Jerry Lee Lewis could have been a transcendent pop superstar, but his momentum was derailed by an incestuous marriage. In 1957, Lewis infamously married his 13-year-old first cousin once removed, Myra Gail Brown. The backlash was swift and deserved. Whatever happened to Brown? Let’s take a trip through history and find out.
An Incredibly Shocking Wedding
By the time Lewis married Brown, he had already wed twice. First at the age of 16, then again 20 months later to Jane Mitchum. Lewis and Mitchum got married before his divorce was finalized, but they stayed together for a tumultuous four months anyway. Together they had two children: Ronnie Guy Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis Jr., who died in a car wreck at 19.
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The public didn’t know a thing about Lewis’ personal drama until 1958. His career was flourishing, and he was neck-and-neck with Elvis Presley. That’s when he and Brown, his teenage cousin, got married. The ensuing tour was a disaster and ended up being canceled. It took Lewis years to get his career back on track.
Who Was Myra Gail Brown?
Complicating matters even further was the fact that Lewis still had not divorced Mitchum yet, so a second wedding was formally held in 1958. His rock and roll career was finished, so Lewis pivoted to country music.
As one may have guessed, the marriage between a 23-year-old rock star and his 13-year-old cousin did not go well. When the two got divorced in 1970, Brown said she “has been subject to every type of physical and mental abuse imaginable.”
Lewis admitted to cheating on her, and his drug addiction took a toll as well. Brown and Lewis had two children together: Steve Allen Lewis and Phoebe Allen Lewis. Steve tragically drowned at age 3, and Phoebe grew up to become her father’s manager.
What Happened To Her?
While Lewis would soon get arrested at Graceland, Brown quickly remarried. As her divorce was finalized, she wed Pete Malito, the private detective she’d hired to get dirt on Lewis. They didn’t last either, splitting up after a year and a half. Brown moved to Georgia to raise Phoebe.
Luckily, Brown’s story reached a happy ending. She’s worked in real estate since 1980, winning a Life Time Award in 2003. Brown married for a third time in 1984 to Richard Williams, and they’re still together to this day. She co-wrote the autobiography Great Balls of Fire, which was later turned into a film starring Winona Ryder and Dennis Quaid. Considering how hellacious her teenage years must have been, it’s nice to see Brown find peace.