Happy Birthday, June Carter Cash!

JuneCarterCash MichaelOchs
(Photo: Getty / Michael Ochs)

Happy birthday to the late June Carter Cash. The country music legend and second wife of Johnny Cash would have turned 88 years old today.

Carter Cash, who's first name is actually Valerie, was predestined to be a performer. She was born into the first family of country music — her mother, Maybelle, along with her mother's sister Sara and brother-in-law A.P. Carter, formed a band in 1927 and are believed to be the first commercial rural country music group, according to IMDB.

Carter Cash learned to play the autoharp and rhythm guitar and joined her sisters, Helen and Anita, to perform as the Carter Sisters. Carter Cash, in particular, was a hit with audiences because she brought comedic wit and a perky charm to their shows.

Carter Cash married her first husband, Carl Smith, in 1952 and the couple had one daughter together, Rebecca Carlene, born in 1955, according to CMT. After their divorce in the latter part of that decade, Carter Cash started touring with Elvis and tried her hand at acting. She also met and married Nashville police officer Rip Nix and they had one daughter together, Rosie.

In 1961, Carter Cash returned to the stage and joined Johnny Cash's road show. Two years later, she co-wrote the song, "Ring of Fire" and Cash, the alleged inspiration for the tune, made it a number one hit. Their chemistry was undeniable and the two finally got married in 1968 after Carter Cash divorced Nix and Cash left his first wife. The man in black also credited Carter Cash with forcing him to shake his drug addiction and saving his life.

The couple had a number of hits, including "It Ain't Me Babe," "Jackson" and "If I Were a Carpenter." They also had one son together, John Carter Cash, in 1970.

In the 1980's and 90's, Carter Cash stepped out of the musical spotlight; however, she wrote two autobiographies and dabbled once again in acting.

Just before the turn of the century, Carter Cash released the album Press On, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album, according to Biography. She also released Wildwood Flower in 2003, which earned her two more Grammys.


On May 15 of the same year, Carter Cash passed away following complications from heart surgery. Her husband died four months later.

In 2005, the legendary couple's son helped bring their love story to the big screen. Starring Reese Witherspoon as June and Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny, Walk the Line was released to rave reviews. Witherspoon won an Academy Award for her portrayal.