‘I’m Glad I Didn’t Marry You, Boo Boo’: Patti LaBelle Says She’d Never Give Up Her Career for a Man After Calling Off Engagement to One of The Temptations’ Singers In Resurfaced Clip

In the very beginning of her career, Patti LaBelle captured the heart of one of the most eligible bachelors in the music industry, Otis Williams of The Temptations.

A clip from the Philadelphia songbird’s appearance on Oprah’s “Master Class” in 2015 has resurfaced, sharing why she broke the relationship off, despite the “My Girl” chart-topper giving her a beautiful ring and a chance to be a part of the Motown family as his missus.

Patti LaBelle on engagement to Temptations singer Otis Williams
Patti LaBelle reveals details about past engagement to Otis Williams from The Temptations. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

According to LaBelle, two musical legends first met when The Temptations visited her hometown for a performance at the legendary Showboat club, then located in the basement of the Douglass Hotel.

Despite not being signed to Motown Records like The Temptations, LaBelle and her group The Bluebelles were making noise for themselves and also moving around in similar music circles. In fact, Cindy Birdsong, one of the original members of LaBelle’s group, replaced Florence Ballard in The Supremes in 1967.

Amid all of the talented and beautiful R&B singers of the time, LaBelle and the founding member of the Temp kicked it off and became romantic.

“For some reason Otis and I became attracted,” LaBelle said, adding, “I ended up seeing Otis and we ended up becoming engaged, and then he gave me this beautiful ring. He talked about what kind of life were we going to have and everything.”

However, their engagement did not last.

The “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” singer revealed that she ultimately decided to call it off due to significant differences in their life goals and aspirations. She claimed Williams wanted her to be a stay-at-home wife in Detroit and quit singing. For the Grammy winner, that seemed inconceivable.

She also started to realize that she was never really in love with him but was in love with the idea of being with a Tempting Temptation.

“I said, ‘Am I attracted to a temptation or to a man that I wanna be with? I think I was more in love with The Temptations than Otis Williams, who was a very sweet man,” she recalled. “They were big at that time, you know, and sometimes you get a little celebrity crazy … and I think I was in that category.”

LaBelle knew ultimately, the relationship would not work because they wanted different things. He wanted her in the kitchen and she wanted to be on stage— and she wanted what she saw on stage.

“I said, ‘I don’t think this is gonna work and the reason I said it is because he wanted me to move to Detroit and stop singing,” she explained before pointing to her vocal cords. “And not use this? I don’t think so.”

“I said very nicely, ‘The engagement is off. I have to sing for the rest of my life no matter what,” she added.

Ultimately, LaBelle believes she made the best choice for herself.

LaBelle went on to marry Armstead Edwards in 1969, with whom she shared over three decades of marriage before their divorce in 2000. Williams would go on to marry three times. His first wife was Josephine Rogers. He married her in 1961, the same year he formed the Temptations. From this union had a son named Otis Lamont Miles Williams. The two divorced in 1964, according to his biography.

In 1967, he married Ann Cain, Ike and Tina Turner’s housekeeper. He would later divorce her in 1973. Williams was wed to his last wife, Playboy model Arleata Williams, from 1983 to 1997.

Despite the two having very different roads, LaBelle still speaks very fondly of her ex and has no regrets.

“I still really care for him very much,” she said. “He’s a sweet man, but I’m glad I didn’t marry you, boo boo. Now, that was a good move on my part. I knew I was more than that.”

When a clip from Patti’s interview resurfaced fans were shocked that a musician would ask another musician to give her up her career and aspirations. “Otis tried to take Patti from us!!!???!! How dare you?” said one critic.

Another said, “So, she was more in love with the Temptations… more proof, “Ain’t nobody coming to see you, Otis.”

The line “Ain’t nobody coming to see you, Otis” was said by David Ruffin’s character in the two-part miniseries, “The Temptations.” The movie, which aired on NBC in November 1998, covers the group’s rise to fame and documents their Motown catalog from the 1950s to the 1990s.

But one person said, “This wasn’t in the temptation movie!!!”

Another wrote, “Can you imagine a life with no Patti vocals? He was bonkers for opening his mouth to ask this.”

It was a great move on LaBelle’s part not to become a housewife and choosing to continue with her singing career.

Over her seven-decade career, she has won two Grammy Awards, seven NAACP Image Awards, two American Music Awards, the Essence Triumphant Spirit Award, a Cable Ace Award, three Emmy nominations, and a Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award. Adding to her legacy, LaBelle was honored with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993 — a star uniquely funded entirely by her devoted fans.

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