Jerry Lee Lewis is considered one of the leading figures of the rock era and among the greatest country singers of all time. His distinctive and dynamic style whenever he’s onstage thrilled his young fans and made him a legendary performer one could never forget.
However, offstage, his personal life was a turbulent one. His remarkable career is often overshadowed by his unbridled love affairs that led him to be married seven times.
The Many Marriages Of Jerry Lee Lewis Throughout His Life
Jerry Lee Lewis married twice when he was still in his teens. In 1952, Lewis wed his first wife, Dorothy Barton, when he was only sixteen. However, the marriage only lasted for less than two years.
The “Great Balls of Fire” did not waste much time moving on. A few days after he was officially divorced from Barton, he married his second wife, Jane Mitchum. While Lewis and Mitchum were only married for four years, they welcomed two children together: Ronnie Guy and Jerry Lee Jr.
But it was definitely Lewis’ third marriage that truly rocked his career.
The Marriage That Halted His Success In The Genre
In 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis was beginning to see the peak of his popularity. However, nearly as swiftly as his star soared, his career crumpled after marrying his third wife, thirteen-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown. Lewis was twenty-two at the time, making Brown nine years his junior.
It was only a few months after Lewis’ first hit song was released when the news of his marriage leaked in London, where he and his young spouse had flown for Lewis’ first European tour. He initially told the press that Brown was fifteen, but the truth came out soon enough, and it quickly caused an outcry.
The British media had labeled Lewis, a “cradle robber” and “baby snatcher,” some even suggested Lewis be deported. Music fans shutdown Lewis, and his tour was canceled after three shows.
The backlash followed Lewis back to the United States, which resulted in boycotts of his music and backlisting at venues and radio stations. Lewis’s appearance fee even plunged from $10,000 per night to $250. It was absolutely every celebrity’s nightmare.
Making things worse was when it was found out that his marriage to his second wife had not yet been finalized before marrying Brown. Consequently, the two got hitched again in another ceremony.
Lewis then released an open letter through Billboard, hoping to validate his relationship with Brown.
The couple went on to be blessed with two children. However, after facing such massive controversy, their marriage did not end up being a joyful union. In 1970, Brown filed for divorce – citing adultery and abuse. She accused the singer of committing “every type of physical and mental abuse imaginable.”
Lewis went on to get married four times – this includes marriages to Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate, and Shawn Stephens. After his sixth marriage ended up failing once again, Lewis remained single for seven years.
However, things changed when Lewis met Judith Brown, who worked as his caregiver. The two got married in 2012 until Lewis’ death.
The rock ‘n roll pioneer passed away on Friday (October 28) at his home in Mississippi. He was 87. Jerry Lee Lewis’ wife, Judith, was by his side when he died.
We’re sending prayers to the entire Lewis family during this difficult time.
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