Your song “Great Balls Of Fire” has just hit no. 1 on the charts, and will go on to become the biggest selling single in Sun Records history, topping hits from Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. What are you gonna do now? If you’re Jerry Lee Lewis, you’d go out and marry your 13-year-old second cousin? Despite telling reporters that wife Myra Gail Brown was a ripe 15-years-old, her true age — and the fact that he’d yet to divorce his previous wife — soon leaked, quickly putting the kibosh on the singer’s fledgling career.
Although the man known as “The Killer” (a nickname from childhood) would eventually score a series of country comeback hits, his flair for drama, romantic and otherwise, would follow him throughout his life. Cousin Myra divorced the singer in 1970, claiming abuse, and two later wives died from drowning and a drug overdose, respectively. Add a history of tax evasion, and you can see why a stomach ulcer almost killed him in 1981.