Aretha Franklin Aware of Whitney's 'Challenges'

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The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is opening up about her goddaughter Whitney Houston, saying she and others were aware of her troubled side, but was always pulling for her to succeed. 

"We were all aware of her challenges," Franklin, 69, tells latest issue of People magazine, on newsstands now. "And I was always rooting for her." 

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Franklin recalls to the magazine how thrilled she was when Houston was able to make a triumphant return to acting in the musical due in theaters later this year, Sparkle. "Seeing previews for the new Sparkle movie I thought, boy she looks good, healthy, fresh and has that twinkle in her eyes!" 

"In looking back now, I recall her European tour: Still exciting, but unable to sing what she wanted to had to be disheartening," Franklin said. "And yet she stood night after night and endured unappreciative audiences with the heart of a champion." 

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Franklin is set to perform along with Stevie Wonder and others at Houston's private funeral service to be held Saturday in the New Jersey church where her musical talent was first heard.

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