Aretha Franklin announces plans to marry long-term partner William Wilkerson

Soul legend jokes that she isn't pregnant as she reveals engagement

Aretha Franklin has announced her engagement to long-term friend William “Willie” Wilkerson.

The soul legend, who has been married twice before, announced plans to tie the knot over the summer, with Miami Beach in Florida a possible location. She suggested the reception would take place on a private yacht.

The 69-year-old singer released a statement to announce the news, joking that it wasn’t a shotgun wedding.

She said:

We’re looking at June or July for our date, and no, I’m not pregnant, LOL!

Franklin returned to performing in May last year after overcoming an undisclosed ailment which saw her admitted to hospital earlier in 2011. She has reportedly lost six stone after suffering the mystery illness.

Franklin released her latest album ‘A Woman Falling Out Of Love’ last year, her first studio LP since 2003’s ‘So Damn Happy’.

The singer, dubbed the Queen Of Soul, has won 18 Grammys in a glittering career spanning seven decades.