Rosanne Cash: Father Johnny Cash’s Affair With June Carter ‘Seemed Inevitable’
Rosanne Cash is opening up about her sometimes tumultuous childhood with her legendary father, Johnny Cash. In a new interview with People, the singer-songwriter says that her father's very public relationship with his fellow country star, June Carter, "seemed inevitable, though it was so painful for my mom."
Cash's mother was Johnny Cash's first wife, Vivian Liberto. She describes her childhood as "chaotic" as her father began to build a career as a rock and country star in the '50s and '60s. Ironically, one of his biggest early hits, "I Walk the Line," was a promise of fidelity to his wife.
“Of course that wasn’t true," Cash observes. Her father began an affair with Carter when they were on tour together, and Liberto filed for divorce in 1966. Cash married June Carter in 1968, after getting clean from his addictions, which his daughter says started due to exhaustion while he was out on the road.
Rosanne Cash says she didn't harbor any resentments toward June Carter Cash, despite the pain the situation caused her mother.
“I had two really good examples from women in my life," she tells People. "My mom gave me this powerful sense of discipline, family, mothering and detail orientation. And June gave me this sense of expansiveness and how to live life as a performer.”
Rosanne Cash went on to an award-winning and commercially successful career of her own, scoring her first No. 1 hit, "Seven Year Ache," in 1981. Her string of hits includes "My Baby Think He's a Train," "Blue Moon With Heartache," "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me," "Tennessee Flat Top Box" and more. Cash is also a multiple Grammy winner, including Female Country Vocal Performance in 1986 for "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me," as well as three wins in 2015 for her The River & the Thread album, which won Americana Album, while a song from the project called "A Feather's Not a Bird" won American Roots Performance and American Roots Song.
She has sometimes avoided talking about her iconic father over the years, but Rosanne Cash participated in interviews for Ken Burns' upcoming multi-part Country Music documentary, which is coming to PBS beginning Sunday (Sept. 15).
In the film, she says her any lingering resentment about her father's long absences on the road during her childhood vanished after he asked her to sing “I Still Miss Someone" on stage with him one night.
“He worked out all his problems onstage, and that happened with me that night with him,” she recalls. “It just all got fixed.”
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