Jerry Lee Lewis courted so much controversy by marrying his 13 year old cousin at the age of 22 that he went from playing $10,000 concert halls to $250 dollar a night dive bars.
Lewis has been married seven times:
His first marriage, to Dorothy Barton, lasted for 20 months, from February 1952 to October 1953. In a 1978 People magazine interview, he stated “I was 14 when I first got married. My wife was too old for me; she was 17.”
His second marriage, to Jane Mitchum, was of dubious validity because it occurred 23 days before his divorce from Barton was final. It lasted for four years, from September 1953 to October 1957. The couple had two children: Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. (1954–1973) and Ronnie Guy Lewis (b. 1956).
His third marriage, to his cousin Myra Gale Brown, lasted for 13 years, from December 1957 to December 1970 (although the couple went through a second marriage ceremony because his divorce from Jane Mitchum was not complete before the first ceremony took place). They had two children together: Steve Allen Lewis (1959–1962) and Phoebe Allen Lewis (b. 1963).
His fourth marriage, to Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate, lasted from October 1971 to June 8, 1982, producing one child, a daughter, Lori Lee Lewis (b. 1972), and ending several weeks before divorce proceedings could be finalized when Pate drowned in a swimming pool at the home of a friend with whom she was staying.
His fifth marriage, to Shawn Stephens, lasted 77 days, from June to August 1983, ending with her death. It has been alleged that Lewis abused her and was responsible for her death.
His sixth marriage, to Kerrie McCarver, lasted 20 years, from 1984 to 2004. They have one child: Jerry Lee Lewis III (b. 1987). According to USA Today, McCarver’s divorce settlement was substantial.
His seventh marriage, to Judith Brown, began March 9, 2012.
Lewis has had at least six children during his marriages. In 1962, his son Steve Allen Lewis drowned in a swimming pool accident when he was three, and in 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr. died at the age of 19 when he overturned the Jeep he was driving. He has two surviving sons, Jerry Lee Lewis III, Ronnie Guy Lewis, and two daughters Phoebe Allen Lewis and Lori Lee Lewis.