Rosanne Cash is opening up about her childhood in a new interview, reflecting on her father, Johnny Cash, and his infamous affair with June Carter Cash.
“It seemed inevitable, though it was so painful for my mom,” Rosanne told PEOPLE of her mother, Vivian Liberto, who married Johnny in 1954. Together, the couple had four daughters, including Rosanne.
“My childhood was chaotic, number one,” Rosanne recalled. “I understood from a really young age that [my dad] was an artist and that his mind worked differently. And … that scared my mother.”
The 64-year-old called her father "the sweetest dad" but shared that his addiction, which she says started as a way to deal with exhaustion on the road, led to tension in the home.
Johnny wrote his song "I Walk the Line" about Liberto's fears that he would cheat on her while on the road, which came to pass when Johnny began an affair with country singer June Carter. Liberto filed for divorce in 1966 and Cash married Carter two years later. The couple had one child together, son John Carter Cash.
“He wrote, ‘I’m gonna stay true,’” Rosanne added in Ken Burns’ upcoming 16-hour docuseries, Country Music. “Of course that wasn’t true.”
Despite her father's affair, Rosanne does not resent Carter, who became an important figure in her life.
“I had two really good examples from women in my life," she said. "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 grew up to be a successful musician like Johnny, though she admitted that she didn't always think music would be her path.
“I didn’t think I could sing,” she recalled. “And I grew up thinking becoming famous was about the worst thing you could do. You went on the road, you started doing drugs and got divorced and didn’t see your kids and everything fell apart.”
Her music career ultimately helped heal her relationship with her father, with Rosanne sharing that her resentment towards her dad for his absence during her childhood was healed one night when he invited her on stage to sing "I Still Miss Someone."0comments
“He worked out all his problems onstage, and that happened with me that night with him,” she said. “It just all got fixed.”
Photo Credit: Getty / Stephen Lovekin