- Vivian Liberto
Vivian Dorraine Liberto (
April 23, 1934– May 24, 2005) was the first wife of country musicsinger Johnny Cash, motherof singer/songwriter Rosanne Cashand the woman who inspired the song, " I Walk the Line".
Relationship with Cash
Liberto met Cash on
July 18, 1951at a roller skatingrink in San Antonio, Texasthree weeks before the Air Force deployed him to Germanyand while she was a high-school senior at St. Mary's Catholic school. During Cash's military tour overseas, the couple wrote each other over 10,000 pages of love letters, which formed the basis of Liberto's 2007 autobiography "I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny". [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/05/29/BAGV7D0HAS1.DTL "Vivian Distin -- first wife of Johnny Cash"] , San Francisco Chronicle, 29 May 2005.] On July 3, 1954, Cash was discharged from the Air Force, and on August 7, 1954, the two were married at St. Anne's Catholic Church in San Antonio. The couple moved to Memphis, Tennesseewhere Cash got a jobselling appliances door-to-door, and the following year their first daughter, Rosanne was born. She and Cash had three more daughters together: Kathy on April16,1956, Cindy on July29,1958, and Tara on August24,1961.
In 1958, Cash moved the family to
Californiaat the urging of new manager Stu Carnall. The move marked the start of what Liberto called "a dangerous current" running beneath their lives. Cash, began drinking more and taking pills, and when Liberto found receipts for thousands of dollars worth of gifts purchased for June Carter, Liberto said family, friends and some of Cash's bandmates confirmed her suspicions that Cash and Carter were openly having an affair.Fact|date=August 2008
Liberto first met Carter in 1958 at a music industry party in
Nashville, writing that within minutes of being introduced, Carter thrust out her arm and said "Look with every husband, my diamond gets bigger!"Fact|date=August 2008 Liberto wrote the encounter haunted her for years, and that she confronted Carter two times about the affair: the first over the phone, the second backstage at a show. "It was an ugly, tense five minutes of angry words, posturing, and June punctuating her position with five devastating words that rendered me speechless, 'Vivian, he "will" be mine.'"
Liberto thought a move to Casitas Springs in late summer 1961, two weeks after her last child Tara was born, would put an end to Cash's
behavior. However, it wasn't long after they moved there that their relationship ended. Liberto wrote, "That's when everything, I mean everything started to fall apart... I should have been relentless to save our marriage, as relentless as June was at destroying it." Liberto filed for divorcein June 1966, and it was finalized in 1967. Even after she had signed the divorcepapers she still had hope that maybe something would make Cash come to his senses. After filing the divorce papers she called him while he was on tour to ask if there was any chance for a reconciliation. Cash declined, and responded simply with, "No, it's too late". [http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/nov/18/they-walked-the-line Johnny Cash's first wife tells of romance, heartbreak] ]
marriedRichard "Dick" Distin on January 11, 1968in Las Vegas, Nevada, and moved to Ventura, California, where she was an active member of the community.
In 2004, Liberto fought to get a memento of her romance with Cash — a bench into which Cash had carved the words "Johnny Loves Vivian" in 1951.
San Antoniocity officials declined her request and placed the bench in a storage facility.Fact|date=August 2008
July2003, Liberto visited Cash to tell him about a book she was writing that detailed their life together. When she asked for his blessing, he told her "Viv, I've been thinking for years, if anyone on this planet should write a book about me, it should be you. It's time."Fact|date=August 2008 Cash planned to write the book's foreword, but died before he had the opportunity. Her memoir entitled "I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny" was released in September 2007.
Liberto died on
May 24, 2005, of complications from surgeryto remove lung cancerat the age of 71, on the same day as her daughter, Rosanne's 50th birthday. She is buried at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, California.
She was portrayed by
Ginnifer Goodwinin the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic, " Walk the Line". Kathy Cash, one of Liberto's daughters, criticized the film's portrayal as inaccurate and unfair to her mother. John Carter Cash, Kathy's half-brother and executive producer of the film, responded that he understood her concerns. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4427314.stm "Johnny Cash film angers daughter"] , BBC News, 11 November 2005.]
*Cite book | author=Vivian Cash | authorlink= | coauthors=Ann Sharpsteen | title=I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny | date=September 4, 2007 | publisher=Scribner Hardcover | location= | isbn=978-1416532927| pages=
* [http://www.iwalkedtheline.com/forum I Walked the Line forum]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=sh&GRid=11025335 Vivian Dorraine Liberto Cash Distin memorial] ,
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