Goodness Gracious: ‘Killer’ weds, for 7th time, in Natchez
Published 12:11 am Friday, March 30, 2012
NATCHEZ — In the small living room of a house on the Natchez bluffs, with only close friends, family and a preacher in attendance, Ferriday’s native son and rockabilly rocker Jerry Lee Lewis tied his seventh knot.
And since true love has never been restricted by age or scandal for “The Killer,” marrying his cousin’s ex-wife who’s 13 years younger wasn’t going to stop the vows from being exchanged.
“Once we sat down in front of the preacher, everything just felt right,” said newlywed Judith Coghlan Lewis. “Neither of us feels like we’ve been married before, so this was like the first time for both of us.”
The 76-year-old Lewis, famous for top hits like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” had been visiting the Miss-Lou for approximately a month with his betrothed before finally setting a date for the wedding. Click here for picture gallery from Jerry Lee Lewis’ wedding
The couple first met more than 25 years ago when Jerry Lee was playing a show in Las Vegas and Judith’s then boyfriend, Rusty, also Jerry’s cousin, took her to seek family approval.
“We went to the show and Jerry just looked at me and said (to Rusty), ‘If you don’t marry her, I will,’” Judith said. “I didn’t think much of it back then, but looking back, who would have thought we would end up together?”
Judith married Rusty soon after and Jerry was out of the picture until two years ago when Rusty asked her to start taking care of Jerry as health issues began to arise with the singer.
“At that time, Jerry hadn’t been to the hospital in years and he needed someone to take care of him because he was very sick,” Judith said. “It wasn’t romantic or anything like that at first, but after about six months, Jerry and I knew something was happening between us, but we weren’t really sure what was going on.”
Traveling back and forth between Jerry’s house in Nesbit and her house in Monroe, Ga., began taking its toll on the caregiver.
“Going back and forth was bad, but what really changed it was when he went on a trip without me with his daughter to Los Angeles,” Judith said. “He came back and was so sick, and I just said, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to work this out, but you can never go on another trip without me.’”
Judith filed for divorce in 2010, and that same year got a surprising gift under the Christmas tree.
“He gave me a ring for Christmas, but didn’t tell me it was an engagement ring until a few months later,” Judith said. “He just said, ‘I just want to let you know that the ring I gave you for Christmas was a promise that I will marry you.’”