Teddy Pendergrass & The Transsexual Tenika Watson

Teddy Pendergrass & The Transsexual Tenika Watson

R&B singer and sexual icon Teddy Pendergrass has died of colon cancer at 59. A consummate ladies' man, he was known for belting out such hits as If You Don't Know Me By Now and Love TKO in sold-out panty-throwing 'women only' concerts. Read more at PopEater: R&B Star Teddy Pendergrass Dead at Age 59

With his death, old rumors surrounding the tragic car crash that left him paralyzed from the chest down have been injected with new life.

Chief among them that he was not alone in the car that night. Riding along was "casual acquaintance" Tenika Watson, a 31-year-old transsexual model, nightclub singer and rumored prostitute. And that she was to blame for his injuries.

In regards to the 28-year-old accident, Pendergrass once said: "What matters is what happens afterward." 

Still, you can't help but wondering what would have come out about the incident if the Internet had been around to keep the fires of gossip aflame. Would Tiger be where he is now without TMZ? Would Teddy?

Here's what we know about Tenika Watson and the night of the accident:

  • Tenika Watson — born John Watson — had undergone a sex-change operation and was working part-time as a nude model.
  • "She described her relationship with Pendergrass as "flirty," and said they had run into each other a couple times at the now-defunct Fantasy Club. The night of the accident, she said, Pendergrass was giving her a ride home—that was it." [Unsubstantiated Source]

And from a 1982 interview by Barbara Faggins of the Philadelphia Tribune:

  • Pendergrass just a friend "I was concerned about him. I was concerned if he was really hurt. I feel about him like I feel about any other human being. I thought we both were going to die. I thought the car was going to explode. I was scared to death."
  • Admitted prostitution Said she has been arrested more than 37 times for prostitution: "I have been trying to get away from it [soliciting] for the past five years. It's hard to change your life around here. It's easy to get arrested in this city if you stay out as late as I do.
  • Medical harassment Claimed medical attendants cared more about getting a urinalysis test done than they were about the extent of her injuries: "They were interested in finding out what was in my system... I must have gotten to the hospital around 1 a.m. and  I didn't leave until 6 p.m.
  • Sexual/gender discrimination "I can't get over how people treat you, how they turn everything around. It was an accident. I just had to get out of the city. I haven't done anything. I can't get over how straight people responded, because it was just an accident...
  • Family upset "My family and friends are angry because of what they've read in the papers about me. I am disappointed in people. What really upset me what the fact that the papers made me seem as though I was some kind of animal or demon and that I was not a God fearing person. I am a Methodist and go to church...
  • Disappeared from spotlight "I am not even sure if I want to be a model now," said Watson explaining she had quit working at the New Forrest Lounge as a female impersonator because of the incident.