The Real Reason Aretha Franklin Rarely Toured Outside of North America

Her reason for staying is shockingly relatable.

Aretha Franklin attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New YorkInvision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, will always be known for her singing chops that made her the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although Franklin had rare singing and performing talent, she had a very relatable fear that kept her from touring overseas—flying.

In 1984, the Grammy-award-winning artist was on a small plane during a turbulent flight, after which she stopped flying for decades, The Daily Beast reports. Franklin then relied on buses for ground transportation. Her fear of flying, however, didn’t always exist. The singer reportedly told the Belfast Telegraph that her fear came overnight after that one flight. Here are some tips on how to get over a fear of flying.

Her preference for ground transportation meant the singer turned down invitations from Prince Albert of Monaco and even Queen Elizabeth II to perform overseas, according to Mental Floss and Money magazine. Franklin was also previously in the running for judging the 12th season of the TV show American Idol. Again, her travel restrictions kept her from the role, according to The Daily Beast.

The singer took a course called “Fearless Flyers” to overcome her fear—and she missed two weeks of classes, effectively flunking. And although the singer tried to conquer her fear, she didn’t really dwell on it or her travel restrictions. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Franklin spoke about flying. She said she would fly again and that she took classes like “Fearless Flyers.” The interviewer pressed her further, asking if she had watched videotapes too. Her response? “Who cares?”

Next, check out these facts about flying that will help you stay calm.


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Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.