Queen of Soul’s announcement about plans to wed her longtime boyfriend, Aretha abruptly declared she’d changed her mind.

In our issue dated Jan. 23, we revealed Aretha’s four grown sons were deeply concerned that Willie Wilkerson, her partner of 26 years, planned to cut them out of her $60 million estate once they wed.

Soon after The ENQUIRER hitthe stands, the 69-year-old singer said in a statement: “Will and I have decided we were moving a little too fast...there will be no wedding at this time.”

A close family source noted: “Af­ter The ENQUIRER’s report, Aretha finally listened to her boys. She knew they were protective, but she had no idea how angry they were about her plans to marry Willie.

“Willie is hurt, but he loves Aretha and he’s staying with her.”

Last year, sources told The ENQUIRER that the 5-foot-5 singer – a former smoker who let her weight soar to 300 pounds – was fighting for her life after undergo­ing surgery for pancreatic cancer.

Aretha refused to disclose the reason for the December 2010 sur­gery and denied she was battling cancer. She now claims to have put the health scare behind her and says she’s lost 85 pounds and feels “fabulous.”

But the wedding bells she was hearing...well, now they “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

The source told The ENQUIRER: “Aretha and Willie are still a couple but they just won’t be married, at least not right now – and not ever if her kids have anything to say about it!”