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Jett is the daughter of country music icon Hank Williams, Sr. and Bobbie Jett, whose brief relationship with Hank Williams occurred between his two marriages. She is a posthumous child; her birth on January 6, 1953, in Montgomery, Alabama occurred five days after her father's death on January 1. She was legally adopted by Hank Williams' mother, Lillian Stone, in December 1954, who renamed her Catherine Yvonne Stone. After Lillian died in 1955, the young Cathy was made a ward of the state of Alabama and subsequently adopted by parents who renamed her Cathy Louise Deupree.
Jett knew she was adopted, but she did not learn who her biological parents were until the early 1980s. Although Hank Williams had executed a custody agreement three months before her birth that gave him custody of his unborn daughter, she was forced to go to extreme lengths to prove the relationship and be recognized as Williams' daughter. Her older half brother, country music singer Hank Williams, Jr. was reportedly very slow to accept her as kin.
In September 1984, she met and retained Washington, D.C. investigative attorney Keith Adkinson to help her. Within days, he had a copy of the custody contract, and within months had conclusive proof Jett was defrauded for the financial gain of others. A lawsuit was filed based on this discovery. On September 28, 1986, Jett and Keith married in Washington. Adkinson passed away 19 June 2013.
In 1985, the Alabama State Court ruled she was the daughter of Hank Williams. On October 26, 1987, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled she was entitled to her half-share in the Williams estate, as she had been the victim of fraud and judicial error. Hank Williams, Jr. appealed the case in federal court, but the ruling stood when the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 1990.
Book and honors
In January, 2006, the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling stating Hank Williams' heirs — son Randall Hank Williams and daughter Jett Williams — have the sole rights to sell his old recordings made for a Nashville radio station in the early 1950s. The court rejected claims made by Polygram Records and Legacy Entertainment in releasing recordings Williams made for the "Mother's Best Flour Show", a program that originally aired on WSM. The recordings, which Legacy Entertainment acquired in 1997, include live versions of Williams' hits and covers of other songs. Polygram contended Williams' contract with MGM Records, which Polygram now owns, gave them rights to release the radio recordings. In October 2008, a selection of the "Mother's Best" recordings were released by Time-Life as Hank Williams: The Unreleased Recordings.
- Winford Turner (August 27, 1985). "Stone: I know Hank's my dad". TimesDaily. p. 5. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- Michelle Green. "Vindicated in court, Hank Williams's daughter, Jett, can claim a share of her father's estate—and his heritage," People, September 17, 1990 (Vol. 34, no. 11).
- Joanne Huebner (August 3, 1989). "Jett Williams to sing Hank's songs". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-06-18.[dead link]