A close look at one of the documents — which have not yet been authenticated — by NBC News seems to reveal that the father of one of the late Queen of Soul’s four sons is not who was previously believed.
According to the news outlet, Clarence was born to the iconic songstress, who was only 12 when she gave birth. His father was reported to have been her schoolmate Burk.
But based on one of the two wills found in a locked safe, the father is actually Edward Jordan Sr. NBC News reports that Jordan is also the dad of her second son, Edward, who was born when she was just 14.
The will, which is dated June 21, 2010, names him as Clarence’s dad and has some pretty strong words to say about her former love: “His father, Edward Jordan Sr., should never receive or handle any money or property belonging to Clarence or that Clarence receives as he has never made any contribution to his welfare, future or past, monetarily, material, spiritual, etc.”
NBC News notes that the word “never” — which was used twice in this section on page six — is underlined.
The outlet also noted that as per David Ritz’s 2014 biography of the Grammy winner, Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, Jordan was a “player” who didn’t impress the powerhouse vocalist.
It was previously believed that Franklin, who died from pancreatic cancer at 76 in August, didn’t have a will at the time of her death. The three newly discovered wills that were filed with the courts on May 20 are dated 2014, and two from 2010.
Franklin’s lawyer of more than 40 years has asked the courts to determine whether the scrawled wills are valid under Michigan state law.
According to NBC News, if the singer did indeed pen the three wills, it appears she wanted to make sure each of her four sons would be treated fairly. Per the news outlet, all three documents contain specific instructions on how to care for Clarence, who has special needs, as well as noting that her three younger sons should each receive an equal part of her assets.
The hearing over whether or not her three wills are valid is scheduled for June 12.