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A portrait of American singer and actor Elvis Presley wearing a purple shirt circa 1956.  (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Respected Musicians Who Were Actually Terrible People
History - Science
Content Warning
This story contains discussions of domestic abuse and sexual harassment.
Johnny Cash had a reputation for being horrible to women, especially his partners Vivian Cash and June Carter Cash. Johnny cheated on Vivian with June, even after she stuck with him through the worst of his arrests and the accidental forest fires, and later cheated on June with multiple women — including her sister.
Chuck Berry had an attitude that got him into all kinds of trouble. He stole cars and carried out armed robberies as a teenager, at 36 he was sentenced to three years in prison for taking an underaged girl across state lines, and later he was accused of videotaping women in the bathroom of one of his restaurants, which eventually put him at the center of a class-action lawsuit.
Elvis was infamous for preying on underage girls, with future wife Priscilla being 14 when she met him, and while what went on behind closed doors is debated, Elvis was 24 at the time. Additionally, according to a woman who was engaged to the singer years later, Elvis once pulled out a gun and put a bullet in the headboard of the bed she was sleeping in to get attention.
While Frank Sinatra was iconic on stage, he had a bad reputation off-stage because of his temper. Sinatra punched a reporter, cracked a random businessman’s skull, nearly killed his then-wife Ava Gardner by throwing a champagne bottle at her, and destroyed a ridiculous amount of stuff — some of which was pretty priceless — just out of pure rage.
Lewis has a whole lotta shadiness going on, including the mysterious deaths of two wives — and while the court ultimately cleared Lewis of wrongdoing there, the law was not on his side when he shot his bass player in the chest. Lewis has also been married seven times — including to his 13-year-old second cousin — and his nickname “the Killer” may have come from attempting to kill a teacher.