Immediately attracted to every other, the nation singers navigated rocky roadways before and throughout your marriage.

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Their story influenced iconic love songs and also was recreated in one Oscar-nominated film. Johnny and also June Carter Cash ended up being the torch-bearers the deep, passionate love – country-music style. However the lovebirds navigated turbulent waters leading up to and during their 35-year marital relationship which developed one son, multiple hit songs around heartache, adoration and redemption, and ended when they take it their final mortal bows within four months of every other.


They to be both married once they very first met

Johnny and also June first met backstage in ~ Nashville, Tennessee’s cool Ole Opry in 1956, despite it would be a dozen years before they would become husband and also wife. Carter had actually been aware of Cash v the references of Elvis Presley, v whom she had been to sing backup. “Elvis would make me go into these small cafes and also listen to john as soon as we played in the south – in the Carolinas and also all down v Florida and Georgia,” Carter reportedly said of exactly how she originally became aware of music’s guy In Black.


“I can’t remember something else we talked about, except his eyes,” she composed in the liner note of Cash’s 2000 crate set, Love, God, Murder, the their first meeting in ~ the Opry. “Those black color eyes the shone prefer agates… He had actually a command of his performances the I had never before. Simply a guitar and also a bass and also a gentle type of visibility that make not only me, however whole audiences become his followers.”


Cash remembers informing Carter he had “always want to fulfill her,” and also was conscious of her with her famous nation music family: her parents were Ezra Carter and Mother Maybelle Carter and also June sang and also performed as component of the Carter Sisters, a group composed that herself and siblings Helen and also Anita.


Both to be married come other people at the moment of that very first fateful meeting. Cash come Vivian Liberto Cash, through whom the had four daughters: Roseanne, Kathy, Cindy and also Tara. Carter’s first marriage was to honky-tonk singer Carl Smith and also the pair had one daughter, Rebecca. The marriage finished in 1956 and a year later on Carter married previous footballer Edwin “Rip” Nix. The union created a daughter, Rozanna “Rosie,” before the couple divorced in 1966.


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Carter admits they fell in love once it 'was no convenient' because that either of them

Cash and also Carter started working together professionally and also by the at an early stage 1960s to be touring with Carter singing backup and also as a duet partner. “Ring the Fire,” one Cash’s best-known recordings and also a huge 1963 crossover hit was penned by Carter and also Merle Kilgore, with Cash as the inspiration according come Carter. “I never talked around how I dropped in love through John,” Carter called Rolling Stone in 2000. “It was no a practically time because that me to autumn in love through him, and it wasn’t a practically time because that him to loss in love v me. One morning, around four o’clock, i was steering my vehicle just around as rapid as i could… i was miserable, and it all concerned me: ‘I’m fall in love v somebody I have no appropriate to autumn in love with’… ns thought, ‘I can’t autumn in love with this man, however it’s just like a ring that fire.’”


Cash to be struggling with similar feelings at the time, informing Rolling Stone that they had yet to say, “I love you,” to every other: “Because we knew what to be going come happen: That eventually we were going to it is in divorced, and also we were going come go with hell. Which we did.”

According to daughter Roseanne, there was already tension in the family members home as result of Cash’s ongoing battle with alcohol, amphetamine and also barbiturate addiction. Cash’s an initial wife and mom come Roseanne was likewise worried around her husband straying while on tour. Cash composed “I walk the Line” in 1958 around his then-wife’s fidelity fears. “He wrote, ‘I’m gonna remain true,’” Roseanne claims in the Ken Burns docu-series Country Music. “Of course the wasn’t true.”

Liberto would begin to doubt her husband of having an affair with Carter, and in 1966 filed for divorce, citing fidelity concerns and also his addiction problems as reasons. Cash and also Carter to be married two years later. “It seemed inevitable, despite it to be so painful for my mom,” Roseanne stated to People in 2019 the Cash and also Carter’s relationship.

READ MORE: 10 points You might Not Know around Johnny Cash

Cash proposed number of times before Carter accepted

Though neither ever before spoke of specifically how and also when their amorous relationship began, Cash make a an extremely public proposal to Carter after numerous previous attempts had actually reportedly failed. Carter lastly said yes as soon as Cash popped the question in former of a concert audience of 7,000 human being in London, Ontario in February 1968.

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Two years later Carter provided birth come a son, man Carter Cash, and also the pair blended your existing families. “I had actually two really great examples from ladies in my life,” Roseanne called People. “My mom offered me this powerful sense the discipline, family, mothering and also detail orientation. And June offered me this feeling of expansiveness and also how come live together a performer.”


Professionally the pair continued to carry out together, earning awards and also releasing duets consisting of “Jackson,” “The loving Gift,” “If i Were a Carpenter,” “No have to Worry” and “Long-Legged etc Pickin’ Man.” They likewise starred in and hosted The Johnny Cash Show, a television music variety series which aired on alphabet from 1969 to 1971.


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(L-R) man Carter Cash, Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and also Carlene Carter

Photo: Silver screen Collection/Getty Images


Cash stated Carter 'saved my life an ext than once'

“Unconditional” was words Cash regularly used to define the love he and also Carter had. She aided him ultimately overcome his addictions, gift there because that him during plenty of bouts the rehab, staying by his side with sobriety and when he returned to using drugs and alcohol. Carter fought her very own demons: She was a compulsive shopper and additionally became a serious prescription pill-popper, according to your son’s 2007 memoir, Anchored in Love: one Intimate Portrait that June Carter Cash.


Regardless, his parents’ “love because that each other lasted transparent their whole life,” man told Reuters in 2007. “They didn’t provide up… They accepted each other entirely unconditionally.”

“You listen that phrase a lot, yet it’s real with me and also her,” Cash said Rolling Stone that his “unconditional” love because that his wife. “She loves me in spite of everything. In spite of myself. She has saved my life an ext than once. … She’s always been there v her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain because that a lengthy time, countless times. Once it gets dark, and everybody’s gone home and the lights space turned off, it’s simply me and also her.”

An achieved entertainer in her very own right, Carter to be often shown in the press as existing in her husband’s shadow. “I was never ever looking ago in regret. I never thought, ‘Oh why didn’t I come to be an actress?’ or ‘Why walk I just go paddling follow me after John,’” she reportedly said of she life with Cash. “I’ve constantly walked along right by his side, and also he’s always supported everything I do.”


They died just 4 months apart

The couple remained with each other for the remainder of their lives. Carter passed away of complications following heart surgery on may 15, 2003, in Nashville. A devasted Cash passed away later that year, top top September 12, from complications associated with diabetes.

Cash provided his last live performance on July 5, 2003, in ~ the Carter family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. Visibly frail, he honored his freshly deceased wife between songs. “The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight through the love she had actually for me and also the love I have for her,” the said. “We affix somewhere in between here and also Heaven. She came down for a brief visit, i guess, native Heaven, come visit with me tonight to provide me courage and inspiration, like she constantly has… I thank God for June Carter. Ns love her v all my heart.”