Entertainment

Famous Friends Of Aretha Franklin  

Celebrity Lists
28 items

Aretha Franklin was a lot of things to a lot of different people. To her fans, she was the Queen of Soul. Over decades, her music reverberated throughout the public consciousness with many turning to her songs for comfort and guidance. 

For others, she was a dear friend. She was in the business for so long, she made countless celebrity friends. Even those who did not know her that well spoke highly of her, and when she passed away on August 16th, 2018, it was a genuine tragedy.

For this list, we celebrate her incredible life and career by looking back on everyone who was fortunate enough to call Aretha Franklin a friend. These are the best celebrity friendships she had.

Some of her celebrity best friends make sense. Gladys Knight ran into Franklin frequently over the years, and they got to know each other quite well. 

However, there are also some unlikely celebrity friendships in the mix. Robert De Niro also met Aretha on various occasions, and he played an instrumental role in getting her documentary green-lit. So who is the Aretha Franklin best friend?

Aretha Franklin had more friends than you could count, but this list goes over just a few of the best celebrity friendships of Aretha Franklin. Read below to see more of the friends of Aretha Franklin. 

Elton John is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Friends Of Aretha Franklin
Photo:  Richard Mushet/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Elton John was a friend of Aretha Franklin's for many years. In fact, she was one of his favorite pianists. He adored her talent, and she actually performed at a benefit concert for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

He knew she wasn't doing well during this time, but she still managed to perform and brought the house down. 

Age: 71

Birthplace: Pinner, London, United Kingdom

More Elton John

#97 of 292 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #15 of 2140 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time featuring 14 Elton John Stories That Prove He's A Legend All Of The Inaccuracies In 'Rocketman'

see more on Elton John
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Friends Of Aretha Franklin
Photo:  @aliciakeys/Instagram

Alicia Keys makes for a worthy successor to Franklin's crown of Queen of Soul. They met on several occasions and were good friends.

Keys worshipped Franklin and even performed in her honor at her funeral celebration. She and SZA performed "Day Dreaming" to honor Franklin's legacy. 

Age: 38

Birthplace: Hell's Kitchen, New York City, New York, United States of America

More Alicia Keys

#6 of 245 on The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #8 of 228 on The Best Current Female Singers featuring The Best Alicia Keys Albums, Ranked The Best Alicia Keys Songs of All Time

see more on Alicia Keys
Oprah Winfrey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Friends Of Aretha Franklin
Photo:  @Oprah/Twitter

Oprah and Aretha had a rocky start to their relationship. According to reports, Oprah wasn't too happy when Aretha opened up about her cancer diagnosis on Wendy Williams' show before hers. Whatever happened between the two, they buried the hatchet and remained friends until Aretha's passing. 

Age: 65

Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States of America

More Oprah Winfrey

#61 of 292 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #78 of 323 on The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models featuring The Best Oprah Book Club Books The Best Oprah Winfrey Movies

see more on Oprah Winfrey
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Friends Of Aretha Franklin
Photo: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock

Robert De Niro was a huge fan of Aretha Franklin's - so much so, in fact, that he helped bring her long-gestating documentary to the masses. Reports show De Niro contacted Franklin to invite her to the premiere, but she insisted she couldn't go unless her attorneys green-lighted an appearance.

De Niro asked for her lawyers' contact information so that he could get the ball rolling personally. Although the film was originally shot in 1971, it didn't see the light of day until 2018. 

Age: 75

Birthplace: Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, United States of America

More Robert De Niro

#4 of 1174 on The Best Actors in Film History #5 of 267 on The Best (Male) Actors Working Today featuring The Best Robert De Niro Movies The Most Unhinged (And True) Robert De Niro Stories Ever Told

see more on Robert De Niro