Myra Lewis Williams, also known as Myra Gale Brown, was Jerry Lee Lewis’s third wife and—more famously—his 13-year-old cousin at the time they married.
So, what became of her? Williams, who is 78, said in 2016 that she has always been “right here,” but it looks like she broke up with her famous ex-husband after 2015.
Jerry Lewis, who died on Friday at the age of 87, faced professional exile in 1958 when a reporter covering his arrival in London inquired about the young girl in his entourage who eventually introduced herself as “Jerry’s Wife.”
According to Lewis’ obituary in The Times, the “whole lotta shaken’ goin’ on” and “great balls of fire” hitmaker eloped with Myra Gale Brown in December 1957, the result of a romance that began when he moved into the Memphis home of Myra’s father, J.W. Brown, who was Lewis’ cousin and bass player.
When Lewis was 22 and Williams was 13, and when it was revealed that she was also his second cousin and that Lewis was still married to his second wife, Jane Mitcham, when they married, the press pounced on him.
Lewis’ tour was abruptly cancelled as a result of the revelation; he was blacklisted by the radio; and his earnings plummeted overnight. (In his Louisiana hometown of Ferriday, couples married young, and he married for the first time at the age of 16 and had seven wives throughout his life.)
During that time, he continued to record music and perform in theatres, and he made a comeback about a decade later.
“There Was A Whole Lotta Trouble Going On When Jerry Lee And I Went To England… The Press Made Me Out To Be A Seductive Lolita, Which Was As Far From The Truth As It Gets.” ” Remember, gossip is not gospel,” Williams wrote in 2015 on Instagram.
As the eulogies pour in, here's a friendly reminder that Jerry Lee Lewis was an abusive pedophile who married Myra Gale Brown, his 13-year-old cousin. When Brown filed for divorce, she stated that she had been "subject to every type of physical and mental abuse imaginable." pic.twitter.com/qICuFxg9FN
— Ellen Walker MA (RCA) (@EllenFWalker) October 28, 2022
In 2016, Williams told Georgia’s Gwinnett Daily Post, “It Was Really The First Scandal Of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” “What Was Happening Back Then, Rock ‘n’ Roll Was Coming On Strongly.” It irritated the preachers. Radio stations that did not play it despised it.
It was dubbed “The Devil’s Music.” What it was doing to the teenagers was crude, rude, and ridiculous. They had no idea what was in store for them. “
“Great Balls of Fire,” a 1989 biopic starring Dennis Quaid as Lewis and a 17-year-old Winona Ryder as Myra, was based on Williams’ first book of the same name. However, it did not delve deeply enough into Lewis’ tenacity.
The Times’ Review says that instead, director Jim Mcbride, who wrote the script with Jack Baran, “just makes fun of the Argyle innocence and Daffy exuberance of the 1950s.”
“‘Great Balls of Fire’ Is The Ton Of Rock Movies,” wrote Times Music Critic Robert Hilburn at the time. “Jerry Lee Lewis Is Many Things, But He Is Not A Simple Cartoon.”
In her 2016 memoir, “The Spark That Survived,” Williams addressed their scandalous relationship once more. While promoting her book, she took to Instagram to reveal some of the juicy details.
She titled her memoir “How to Overcome Life’s Worst Tragedies And Your Own Dumbass Decisions.”
“I’ll be right there!” “With A New Memoir, The Spark That Survived,” she wrote at the time, sharing an image with the caption “Whatever Happened To Myra?” Over An Old Photograph Of Her And Lewis
“You’re in for a surprise if you think you know [my] story of being the 13-year-old bride of my second cousin,” she teased. “My 1988 book, Great Balls of Fire, and the resulting film, were only the beginning.” I’m older and wiser now, and I’m not as malleable in the hands of others.
There are no holds barred this time. This book will, I believe, warm your heart, tickle your funny bone, and touch your soul. I hope my story can help you deal with your own ups and downs. If I can survive life’s greatest tragedies and my own stupid decisions, you can, too. “
According to the Post, Williams stated that she was not a fan of her first book and its film adaptation because they were someone else’s idea of how that part of her life story should be told. She also described herself to Lewis as “the adult in the relationship.” (She filed for divorce in 1970, citing abuse and adultery allegations.)
Her second book chronicled her experiences of becoming a mother at the age of 14 and again at the age of 17, as well as losing their son Steve to accidental drowning in 1962. She also talked about Lewis’s drug use, how he was abused, how he got divorced, and how he quickly got into a second marriage, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
“That’s essentially what this book is; this is what happened, this is how I handled it, and here I am today,” she explained. “I not only survived it, but I’m stronger for having gone through it.” I’m stronger and appreciate different aspects of life that many people take for granted. I guess it was like a trial by fire for me.
When you come out of the fire, you know you’ve made it.
“This Is The Book I Always Wanted To Write Back Then.” Though I’m glad I didn’t because it’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older. “
In a separate Instagram post from 2015, Williams talked more about her relationship with the rocker and posted a picture of them with their daughter Phoebe.
“Because we have a daughter,” she wrote, “Jerry and I Have Remained In Contact For Many Years.” Phoebe worked for him, and when I went to see her, I saw him as well. However, Phoebe quit working for him after his marriage to my ex-sister-in-law, who wasn’t an ex yet when they got together (yes, you read that correctly), and I haven’t seen him since.
He’s no longer in my life. This way of life is nice and calm for me. “
As of Friday afternoon, Williams had not issued a public statement about Lewis’ death. Since early 2016, her Instagram account has been dormant.
Lewis later married four more times. Two of those marriages ended in the brides’ untimely deaths, and his fourth and final marriage occurred in 2012. It was addressed to Judith Brown, the ex-wife of Myra’s younger brother, Rusty Brown.
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