Myra Lewis Williams: ‘When I Was Jerry Lee Lewis’ 13-Year-Old Wife’
In 1958 musician Jerry Lee Lewis arrived in London. By his side was his a 13-years-old. She was his first cousin. She was also his new wife Myra Lewis Williams. Now living in Atlanta, Myra is talking with Cuepoint.
After thirteen years of marriage, they were divorced in 1970, when Myra charged that she “has been subject to every type of physical and mental abuse imaginable”; Jerry Lee later said that “it was all my fault—she caught me cheating.” When we met, she described their relationship as a “successful divorce,” though more recently it seems they’ve been clashing over his current, seventh wife.
She was unprepared for the attention:
‘The only problem was that nobody told me anything. So when a reporter asked me, Who are you?, I was the one who let the big ol’ cat out of the bag. It was a perfect storm—it couldn’t have happened at a worse time, at a worse place. Everything just came together and a major explosion happened…
‘At that time, Elvis had gone into the Army, and Jerry was poised to be the king. All of Jerry’s managers told him, “Do not take Myra to England,” because the British press was known to rip Americans apart—that’s where all the tabloid journalism started. He said, “If Myra doesn’t go, I’m not going.” Everyone underestimated me being aware and possibly knowing what to do. I could so easily have said, “I’m J.W. Brown’s daughter. That’s my little brother, that’s my mother.” Because that was the truth! If anybody had told me anything, I could have prevented this thing. But they didn’t, and I didn’t, and the rest is history, I guess.
‘In my little mind, I couldn’t believe that they could not see that I was a grown woman. I was only 13, but people said I was more mature than Jerry. I was serious-minded, I was like, “We gotta take care of this and do this,” and he was like, “Where’s the piano?”’
Said Lewis in 1996:
”I really felt sorry for her. She was a little girl didn’t have a thing. She had one gingham dress she wore to school. I felt sorry for her and I liked her and I married her and it was an experience. We grew real close together. Whether you’d call it love, I don’t know. I think it was love, and I backed it up and didn’t hide it like Elvis did and take her up to his house for 13 years and then marry her.”
Read on – “Ballad of the 13-Year-Old Bride“