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Aretha Franklin
Charles Rex Arbogast  /  AP file
Singer Aretha Franklin.
By
updated 1/2/2012 9:11:10 PM ET 2012-01-03T02:11:10

Aretha Franklin is engaged to longtime friend William "Willie" Wilkerson.

The Grammy-winning said in a statement Monday that she and Wilkerson are considering a summer wedding, perhaps in Miami Beach, Fla. The Queen of Soul wants to follow the ceremony with a reception on a private yacht.

The 69-year-old jokes: "No, I'm not pregnant."

Franklin and Wilkerson became engaged over the holidays.

She is considering Vera Wang, Valentino and Donna Karan to design her dress.

Franklin has been married twice before.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Aretha Franklin

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  1. Early days

    Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1942. Her parents had a troubled relationship and she was mostly raised by her grandmother. Music was in her life early, as gospel legends Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward regularly visited the home. (Redferns via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Music and motherhood

    Franklin was just 19 during this 1961 recording session for Columbia Records in New York. She had her first children when she was just 13 and then 16, and in a throwback to her own childhood, they were cared for by her grandmother while she pursued a musical career. (Frank Driggs Collection / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sign on the dotted line

    In 1966, Franklin signed with Atlantic Records and their famed executive Jerry Wexler (seated, with Franklin's manager standing), who reportedly coined the term "rhythm and blues." They would collaborate on 14 albums over eight years. Of Franklin, Wexler said "Her judgment was impeccable, her execution miraculous and all I could do was provide the right setting or offer the occasional suggestion." (Referns via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The Queen of Soul and Rev. King

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Franklin family friend, and she performed in support of the civil-rights leader in the 1960s. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Cover girl

    On June 28, 1968, Franklin became one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Her hits include "Respect," "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," and "Freeway of Love." (TIME) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Getting down in the diner

    Franklin played a musical waitress in the 1980 classic "The Blues Brothers," with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as Jake and Elwood Blues. She performed her hit single "Think." The movie appearance gave her career a needed boost and she experienced a musical resurgence in the 1980s. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Am I blue?

    Franklin wears a shiny blue futuristic outfit featuring her first initial on the collar in this undated photo. In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her No. 1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Singer Mary J. Blige wrote, "She is the reason why women want to sing. Aretha has everything — the power, the technique." (Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Rolling with the Stones

    Franklin joined The Rolling Stones to perform her cover of their hit "Jumpin' Jack Flash" for that 1986 film. Keith Richards produced Franklin's version, and he and Ronnie Wood play guitar on the recording. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Natural women, all

    On the first "VH1 Divas" special in 1998, Franklin was joined by Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Carole King, Celine Dion and Shania Twain to perform her 1967 hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." King had co-written the song with inspiration from Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler. (Kevin Mazur / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Honored by the president

    President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton honored Franklin with the 1999 National Medal of Arts on Sept. 26, 1999, in Washington. (Stephen Jaffe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Lady in red

    In 2001, VH1 honored Franklin with "VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin" at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Mary J. Blige, the Backstreet Boys, Stevie Wonder and Kid Rock were among those performing during the special. (Frank Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Two generations of stars

    Franklin poses with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs at Combs' annual White Party in 2004. (Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. More White House honors

    Franklin closes her eyes as her achievements are read out before President George W. Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award, in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 9, 2005, in Washington. The medal is presented to those who have made contributions to national security, world peace, or culture. Carol Burnett, seated second from left, was also one of that year's recipients. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Lady of many names

    Franklin has been dubbed the Queen of Soul and Soul Sister Number 1. (Mychal Watts / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Who's the real 'Idol'?

    Singer Fantasia, left, who won "American Idol" in 2004, poses with Franklin, who was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year on Feb. 8, 2008, in Los Angeles. MusiCares is a charity that helps musicians in time of financial, medical or personal need. (Lester Cohen / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Taking the stage

    Franklin performs during the 2008 event honoring her as MusiCare's person of the year. Other honorees have included Tony Bennett, Bono, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder and Brian Wilson. (Jason Squires / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Supporting the troops

    Franklin performs during "The Torch of Freedom: A Holiday Tribute to Our Troops," a benefit concert presented by Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club Inc. on Dec. 14, 2008, in New York. (Roger Kisby / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Honoring Mandela

    Franklin performs during a concert honoring Nelson Mandela on July 18, 2009, the South African leader's 91st birthday. 46664 is the prisoner number imposed on Mandela, who was the 466th prisoner to arrive at Robben Island prison in 1964. (Dave M. Benett / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Legend in her own time

    In 2009, Franklin performs at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock Hall, entering in its second year, 1987. (Henny Ray Abrams / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Let freedom ring

    Franklin was the only featured singer at the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. She sang "My Country Tis Of Thee," and her striking hat, complete with crystal-studded bow, was the talk of the day. Some say it was chosen to reference the similar headwear worn by Mahalia Jackson during the 1963 March on Washington. Franklin later donated the hat to the Smithsonian, where it is on display along with Michelle Obama's inaugural ball gown. (Ron Edmonds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. At the Apollo

    Franklin attends the 2010 Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Concert & Awards Ceremony in New York. Also in 2010, she received an honorary doctorate in music from Yale University. (Natalie Behring / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Teaming up

    Franklin and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra on July 27, 2010. The event was a benefit to support inner-city children and education programs. (Jeff Fusco / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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