Success at Atlantic
A Tough Marriage
Ted White was not an easy man to get along with. There were many occasions when he lost his temper. He argued with Aretha, producers, and musicians. He drank heavily, which only made his fights worse. “Drinking finally destroyed our relationship,” Aretha would admit many years later.
Aretha stuck with Ted for a long time, despite his violent temper and his drinking problems. When they married, Aretha was still a shy young woman of nineteen. By the time she signed with Atlantic, though, Aretha was twenty-four. She was becoming more comfortable with herself and with her future as a professional musician. She began to rely more on herself and less on the men around her, including Ted.
Throughout 1967 and 1968 Aretha's success was astounding. At the same time, her marriage to Ted became increasingly difficult. Aretha would triumph over her difficult marriage, but not without paying a price. During a time in which she deserved to focus on her tremendous success, Aretha was often forced to waste time and energy fighting with her husband. Though she was soon to become a world-famous star, Aretha's life was not so different from the lives of other emotionally abused women.