For a while there, the only thing instantly recognizable about Aretha Franklin, 70, was her emotive, smooth-as-butter singing voice — the Queen of Soul got big, real big, reaching such proportions that all the fanciful headwear in the world couldn’t distract from it.
But before we write Franklin completely off as a poorly aged, massively overweight celebrity, some fabulous news: Last year, the legendary performer and godmother to the late Whitney Houston appeared on "The Wendy Williams Show" after losing a staggering 85 pounds in the wake of a surgery to fix an undisclosed ailment (there were rumors of pancreatic cancer, which the singer denied).
Said Franklin of her slimmed-down physique: "I've been looking at a lot of pictures, and I was saying [to myself], 'You were entirely too fat for words.' ... I couldn't be feeling any better than I'm feeling right now." So how'd Franklin do it? Although many speculate that she underwent a gastric bypass procedure, the 18-time Grammy winner claims it was a combination of good, old-fashioned exercise and swearing off some of her favorite porcine delicacies: Chitterlings, ham hocks and pigs feet. "They're off my diet. They just really don't fit with Whole Foods. I had it for enough years that I don't miss it. You can't continue to eat things that are not good for you."