Despite his quick 29 years of life, Hank Williamsleft one undeniable heritage on the music world as one of the most influential country music artists of all time. We can partially credit transaction that success come his first wife Audrey Williams, who helped control Williams" career and was the inspiration behind many of his hit songs.

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Audrey Mae Sheppard to be born in Banks, Alabama in 1923. Once she was just a an elderly in high college she married her an initial husband, James Erskine Guy, however the marital relationship was short-lived. Lock separated after their just child, Lycrecia, to be born in 1941.


A couple of year later, Audrey met an aspiring musician by the name of Hank Williams and also they fell in love. Audrey persuaded Hank to relocate to Montgomery through her so the they might start a tape together and Hank might start performing top top the radio.

The pair was wed by a justice of the peace at a Texaco station in Andalusia in 1944, simply days after ~ Audrey"s divorce indigenous her first husband was finalized. She conveniently stepped into her mother-in-law"s duty as her brand-new husband"s manager and also was instrumental in raising his career. Despite Hank failed his Grand Ole Opry audition in Nashville, Audrey convinced record exec, Fred increased of Acuff-Rose, to provide him a shot and Rose loved what that heard. Hank was granted a six-song contract which obtained him sufficient notoriety come land a record resolve MGM Records.

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Hank Williams, Audrey Sheppard Williams and the Drifting Cowboys tape in 1951/ Wikipedia/ windy Domain

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As Hank"s career became an ext successful, Audrey likewise longed come perform. She routinely performed with the Drifting Cowboys. She was featured on plenty of recordings with her husband, consisting of "Lost on the River," "I Heard My mom Praying because that Me," "Dear Brother," "Jesus psychic Me," "The Pale Horse and also His Rider," "Jesus died for Me," "Help Me Understand," "Something obtained a organize of Me," "I want to Live and Love", and "Where the heart of male Never Dies."


But Hank"s alcohol abuse was causing a significant strain on your relationship. He was also suffering native extreme earlier pain due to spina bifida, which led to drug abuse as well. The pair welcomed just one kid together, Randall Hank Williams, now recognized professionally together Hank Williams Jr., in 1949.Hank Williams likewise raised Audrey"s daughter Lycrecia together his own.

"Of the two of us, I always considered myself the luckiest one since I gained to carry out things v Daddy," Lycrecia Williams Hoover told The brand-new York Times in 2008. "He would take me bowling a lot. He would certainly go horseback riding and fishing v me. I simply feel favor Hank Jr. Missed the end on for this reason much."


The addiction issues led come the downfall of your marriage. Audrey even told Hank he needed to choose in between her and also alcohol. On new Years" eve 1951, Audrey had enough. There had actually been numerous infidelities, including Hank"s affair v a woman named Bobbie Jett, which resulted in a daughter, Jett Williams (born after her father"s death). She called her husband and also said it was officially over and also he allegedly replied "Audrey, ns won"t live one more year there is no you."

The complying with June, the pair was official divorced. Audrey won the house, Hank Jr., and fifty percent of Hank"s future royalties if she never ever remarried, which she never did.


Despite their disagreements, Audrey Williams had actually a profound impact on Hank Williams -- both personally and also professionally.

"Had it not been because that Mother, I just don"t think Daddy would certainly have obtained to Nashville unless somebody else might of gained a organize of him and also pushed," Lycrecia wilhelm Hoover told The New York Times. "Daddy, he preferred to entertain. He to be a genius, yet Mother was the mastermind behind acquiring him where he necessary to be."

Hank married billie Jean Jones just months after that October 18, 1952. He passed away soon ~ on January 1, 1953. Adhering to his death, Audrey paid billy Jean $30,000 to stop referring come herself as "Hank Williams" Widow" and she complied. Billie Jean later on married nation singer Johnny Horton and also became billy Jean Horton.


The marital relationship of Audrey and also Hank was brought to the huge screen in the 2015 movie I witnessed the Light, certification Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston together the iconic country music couple. The gibbs did an incredible task showing the pain and also difficulties the couple endured together a an outcome of Williams" addiction issues.

It seems Hank and also Audrey Williams never obtained over one another.

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"After daddy passed away, mother blamed herself," Lycrecia Williams Hoover said. "She love him and also felt favor she should have been able to store him native drinking. Later, small by little, she started to drink, until she became an alcohol addict too."


Audrey Williams passed far from heart fail on November 4, 1975, in her home of Nashville. Her son Hank Jr. Walk on to follow in his parents" footsteps and also became a effective singer, as did Hank Jr."s children, consisting of Hank Williams III and Holly Williams.