Shirley Strawberry’s name has made headlines in recent weeks thanks to the messiness between her and her incarcerated husband, but new updates suggest Ernesto Williams was never even her husband, to begin with… at least legally.
Ernesto’s first wife, Edith Williams, claims she and the locked-up entrepreneur have been married for the past 37 years.
On Sept. 25, YouTuber Chronicle Speaks shared a photo of Edith and Ernesto’s Aiken, South Carolina-issued 1985 marriage certificate, which she claims Edith personally provided her with.
The document outlined that the couple was married via a notary, which is recognized as a legal marriage in South Carolina. The certificate listed Oct. 22, 1985, as the date of Ernesto and Edith’s union.
Toward the bottom of the page, the legal slip had the date Jan. 28, 2019, which highlighted when Edith went to the courthouse to get a print of her marriage’s legal documentation, according to Chronicle Speak’s explanation.
The YouTuber claims she confirmed that the marriage certificate was valid after cross-referencing the document with the probate office. Additionally, a “clerk of court” reportedly noted that Edith and Ernesto were never legally divorced.
As probate records allegedly confirm that the first wife and Ernesto are still married, all the entrepreneur’s following three marriages, including the one to Shirley, are legally invalid.
The “wives” Ernesto had in between Edith and Shirley allegedly include Martha, whom he “married” 20 years ago, and Carole, whom he “wed” two years ago.
In South Carolina, marrying someone who’s still legally married to someone else, aka bigamy, is illegal and considered a felony. The punishment in that state for bigamy is as follows:
“On conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the Penitentiary for not more than five years nor less than six months or by imprisonment in the jail for six months and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars.”
In Georgia, where Shirley and Ernesto “wed,” bigamy is a felony, and one can be convicted for marrying a bigamist if they knew that person was married when the two tied the knot.
“A person convicted of the offense of marrying a bigamist shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 10 years,” notes Justia on Georgia law.
Chronicle Speaks claims the first wife said she and Ernesto went their separate ways after college because she couldn’t deal with his deceitfulness and cheating. Details about Ernesto’s marriages to Martha and Carole imply that those have ended.
As MadameNoire previously reported, Shirley and Ernesto tied the knot in 2015. The Nesto’s Buckhead owner and longtime barber proposed to Shirley on air, catching her by surprise, the year prior.
Shirley’s marriage blew up several weeks ago after conversations Ernesto had from behind bars with her — and separately with his mistress — took the internet by storm.
In addition to Shirley being caught on a recorded line talking about her boss, Steve Harvey, his wife Marjorie and their home, a separate recording aired out of Ernesto whispering sweet nothings and sexy talk to his mistress.
Shirley addressed her unflattering prison phone call with Steve during a Sept. 11 edition of her “Strawberry Letter” segment on The Steve Harvey Show.
Steve accepted her apology, and Shirley shared that her divorce from Ernesto is “underway.”
The entrepreneur was arrested in 2022 after facing gun possession, theft, fraud and child pornography charges. Now, he’s serving a 23-month sentence.
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