Jerry Lee Lewis' Wife Doesn't Remember Getting Married to Him at 13
At age 22, the musician wed his teenage cousin, Myra Williams.
Myra Williams, the third wife of musician Jerry Lee Lewis, just shared her side of their disturbing story in a new TV special. As reported by Fox News, Williams took part in Investigation Discovery's Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?, opening up about wedding the musician—who was also her cousin—when she was 13 years old and he was 22. The now-79-year-old explained that she has no memory of the actual 1957 wedding, which was arranged by Lewis, and compared her state of mind at the time to being "in a coma."
Williams said that her father, J.W. Brown, invited his cousin Lewis to live with their family when they relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. It was then that Lewis began preying on Williams without her parents' knowledge. Williams said that Lewis would meet her after school and take her out for ice cream.
"I thought he was being nice to me. I was idolizing Jerry and looking up to him," Williams said. "What I didn't know was that he was falling in love with me … Jerry would kiss me. At first, I didn't know what to think about that. I mean, it was nice, but I was confused."
She explained that one day, Lewis showed her a marriage license and said they were going to get married. They made it official when Lewis took Williams out on another day under the guise of going to see a movie.
"I think I was in a coma," Williams said, looking back on the ceremony. "I had the red dress that I wore to school that day, and we walked into this little chapel. I don't remember getting married, but I know it happened. And then, these two little old ladies started throwing rice at us … And I'm still like a deer caught in headlights … We were probably gone for less than an hour."
The next morning, she saw the marriage license in her bedroom and knew it was real. The family's housekeeper discovered the document and gave it to her father. Brown went out with a gun looking for Lewis when he realized that the musician had married his child daughter but eventually accepted what had happened.
Williams said that she "had to become the adult," because her new husband didn't take care of much. "Jerry did two things—he played music, and he loved me," she added.
Unsurprisingly, the marriage was not smooth sailing from there. Williams went on tour with Lewis and inadvertently revealed to a reporter in the U.K. that she was his teenage wife. Her age, along with the fact that they were related, led to major backlash for the artist.
"I felt guilty because of it," Williams said on the show. "I was the one who let the cat out of the bag."
But there was more controversy to the relationship still. When he wed Williams, Lewis was still married to his second wife, Jane Mitcham. He divorced her, then officially remarried his cousin. They welcomed two children during their marriage: Stevie Lewis, who died in a tragic accident at age three, and Phoebe Lewis, who is now in her 60s. Williams and Lewis divorced in 1970 after Williams claimed Lewis had physically and mentally abused her. Since 1984, she has been married to Richard Williams.
Lewis died at age 87 in 2022. At that time, Williams reflected on their history in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. She said that she had cut ties with her ex-husband when he married her former sister-in-law (her brother's ex-wife) in 2012.
"I wouldn't go back and change it if I could," she told the newspaper, before revising, "I might tweak it a little. I would tweak it a lot. I would tweak the hell out of it. I would be smarter. But how smart can you be when you're 14 years old? You're a stupid kid at that age. You're just not ready for it."
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