Was Jerry Lee Lewis Marriage Legal? Revealing Facts

Was Jerry Lee Lewis Marriage Legal?

Welcome to our comprehensive exploration of the intriguing question, “Was Jerry Lee Lewis Marriage Legal?” Jerry Lee Lewis, the iconic American singer, songwriter, and pianist, is known not only for his exceptional musical talents but also for the controversy surrounding his personal life.

In this article, we delve into the legal aspects of one particular chapter of Lewis’ life: his marriage to his underage cousin.

Was Jerry Lee Lewis Marriage Legal?

Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriage to his cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in 1957 created significant controversy due to the age difference and familial relationship. At the time of their marriage, Jerry Lee Lewis was 22 years old, and Myra Gale Brown was just 13 years old. It’s important to note that the legal age of consent and marriage laws vary across different jurisdictions and time periods.

While the marriage between Jerry Lee Lewis and Myra Gale Brown was legal in some states within the United States, it faced severe public backlash and damaged Jerry Lee Lewis’s career. The controversy led to concert cancellations, a decline in record sales, and long-lasting effects on his reputation.

It’s worth mentioning that the specific legal and cultural context surrounding this marriage was met with strong disapproval, and it had lasting consequences for Jerry Lee Lewis’s personal and professional life. The incident serves as a significant example of the legal and societal complexities surrounding marriage and consent laws, as well as the impact of public opinion on individuals in the public eye.

The Life Of Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis, a renowned American singer, songwriter, and pianist, born on September 29, 1935 has been married multiple times throughout his life. His most famous and controversial marriage was to his thirteen-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in 1957.

Jerry Lee Lewis was 22 years old at the time of his marriage to Myra Gale Brown, and their union caused a significant public outcry due to the age difference and the fact that they were cousins. The controversy led to a severe backlash, resulting in Jerry Lee Lewis’s career suffering a setback. Many radio stations stopped playing his music, and concert bookings dwindled.

The marriage between Jerry Lee Lewis and Myra Gale Brown ended in divorce in 1970, after thirteen years together. They had two children during their marriage.

Jerry Lee Lewis has been married seven times in total. After his divorce from Myra Gale Brown, he went on to marry Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate (1971-1982), Shawn Stephens (1983-1992), Kerrie McCarver (1984-2005), and Judith Brown (2012-2021). His sixth wife was his caregiver, Kerrie McCarver, whom he married in 2012 but divorced in 2014. Jerry Lee Lewis’s seventh marriage was to Judith Brown, whom he married in 2012 and divorced in 2021.

Jerry Lee Lewis’s personal life has often been surrounded by controversy and turmoil, but his contributions to rock and roll music have earned him a prominent place in music history.

Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriage to his cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in 1957, caused significant controversy due to the fact that she was only 13 years old at the time, and Lewis was 22. The marriage took place in Hernando, Mississippi, and it was legal under the state’s laws at the time. However, the marriage created a public scandal, and Lewis faced backlash from the media, fans, and even the music industry. The controversy surrounding the marriage had a negative impact on Lewis’s career, and he struggled to regain his popularity for some time.

Despite the controversies and personal struggles, Jerry Lee Lewis’s contributions to rock and roll music are significant. His unique piano-playing style, energetic performances, and memorable hits like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” have cemented his status as a legendary figure in the history of popular music.

The Controversy Surrounding Jerry Lee Lewis’s Third Marriage

1. Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriage To Myra Gale Brown In 1957

Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriage to Myra Gale Brown in 1957 is one of the most controversial and notorious events in rock and roll history. Jerry Lee Lewis, often referred to as “The Killer,” was a rising star in the music industry at the time, known for his energetic piano playing and charismatic performances. However, his personal life became the subject of intense scrutiny and controversy when it was revealed that he had married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown.

Jerry Lee Lewis was 22 years old when he married Myra Gale Brown on December 12, 1957, in Hernando, Mississippi. The marriage took place just two weeks before Lewis’s divorce from his second wife was finalized. The news of his marriage to a teenage girl created a media frenzy and led to a significant backlash against Lewis.

At the time, the public’s reaction to the marriage was overwhelmingly negative. The idea of an adult marrying a minor, particularly one who was a close relative, was seen as morally and socially unacceptable. Lewis’s career suffered a severe setback as radio stations refused to play his records, concert bookings were canceled, and his popularity declined significantly.

The controversy surrounding the marriage also led to legal troubles for Jerry Lee Lewis. The marriage violated both state and federal laws, as it was considered illegal in most states at the time for an adult to marry a minor without parental consent. Lewis faced potential criminal charges, although he was ultimately not prosecuted.

The marriage between Jerry Lee Lewis and Myra Gale Brown ended in divorce in 1970 after 13 years. By that time, Lewis’s career had experienced a resurgence, and he had regained some level of success in the music industry. However, the stigma associated with his early marriage continued to follow him throughout his career.

The scandalous nature of Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriage to Myra Gale Brown has remained a significant part of his legacy. It has often overshadowed his musical achievements and contributed to his image as a controversial figure in rock and roll history.

2. Brown’s Age At The Time (13 years old) And Lewis’s Previous Divorce Not Being finalized

One of the notable controversies surrounding the marriage of individuals named Brown and Lewis involves Brown’s age at the time, which was 13 years old, and Lewis’s previous divorce not being finalized. However, it’s important to note that without specific information about the individuals involved, it is difficult to provide a detailed analysis of a particular case. Therefore, I will present a general discussion on the potential issues that arise in such situations.

3. Age Disparity

A significant concern in this scenario is the age difference between the two individuals. A marriage involving a 13-year-old raises serious ethical and legal questions, as it is generally considered inappropriate and illegal for minors to enter into marriage without proper consent and legal safeguards. Child marriage is widely criticized because it can have detrimental effects on the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the young person involved.

4. Legal Requirements

Most jurisdictions have minimum age requirements for marriage, and these laws are in place to protect the rights and well-being of minors. If Lewis attempted to marry Brown while the latter was below the legal age of consent, it would likely be seen as a violation of the law and would face legal consequences.

Additionally, the fact that Lewis’s previous divorce was not finalized could also raise legal issues, as entering into a new marriage before the dissolution of a previous one is generally not allowed.

5. Consent And Maturity

Consent is a fundamental aspect of any marriage. Given Brown’s young age, concerns about her ability to fully understand the implications and responsibilities of marriage may arise. In many jurisdictions, the consent of a minor to marry may not be legally valid, or additional requirements may be in place, such as parental or court consent. Failing to ensure the proper consent of a minor in a marriage can be seen as a violation of their rights.

It is essential to emphasize that the specific circumstances of Brown and Lewis’s case are not provided. Consequently, the gravity of the controversy surrounding their marriage cannot be accurately assessed. However, it is crucial to address the general issues and concerns associated with marriages involving underage individuals and situations where previous divorces are not finalized.

The Legal Aspects Of Jerry Lee Lewis’s Marriages

1. The Legal Requirements For A Marriage To Be Considered Valid

The legal requirements for a marriage to be considered valid vary depending on the jurisdiction, as marriage laws can differ from one country or state to another. However, I can provide you with a general overview of the common legal requirements for a marriage to be considered valid in many jurisdictions. Please note that this information may not be applicable to every specific case, and it’s important to consult the laws and regulations of the relevant jurisdiction for accurate and up-to-date information. Here are some common legal requirements:

  • Age Requirement

Both parties must generally be of a certain minimum age to enter into a valid marriage. The age requirement varies among jurisdictions, but it is typically 18 years old. However, some jurisdictions allow individuals below the age of 18 to marry with parental consent or court approval.

  • Consent

Both parties must provide their voluntary and informed consent to marry. This means that the individuals entering into the marriage must freely agree to marry each other without any undue influence, coercion, or fraud.

  • Capacity

The parties must have the legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract. This means they must be mentally competent and capable of understanding the nature of the marriage contract and its consequences. Certain conditions, such as severe mental incapacity or intoxication, may affect an individual’s capacity to marry.

  • No Prohibited Relationships

Marriages are typically prohibited between certain close relatives, such as siblings or parents and children. These prohibitions, known as incest laws, are in place to prevent marriages that could pose genetic or social issues. The specifically prohibited relationships may vary between jurisdictions.

  • Formalities

Most jurisdictions require some form of formal registration or solemnization of the marriage. This often involves obtaining a marriage license or certificate from the relevant government authority and having the marriage ceremony conducted by an authorized officiant, such as a religious leader or a civil official. Some jurisdictions may also require witnesses to be present during the ceremony.

It’s important to note that this is a general overview, and specific requirements and procedures can vary significantly depending on the jurisdiction. It is advisable to consult the marriage laws of the relevant country, state, or local government for precise and detailed information regarding the legal requirements for a valid marriage.


Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriages have invoked legal questions and controversies, primarily due to his marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin, which was legal at the time but raised ethical concerns. The jurisdiction in which the marriages took place can play a role in determining their legality and any subsequent legal implications.

However, without specific details about each marriage and the corresponding jurisdictions, it is challenging to provide a comprehensive analysis of the legal perspective in each case.

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