For the last five years, the legendary Aretha Franklin has been harboring ill feelings towards Dionne Warwick over comments she made at Whitney Houston’s funeral, concerning the late singer’s relationship with Franklin. At the time, Warwick explained to the audience that Franklin could not make it to the funeral, but she loved Whitney “as if she were born to her,” she said, before mentioning that Franklin was Houston’s godmother.
Days later, Houston’s mother clarified Warwick’s misstatement, revealing that Houston’s godmother was actually Darlene Love. To Franklin, the damage had already been done, but she decided to address the situation at a later date.
Now, five years later, Franklin is opening up about Warwick’s “libelous” statement.
In a fax and phone conversation with the Associated Press, Franklin expressed her frustration with Warwick and the situation, saying “she blatantly lied on me … fully well knowing what she was doing” by saying Franklin was Houston’s godmother.
“There’s been so much going on around her (Houston), around the service, around the drugs, around her and Bobby (Brown) supposed to be fighting, I didn’t want to add anything to that, and I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Franklin said.
Apparently, the two ran into each other last week at the Tribeca Film Festival’s premiere of Clive Davis’ documentary, and Warwick tried to speak with Franklin backstage.
“She said, ‘Give me a hug.’ I said, ‘Oh hell no. You couldn’t be serious,’” Franklin said of their interaction, reiterating that her issue with Warwick is about defamation, whether or not she receives an apology or not.
“I don’t care about her apology, at this point, it isn’t about an apology, it’s about libel,” she said. “We’ve never been friends, and I don’t think that Dionne has ever liked me.”
On the other hand, Warwick has declined to respond to Franklin’s claims, saying via her rep, “She will not dignify a response to the statement made by Aretha Franklin.”