Talking about her life in a 2007 New York Times interview, she said:
Tough Circumstances: She was an unwed mother at age 15. (Wikipedia states she had two children by this time.)
Modest: Although she was hailed in as one of the greatest singers of all time, she said, “I’m pretty good.” Then she knocked on wood.
Get Better: At the time, she didn’t read music. But she was trying to get to the Juilliard School of Music to study classical piano.
Keeping the Voice: She lost part of her singing range, so she gave up smoking and changed her diet, including dropping having her favorite hot sauce every day.
Face her Fear: She hadn’t flown since 1983 due to anxiety attacks after a bad flight and took a tour bus from gig to gig. But she was determined to fly again to visit Paris, Egypt and the Middle East.
Aretha was strong. She has my R-E-S-P-E-C-T.