He is famous for his marriages as much as he is for being one of the major influences in the rock 'n' roll industry.
Controversies and fame go hand in hand when it comes to Hollywood. If a celebrity is famous, you will find one or the other controversy attached to their names. It's the price they pay for fame.
But some celebrities pay a little too much. Take rock 'n' roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis for example. He was known as "rock & roll's first great wild man" in the 1950s and 1960s and soon turned into one of the pioneers in country music in the 1970s. But one relationship that almost finished his prodigious career was his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin.
According to The Guardian, when Jerry was 22 years old, he was at the peak of his career and America's first rock 'n' roller to go on a tour to Britain in 1958. When he arrived at Heathrow he was expecting a warm welcome, instead, he met with backlash from entire Britain. Why? The reason was his new bride.
When a curious reporter, Paul Tanfield, saw Myra Gail Lewis at the airport and asked her who she was, she revealed that she was Jerry's wife. The next day, the scandalous news was all over the papers. That's when it was revealed that she was 13 years old and not 15 as Jerry claimed. Her age, the fact that she was his cousin topped by the information that they got married five months before he divorced his second wife gave rise to a massive outrage among his fans and other people.
The star who was meant to create history for his musical tour made one for all the wrong reasons. Not only did all his shows get canceled but his return to the U.S wasn't a warm one either. People said that he had brought shame to the nation. It reached a point where he thought his career had come to an end but he rose up again in the 1960s through country music with hits like Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On, Once More With Feeling, and Chantilly Lace.
After thirteen years of marriage, Myra filed for a divorce in 1970 stating she had been "subject to every type of physical and mental abuse imaginable," as reported by Medium.com.
Well, Myra was his third wife. Jerry's first wife was Dorothy Barton whom he married when he was just 14 years old. He met the preacher's daughter in 1951 and married her in 1952. While talking to People he said, "I was 14 when I first got married. My wife was too old for me; she was 17," but "then I met Jane Mitcham."
He married Jane 21 days prior to divorcing Dorothy. Explaining his move, Jerry revealed, "One day she told me she was going to have my child." He then disclosed that other than her brothers' pressure, he too was worried about their future. "She divorced me, though she didn’t need to. She was never my wife,” he added. It was after Jane that he found Myra.
After divorcing her, he met Jaren Elizabeth Pate and married her in 1971, according to Amomama. Nine years into the marriage, they saw themselves caught in a messy divorce. Just days before their scheduled date to appear in a divorce court in Hernando, Jaren drowned to death, as reported by UPI. She was just 39 years old when she drowned in her friend's pool. The police ruled it out as an accidental death.
A year after Jaren's death, Lewis met his fifth wife Shawn Michelle Lewis. Although they were happy with their lives, tragedy struck when Shawn passed away after overdosing on sleeping tablets in 1983.
According to Whos Dated Who, Jerry fell head over heels for Kerrie McCarver in the same year that he lost his fifth wife and married Kerrie in 1984. They were happily married for 21 years but this one too came to an end in 2005.
After so many marriages and divorces, the 85-year-old finally found Judith Brown and married her in 2012. Fortunately, they're still together. Judith is the ex-wife of his cousin Rusty Brown, reported CNN. She was the rocker's caregiver after he suffered from some health issues. Caring soon turned into love and the couple has been together ever since.
For someone who made a huge name for himself through his art, his decisions in his personal life made a lot of impact on his success too.