These Two Men Shared The Same Heart, Then The Same Wife And Eventually The Same Suicide


Are you sitting down? This is one hell of a story, so strap yourselves in and try to follow as best as you can. Sonny Graham and Terry Cottle were not related, yet they ended up sharing one heart, one wife and both shot themselves in the head about twelve years apart. But that’s only the top layer of weirdness for this group of people.


Cheryl Graham had five husbands in total, we know this much is true. She was 21 when she married Terry Cottle, and he was the second, from what we have discovered. The photo shown above is from their wedding day in 1989.  Six years later, Terry held a shotgun to his chin and committed suicide in the couple’s Summerville home. Cottle was then on life support at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, so that his organs could be donated.

And who should be the recipient of his heart, but Sonny Graham.  A year later Graham wanted to thank the family of his organ donor and was put in touch with the widowed Cheryl Cottle, soon to be Cheryl Graham.

It’s all starting to make sense now, right? They corresponded via letters for several months before eventually meeting in Charleston some time during January 1997. Graham fell for the widow straight away,  but it didn’t all work out so smoothly as Cottle was already married.


In fact, he had been happily married to his wife, Elaine, for over 35 years and the pair had two children (shown in the picture above. From left to right: Daughter Michelle, Sonny Graham, and Son Gray). He and Cheryl began a fiery affair after he claimed to have fallen in love with her the moment he set eyes on her. Weirdly, not only did Graham acquire a taste for Cottle’s widow, but also beer and hot dogs – Cottle’s favourite foods.

They began a tempestuous affair, but Graham remained with his wife and Cheryl married her third husband, and became Cheryl Watkins. It gets weirder when you find out that not only did Graham and his wife attend the wedding, Graham actually gave Cheryl away in place of her late father. Crazy, right?

Cheryl then gave birth to Watkins’ child in January 1999, coincidentally around the same time that Mrs. Graham realised her husband of 35 years was having an affair.

It then came out that Cheryl’s third husband, George Watkins, already had a wife when he took her down the aisle, and their marriage was therefore annulled.

Cheryl then began living with Graham but they did not marry. In 2002 they separated and both sued for property.

In the midst of this court case, Cheryl got married. To someone new.

Husband number four was John Johnson Junior, an officer at the Georgia prison where Cheryl had been working as a nurse. SO Cheryl Watkins became Cheryl Johnson. Within a year, that marriage, too, began to crumble. In November, 2003, police were called as the pair accused each other of domestic abuse.They tried a reconciliation – but ended up struggling over a revolver after Cheryl had spoken of suicide. Mr Johnson said that she had told police he’d tried to shoot himself.

Mr Johnson also claimed that Cheryl was already wearing Mr Graham’s ring when their divorce became final. Cheryl married Graham in 2004. And went from being Cheryl Watkins to Cheryl Graham. It’s like they were meant to be, right?

Wrong. Three years later, Sonny Graham committed suicide. And again, it involved a shotgun blast to the head like Terry Cottle all those years earlier. And Cheryl Graham found herself as a widow once again.

Most ironically, Sonny Graham’s organs were all donated.

An old friend of Mr Graham’s, Tomme Hitton, said that shortly after his death, Cheryl, now 47, had a new boyfriend and complained that her fifth husband had died broke, leaving her nothing.

Did you follow all of that? We’re not sure we did either.

We think this needs to be a movie plot. What do you think? Let us know in the comments

Sources: x x x

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