*Wendy Williams finally sat down with the Queen of Soul for Wednesday’s broadcast of her talk show, but the legendary singer still didn’t disclose the exact nature of her recent illness.
Aretha Franklin, 68, would only say that she knew she was seriously ill when she felt a crippling pain in her side.
The singer – who underwent surgery in December for a mystery complaint that was widely reported as pancreatic cancer – revealed the pain she felt was so severe she could barely stand and immediately pulled out of her concert tour in order to receive treatment.
“That [pain in my side] was my first inkling that something was wrong, that something wasn’t what it should be,” she told Wendy. “The pain was so hard it nearly brought me to my knees. So I said, ‘The concerts are over. I have to go find out what is wrong.'”
When the talk show host said: “In December we all found out that you were having abdominal surgery”, Aretha replied: “Hmm. Is that what you heard?”
Regarding her 85 pound weight loss, Franklin said she decided to cut out junk food and her beloved pork products while adopting a healthier lifestyle.
She told Wendy: “I’ve been looking at a lot of pictures… and I was saying (to myself), ‘You were entirely too fat for words!’
“I’m getting close to my normal weight now, I’m only a dress size away now. I was doing everything you could do to lose that weight and it’s hard, really hard, when you love food… Altogether, it was about 85 pounds. It was gradual.”
Franklin says the toughest part about the weight loss was cutting out the calories late at night after shows: “After you’ve done a high-energy concert, a carrot isn’t gonna work!”
She also brings Williams to tears over the radio interview she conducted with Franklin’s goddaughter Whitney Houston in 2003, when the former shock jock continually quizzed her about her alleged drug use. The exchange turned nasty and ended with Houston proclaiming, “If this were back in the day in Newark (New Jersey), I’d meet you outside.”
In Wednesday’s interview, Franklin thanked Williams for her tough approach – because it forced Houston to face her demons and set her on the path toward eventually dealing with her addictions.
Franklin told the host, “I would like to say, I think you did a very good thing for Whitney in speaking in the way that you did at one point. (It) paid off.
“She’s doing very well, very well. And sometimes all it takes is just someone to say certain things.”
Aretha also discusses what happened to the world famous hat she wore to President Obama’s inauguration and what reality shows she loves.