The longtime friends shocked showbiz when they broke up after starring together for years in movies, radio and nightclubs.
But the skinny funnyman from New Jersey wanted to grow as a comedian and actor, while the handsome crooner from Steubenville, Ohio, wanted his own TV show, Lewis writes in an adaptation from "Dean & Me" to be published in the Oct. 23 issue of Parade magazine.
"I couldn't shake the childish hope that, just like a fairy tale, everything would be all better. But I knew that Martin & Lewis' days were numbered. Meanwhile, we continued to perform together, but we weren't really speaking."
Their last show was at the Copacabana Club in New York on July 24, 1956. Lewis says the nightclub was packed, and thousands of fans had gathered outside.
"Then we closed the book on 10 great years, with the exception of the last 10 months. Those were horrific, 10 months of pain and anger, uncertainty and sorrow."
Twenty years later, Frank Sinatra called Martin onstage while Lewis was doing the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in Las Vegas, but the former partners didn't reconnect.
Lewis, now 79, says it took the 1987 death of Martin's son Dean Paul "Dino" Martin, who was killed in a plane crash, to bring them close again.
Martin died in 1995 at age 78.