Jerry Lee Lewis, the American rock and roll legend, has died at the age of 87. Besides his numerous hit records and awards, Lewis’ life was marred with one controversy after another, and on one occasion the legendary musician also found himself behind bars.

The first major controversy, and the most notable one in Lewis’ life, was his marriage to Myra Gale Brown, his once-removed cousin. The former couple tied the knot when she was 13 and Lewis was 22. News about their marriage first broke in London in 1958, when Lewis was on a concert tour. 

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The media uproar that followed led to the shows being cancelled, after which Lewis and Brown returned to Mississippi. Here, the controversy took a new life when the fact that Brown was Lewis’ cousin, made its way to the media.

Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate, his fourth wife, also died in a swimming pool under mysterious circumstances.

The death of Lewis’ fifth wife, Shawn Stephens, was also the subject of much speculation. Some believed that Lewis was responsible for Stephens’ death. 

On September 29, 1976, which was the legendary musician’s 41st birthday, he accidentally shot his bass player, Butch Owens, with a .357 Magnum gun. A couple of months later, on November 22, 1976, Lewis was arrested outside Graceland, the home of another rock and roll legend, Elvis Presley. Lewis apparently intended to kill Presley. The two were part of a musical quarter known as the Million Dollar Quarter, alongside Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

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In his authorised biography, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, the musician claimed that he had gone to visit Presley because the latter had been looking for him. Before the visit, he was drinking at a nightclub in Memphis, where he was given a gun. The intoxicated Lewis hopped into his car and decided to pay Presley a visit, but ended up crashing into the gates of Graceland.