Nell Jackson met Leo in 1959 and was with him until the day he died in 2008 -- a total of 49 years.
Joyce was only briefly "married" to Leo in the fall of 1964 as an unwed mother, and Nell even accompanied her future husband to the courthouse. Leo and Joyce never lived together and got divorced in days, by prior arrangement. She was pregnant at the time and Mary Reeves, in one of her less noble moments, coerced Leo into entering into this sham marriage by guilt-tripping him. She was afraid that people around Nashville would think Joyce's baby was Jim's (which even Joyce now says it was NOT).
Soon Joyce had a car and a home to live in (remarkable on a secretary's salary).
This is not a pretty story and I regret omitting it from my book. I intend to include more details when my book on Jim is updated.
Anyway, Nell Jackson merely went on Lani's Facebook page and pointed out that she was Leo's widow, without going into any detail. And yet she received an email from Lani telling her not to post there. Both Nell's message and mine were removed and we were banned.
So fans, what can one infer except that Mrs. Arnold didn't want the truth to be told regarding her friend Joyce?
For those who don't know, Lani is just one spoke in a very large wheel comprising heirs of Mary Reeves (which includes both her family -- the Whites -- and Jim's). Yet she waged a protracted legal battle against Mary's second husband, Terry Davis, that Julie and I supported publicly in the early years, in the misguided believe that the motivation was to protect Jim's legacy. We soon became disillusioned when we saw what was happening.
To their credit, some members of the Reeves family -- like Jim's nephews John Rex and Joe Max -- refused to participate in Lani's lawsuit which, oddly enough, was paid for out of Mary's money. There are a number of disturbing questions left unanswered about the course of this litigation.
The legal wrangling enriched the lawyers and Lani ultimately scored a pyrrhic victory after many years, but it left Jim and Mary's estate totally decimated and in shambles, and worth a fraction of the original value. The heirs are left with very little.
It was clear to many observers early on that the wisest thing to have done would have been to settle with Mr. Davis and thereby preserve Jim Reeves's legacy. Instead, Jim's estate was virtually destroyed, his memorabilia scattered to the winds, and what really has been accomplished?
In the course of my book research I spent many hours talking to Leo. He seemed obsessed with telling me the story of his brief "marriage" to Joyce and I have him on tape doing so in vivid detail. Leo was not a man to mince words and he was quite vulgar at times. When Joyce wrote her book she dedicated it to Leo and made it appear they were in love. This, of course, occurred after the poor man died and was no longer alive to refute Joyce's gross mischaracterization of their relationship.
Can you imagine how this further hurt Leo's recently bereaved widow, Nell? Joyce's public stance on this subject has been highly misleading, so much so that even some of Leo's distant relatives have recently reached out to her, naively believing she had a closer relationship with Leo than she actually did.
The fact is, Joyce was Jim Reeves' on-again, off-again secretary whom Reeves fired TWICE. (More on that later).
But Nell Jackson was Leo's WIFE of many years.
I am not stating anything publicly here that I have not directly confronted Joyce about in private. I also have court documents which back up my assertions.
For Lani Arnold to have banned Mrs. Leo Jackson from merely correcting the record online is an affront not only to Nell, but to the truth, and is surely reflective of Mrs. Arnold's ethics or lack thereof. The fans have a right to know that Leo and Joyce never lived together as husband and wife, and that these are documented FACTS.
I am posting a picture of Leo and Nell below...two of the nicest people God ever created. Leo always spoke of his wife, Nell, in the most respectful and loving way. But I must tell you he often referred to Joyce in contemptuous terms. I have no fear of contradiction regarding this because I HAVE IT ON TAPE.
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