Jerry Lee Lewis’ Former Child Bride Speaks Out: The Untold Truth About Their Marriage

Jerry Lee Lewis’ Former Child Bride Speaks Out: The Untold Truth About Their Marriage

In 1957, the world of rock ‘n’ roll was rocked by a scandal that almost destroyed the career of Jerry Lee Lewis. At just 22 years old, Lewis married his 13-year-old second cousin, Myra Gale Brown, a union that ignited widespread outrage and nearly ended his career overnight. While Jerry Lee eventually managed to reclaim his place in the music world, Myra faded from the public eye. Over 60 years later, she shares her side of the story, revealing the truth about their controversial marriage and how she has moved on from those tumultuous years.

How They Met and Secretly Wed

Myra Gale Brown first met Jerry Lee Lewis in 1949 when she was just five years old. Her family had recently relocated from Louisiana to Memphis, Tennessee, where her father, J.W. Brown, had secured a job as a lineman. After a workplace accident resulted in a large settlement for J.W., he invited his cousin Lewis, then an aspiring 21-year-old musician, to join him in Memphis. J.W., a bass player himself, hoped to help Jerry Lee land a recording contract with Sun Records, which was on its way to becoming the epicenter of rock ‘n’ roll.

When Jerry Lee moved in with the Browns, Myra didn’t think much of the lanky young man with a peculiar haircut. However, her opinion changed dramatically once she witnessed him playing the piano. His energetic and rhythmic performance captivated Myra and her family. Jerry Lee, in turn, began to notice the intelligent and mature young girl.

Lewis would often appear outside Myra’s school, offering her rides home or taking her out for ice cream. Initially, Myra enjoyed the attention, seeing it as harmless fun. However, Jerry Lee’s intentions soon became clear when he began greeting her with unexpected kisses. Confused and unsure how to react, Myra kept these interactions secret from her parents.

One evening, Jerry Lee presented Myra with a marriage license application bearing her forged signature. Despite her pleas to abandon the plan, Jerry Lee dismissed her concerns, confident that her parents would eventually accept their relationship. Against her better judgment, Myra went along with his plan, and the very next day, she found herself standing before a preacher, reciting vows to become the wife of a man nearly ten years her senior.

Public Scandal Erupts

By 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis was on the brink of superstardom. With hits like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” he seemed destined to inherit Elvis Presley’s throne as the king of rock ‘n’ roll. However, his decision to bring Myra along on his first major European tour proved disastrous.

Upon arriving at Heathrow Airport, the Lewis entourage was swarmed by the British press. When a journalist inquired about Myra’s presence, she naively revealed that she was Jerry Lee’s wife. The next day’s tabloids were filled with scandalous headlines, not only revealing Myra’s age but also her familial relationship to Jerry Lee and the fact that he was still legally married to his previous wife.

The public outrage was immediate and intense. Jerry Lee’s concerts were met with heckling and protests, and the backlash forced him to cut his tour short. Upon returning to the United States, the situation worsened. Radio stations stopped playing his music, venues canceled his shows, and his career plummeted. The once-promising rock star saw his income dwindle from $10,000 a night to virtually nothing, all because of his controversial marriage.

Staying Together Despite the Controversy

Amidst the media firestorm, Jerry Lee and Myra presented a united front. Myra, then just 13 years old, struggled to understand the public’s harsh judgment. To her, their relationship was genuine and based on love. She felt that she had matured faster than other kids her age and believed that Jerry Lee treated her well.

However, the relentless criticism took a toll on both of them. Jerry Lee’s career suffered immensely, and the couple faced death threats and financial struggles. Despite these challenges, Myra asserts that their marriage grew stronger in defiance of the external pressures. Their shared experience of public condemnation forged a bond that helped them weather the storm for nearly a decade.

Coping with Tragedy and Moving On

Despite the ongoing public outrage, Jerry Lee and Myra tried to settle into domestic life. In 1959, they welcomed a son, Steve Allen Lewis, when Myra was just 14 years old. However, their happiness was short-lived. In 1962, their son tragically drowned in the backyard pool while Myra was visiting her mother. The loss devastated Myra, leaving her questioning why she had to lose her only child.

The birth of their daughter, Phoebe, in 1963 brought some comfort, but Jerry Lee’s increasing instability and abusive behavior strained their relationship. Myra eventually filed for divorce in 1970, unable to endure the turbulence any longer. Starting over as a single mother, she returned to school and eventually established herself in Atlanta, working various jobs.

In 1984, Myra married her second husband, Richard Williams, finding the stable and loving relationship she had longed for. Now, she runs a real estate firm with Richard and leads a quiet life far removed from the drama of her past. Despite their divorce, she remains on cordial terms with Jerry Lee for the sake of their daughter, Phoebe.

Looking Back

Over half a century later, Myra reflects on her controversial marriage with a mix of emotions. She regrets the damage it caused to Jerry Lee’s career and the public shaming they endured, but she also cherishes the happy moments they shared. Myra maintains that she felt ready for commitment at 13, despite how shocking it appears by today’s standards. She believes their intentions were sincere and rejects the notion that Jerry Lee manipulated her.

While she acknowledges the suffering caused by their youthful recklessness, Myra takes pride in their ability to endure the turbulence together. She treasures the fond memories of their time together and remains open to the possibility that she might have made the same choices all over again. Despite the highly publicized failure of their marriage, Myra still harbors affection for Jerry Lee and appreciates the sense of purpose he gave her during her teenage years.

Now a 78-year-old great-grandmother, Myra finds peace in her quiet suburban life. She rarely faces reminders of her past as Jerry Lee Lewis’ child bride, aside from occasional interviews revisiting those years. While traces of the naïve but defiant 13-year-old remain, Myra has moved forward, keeping her remarkable memories alive while building a new life on her own terms.

In conclusion, Myra Gale Brown’s journey from the young, scandal-ridden bride of Jerry Lee Lewis to a contented great-grandmother running a real estate firm is a testament to her resilience and strength. Despite the intense public scrutiny and personal tragedies she endured, Myra managed to carve out a fulfilling life for herself. Her story, filled with both regret and fond memories, offers a nuanced perspective on a controversial chapter in rock ‘n’ roll history. Through it all, she has found peace, maintaining a quiet suburban existence while keeping the extraordinary memories of her past alive.

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