Aretha Franklin's Friend Gladys Knight Shares What People Didn’t Know About the Queen of Soul (Exclusive)

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Gladys Knight is remembering her dear friend and peer, Aretha Franklin, who died on Aug. 16 at 76.

The 74-year-old singer opened up to ET about the late Queen of Soul while on the blue carpet at the U.S. Open's opening night on Monday. 

“We were both little girls, and I say little girls even though you know we have like three or four years between us, but we had that same road to go and over the years I saw her grow and hopefully she saw me grow,” she tells ET. 

Knight says she ran into Franklin quite often throughout their historic careers. “It was more like us supporting each other,” she recalls. “We are both blessed enough to be working all the time. So, if we were anywhere near where we were going to be playing, she would just show up. I would show up.” 

Though Franklin shared her amazing talent with the world, Knight notes that there’s a side of her that the public didn’t see that often. “Aretha was very shy,” she reflects. “People just don’t know that about her.” 

Knight is preparing to honor her friend at the star-studded funeral that will take place on Friday, following two public memorial services on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

“You’ll see me there,” she shares. “I love her and I respect who she was and who she is and all of those kind of things. She was amazingly blessed. That’s the best way that I can put it.”

Franklin’s funeral will take place at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, and is scheduled to have plenty of celebrity guests and performers, including Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson and Faith Hill.

Following Franklin's death, Knight paid tribute to her friend on Instagram, writing: "Your music set a standard for every single lady in this industry to rise up to. You have touched minds, hearts and spirits, including my own.

Here's more on Franklin’s passing: 

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