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Aretha Franklin

Calls in Sick to Whitney's Funeral

But Performs Hours Later

2/19/2012 7:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Aretha Franklin canceled her scheduled appearance at the Whitney Houston funeral service.
Aretha Franklin canceled her scheduled appearance at Whitney Houston's funeral service in New Jersey yesterday afternoon ... but was well enough to perform at Radio City Music Hall that night.

Aretha said she had been suffering from leg spasms and wanted to rest up for her show, rather than travel for the funeral. She released a statement, saying in part, "heart goes out to my dear friend Cissy, Dionne, Bobbi Kristina and the rest of the family. May God keep them all."

The Queen of Soul dedicated a portion of her show to Whitney, and also to Nick Ashford, who passed away last August. 


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Aretha dud the correct thing. She probably couldn't sing emotionaly at a funeral in NJ, than travel to NYC and perform at Radio City Hall for a SAT nite crowd. Huge amount of tickets had been sold and she would have been sued for sure. Business is Business, and the Family surely understood. Areatha is no spring chicken now, and standing, singing and entertaining takes a lot out of you. Plus, Aretha isn't in the best of health.

944 days ago


AF was talking crap without their permission, on Piers Morgan and Today shows. That's what it sounds like. Who gave her the right to make statements about Brown and Houston that's negative. AF comes off as a nasty nosy old lady, whale shark.

944 days ago

Indian In The Inn    

This headline is slanted as most TMZ headlines are. The stage has been set for you. And if you believe and read all news in this way, you're probably out of touch.

I don't know Aretha personally and I don't suppose you do either but people are entitled to grieve in their own way.

I don't know one single person who LIKES going to funerals.

So maybe give her the benefit of the doubt, because it would be practically impossible for you to see the world from her point of view.

944 days ago


I agree with many people that Aretha Franklin should be ashamed of herself...If she is the godmother of WHitney Houston she should have been at her excuses, unless she was sick like they we find out she was singing the same nite....Come on now.....This woman is a total disgrace and only thinks of herself.....I wouldn't doubt it if Whitney Houston is already rolling around in disgust in her casket......may she R.I.P. always....I will never ever have any respect for this slob Aretha Franklin.....she gets me sick......

944 days ago


I think she should have cancelled her concert,Money isn't everything, I think being at someones funeral is more important then money.

944 days ago


Aretha is a fat piece of **** for not going to your own god daughters funeral if not to perform at last show up for respect you are not the queen of anything but food.

944 days ago


944 days ago


Lord knows I am no fan of Aretha's and I agree that she has an over-inflated ego. HOWEVER, I think there is a really good reason she didn't attend:

Aretha is said to be suffering from pancreatic cancer which explains her weight loss. Although it has been claimed that it was caught in the early stages, pancreatic cancer is almost always fatal.

It seems clear to me that she just couldn't face going to the funeral because it reminded her too much of her ultimate, soon-to-come demise.

I think she looked at the funeral-which was attended by many of the same people Aretha knows very well-as a dress rehersal for her OWN funeral and just couldn't bear to go. She's a ticking time bomb who doesn't want to be reminded that she has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I can understand why she'd want to avoid going-we don't know what it's like to have a terminal illness so she deserves SOME sympathy!

944 days ago

There's a problem here    

I'm going to give Aretha the benefit of the doubt here. I'm not sure what went on with her health a few years ago but I think it was some weight loss surgery and definitely breast reduction, but I think there was a bit more to it, and her health isn't that good. She's old and she's ailing. I'm betting being in concert at that age is grueling under the best of cir***stances. I'll give her credit for performing. If she missed that spectacle of a funeral service I doubt if her lackeys called in sick for her. She probably spoke with the close family and explained herself. Non-story here.

944 days ago

Barbara Ann    

I honestly don't think she chose one over the other...She has health issues and she didnt feel well enough to attend the funeral..She planned on both!..Thats how Whitney was, wanting to please EVERYONE, her fans and fmaily...Don't make this out to be a heartless person...Whitney is with those she loved here and in spirit...Whether Aretha stayed hom or attended, Whitney was with her...God Bless you Aretha and i am so sorry for this question even being asked...Blessings..

944 days ago


This story SCREAMS TMZ Investigates! There is something not quite right about it. Aretha makes every funeral! She has sang at almost every funeral for a black important person since the 70s! I believe that maybe something happen between her and the family. TMZ needs to do some digging!!!!!!!

944 days ago

Reach Out Job Search more point here.

Who says PUBLICLY that they are going to APPEAR at a "going-home service" of their "Niece", foster a "excuse" of leg-cramps for their non-attendance but,....appears at a pay-performance concert jumping, dancing and singing around later that night?

That would be the "Queen of Soul" no less....Aretha Franklin.

Please, stop it folks with the "she was mourning in her own way" crapola. Aretha, at the VERY LEAST...should have personally called the family on FRIDAY NIGHT and stated she couldn't appear.

With the way Dionne called her out at the service (she announced Aretha on the program as Whitney's "Godmother", left the podium, sat down for 45 sections, returned to the podium and stated "I guess, oh well") clearly appears Aretha didn't inform the Houston family about her newly found Saturday morning "leg issues" (dipping sarcasm).

That's not the way it works in the African-American community folks! For visitors of who are not African-American....Aretha's actions will be met with total disrespect. Whoever is her Public Relations personnel should have known this and came up with a BETTER EXCUSE.... "Aretha was overcome with grief to appear at Whitney's service"....or something like that.

To dance, jump and sing at a PAID CONCERT (verified by the Washington Post no less) later the same day as your "Niece" who referred to you respectfully as "Aunt Re" had a "home-going service"....wouldn't "endear" Aretha to the African-American community....i.e.-her base!

Hope she thinks long & hard about her actions (or in-actions in this case) and, find someway to make this up to the Houston family. Personally, I don't know how Aretha can.


944 days ago

Isabella Sarantakos    

RESPECT is something Aretha knows NOTHING about!

944 days ago


She was not obligated to PERFORM at funeral! I'm sorry, but that was absolutely ridiculous that it lasted over four hours. I guarantee you there was not one person in that church that wasn't ready to leave after 30-min. My gosh the people in the choir were yawning! It does not take 4 hours to respect, celebrate put closure to ones life unless you want to make it a spectacle! She decided she didn't want to be a part of that! Ps. The family said the didn't want it to be and it was!

944 days ago


You people who voted for canceling her concert need to understand - if Aretha did that, a whole lot of people would have lost money because if the show doesn't go on, the musicians, the ticket takers, security and everyone else who works there don't get paid. They all have families to support. Plus the promoters lose money because they put down a lot up front. If it was Aretha's pay check alone - and if her leg felt good enough to travel that morning - I'm sure she would have put Whitney's funeral first.

944 days ago
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