By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been five years since R&B crooner Teddy Pendergrass died in a suburban Philadelphia hospital, and for the first time since his death, his widow is speaking out about the family court battle, the singer’s legacy, and what’s next.
“Teddy and I were soul mates and good partners,” Joan Pendergrass told KYW Newsradio this morning. She says she fell in love with Theodore Pendergrass in 2006, but when he died four years later she found herself embroiled in a nasty court battle over his estate.
“One of the allegations was that I’m a gold digger, and it’s untrue,” she says calmly.
Teddy Pendergrass, who grew up in Philadelphia and had a stellar singing career with Philadelphia International Records, was seriously injured in a 1982 crash on Lincoln Drive that left him a quadriplegic.
In October of last year, a judge ruled in her favor in the estate fight, ruling that Pendergrass’ son had submitted fraudulent documents in the case.
That same month, Teneka Watson, the transgender woman who was in the car when the singer had his fateful crash, gave an interview on Oprah Winfrey’s cable channel.
“What she said was exactly what my husband told me,” Joan Pendergrass says.
So now, she says, she can move on, focusing on her late husband’s charitable foundation for victims of spinal cord injuries, plus a movie about his life (starring singer Tyrese Gibson), his music, and his legacy, “to make sure that this generation and the next generation know who Teddy Pendergrass was.”
Hear Cherri Gregg’s extended interview with Joan Pendergrass in this CBS Philly podcast (runs 14:13)…