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Billie Jean Horton: Early Life, Marriage with Hank Walliams

Numerous people in the United States of America are avid Country music enthusiasts. In the past, only those from the Southern and Northern United States were exposed to this music. Consequently, the majority of the fan base was also from there. With the rise of streaming services and the digitization of old albums, however, the […]

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Numerous people in the United States of America are avid Country music enthusiasts. In the past, only those from the Southern and Northern United States were exposed to this music. Consequently, the majority of the fan base was also from there.

With the rise of streaming services and the digitization of old albums, however, the impact of these songs is now felt globally. Some of the legends are also well-known inside popular culture.

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For instance, many of us only remember Hank Williams because his music was discussed in the blockbuster film The Shawshank Redemption. Many believe Hank to be the undisputed king of country and western music. In this blog, however, we will discuss Billie Jean Horton, Hank’s ex-wife.

Billie’s marriages to Hank Williams and Johnny Horton may have brought her to the attention of many, but there is much more to her than meets the eye. Did you know that Billie had a highly successful singing career? Indeed, it’s true. This blog will discuss Billie Jean Horton and her fascinating life.


Billie was born in Bossier City, Louisiana, on June 6, 1933. Her father was the Chief of Police. As is well knowledge, Louisiana is one of the country music epicentres; hence, Billie was also interested in music. She published numerous singles, including Come Back to Wichita, Here Comes Trouble, Ange Tears, and many others.

Throughout her fledgling singing career, Billie was constantly surrounded by other singers. She fell in love and married Harrison Eshelman during this time period.

Billie Jean Horton and Hank Walliams’s Marriage

Shortly thereafter, Billie’s marriage to Harrison terminated, which also sparked controversy. Billie ended her marriage with Harrison after Faron Young, a mutual friend, introduced her to Hank Williams.

In addition, the pair wed in a secret ceremony in Minden, Louisiana. In 1952, they exchanged vows at two of Hank’s concerts.

As we discussed previously, the controversy was caused by Billie Jean Horton’s previous marriage. Billie and Harrison were separated at the time of her marriage to Hank, but their divorce had not yet been formalised.

Fortunately, in 1971, a court acknowledged that “despite her divorce from Eshelman not being formalised prior to her wedding with Williams, she joined the marriage in good faith and their union was therefore entitled to a presumption of validity.”

The marriage between Billie Jean Horton and Hank Williams came to an unpleasant conclusion. Hank passed unexpectedly on New Year’s Day, 1953, owing to a sudden heart attack just one year after their wedding.

Wedlock with Johnny Horton

Billie soon found love again when she wed Johnny Horton, another great country singer. Although the exact date is unknown, the pair wed in September 1953. Billie and Johnny were not a typical relationship, as Billie played a significant role in promoting Johnny’s musical career.

Additionally, the new power couple had two daughters named Yanina and Melody. Additionally, they adopted a girl called Jeri Lynn. They had been married for seven years.

Their marriage, however, terminated in horrible circumstances. Johnny Horton was tragically killed in a car accident. On November 5, 1960, Johnny’s automobile collided with a lorry; as a result, Johnny perished in the collision. The most terrible aspect of this incident was that the truck driver was inebriated.

Her Future Ahead

After her second widowhood, Billie took a sabbatical and refocused on her profession. She began her career as a music artist once more. Billie’s album “Ocean of Tears” was published in 1961 and earned wonderful reviews. Such was its popularity that it made the “Top 40 Hits of Country Music” list.

Then, Billie had a brief romance with the renowned musician Johnny Cash. During their brief romance, Johnny was married to Vivian Liberto, causing additional controversy.

Following her brief relationship with Johnny Cash, Billie Jean Horton wed for the third time. Interestingly, her third husband was an insurance executive and had no interest in the country music business. However, their marriage was short-lived, as they divorced a few years later.

Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of recent information about Billie Jean Horton available. As of 2016, the most recent information we could uncover on her indicates that she is in an assisted living facility. Three girls currently reside in Shreveport.

Last Words

When you are married to one of the most influential people in a given area, your achievements are sometimes eclipsed. It is impossible for everyone to be the “Top Dog of the Field,” therefore while your partner receives all the praise, you sometimes feel as though your labour is not valued.

Billie Jean Horton dedicated her all, not only to her own singing career, but also to the promotion of Johnny Horton’s work. It is not difficult to understand that without her efforts promoting Johnny’s music, it would never have reached the heights it achieved.

This was not a “trophy wife” characteristic. All of this was due to Billie’s efforts. Her prominence was primarily owing to her marriages to Hank Williams and Johnny Horton, but her contributions as a singer and promoter cannot be minimised.

Billie was one of the few female vocalists of her time, and we are grateful to her for opening the path for future female singers.

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