Jerry Lee Lewis may not be known as the “King of Rock n’ Roll,” but could be crowned a sort of “King Henry the 8th of Rock and Roll.” The rock legend now has England’s friskiest monarch beat by one wife (Henry the VIII only had six.)
The 76 year-old Lewis — whose classic hits include “Great Balls of Fire” and “While Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” — married his seventh wife, Judith Ann Coghlan Brown, on March 9 in Natchez, Miss.
There is a 14 year age difference between the couple. The bride is a close friend of Lewis’ daughter Phoebe. Apparently Brown and Lewis fell in love while she was working as his caretaker, a position she has held for the past several years.
The story then takes a few more interesting turns, to put it mildly.
As it happens, Judith Brown is the former wife of Rusty Brown, Lewis’ second cousin. Married for 24 years, the Browns divorced in 2010.
Now, tighten your seatbelts a little bit more: Rusty Brown would be the brother of Myra Gale Brown, the minor-cousin-once-removed whom Lewis married in 1957. Whew.
This marriage to his 13-year-old cousin (Lewis was then 23) nearly ended the career of Jerry Lee Lewis at the height of his fame. The child bride scandal resulted in his records being banned from radio airplay and canceled tours all over the world. High School Confidential, indeed.
The bride’s sister, Carolyn Coghlan Gremillion, told the Associated Press on Friday that the wedding was small and private. The only guests were her family, Lewis’ sister, and her husband. She said that her sister was “real happy” to be marrying the rock and roll pioneer.
“They have a really very loving relationship.” Gremillion said. “I guess she’s probably really taken better care of him than anybody.”
But the bride’s ex-husband Rusty Brown (Lewis’ cousin) has a different opinion. In an exclusive interview with the National Enquirer, Rusty accused the rocker of stealing his wife.
“In 2010, I walked in on them and caught her rubbing his legs — the way you’re not supposed to,” Lewis told the Enquirer. This revelation was especially painful to Brown, who not only was Lewis’ drummer for several years, but who claims that Lewis has been “like a second dad” to him since the age of three.
The outraged Mr. Brown says that his ex-wife Judith “has a proven track record of being a gold digger.” He believes she only married Lewis for his money.
“The crazy thing is that Jerry never liked Judith, and she used to say Jerry was dirty and that he stunk,” Mr. Brown said. “But once she got the smell of his money, things changed.
“What’s worse is that I’m his cousin and ex-brother-in-law,” says Brown. “Of course, I’m disappointed in him – he shouldn’t have let any of this happen.”
The bride’s sister acknowledged that Lewis had a wild reputation when he was younger, but claims “he’s a very different man now. You know how people change as they grow older. He’s a very spiritual man.”