66 years ago this week, Johnny Cash met Vivian Liberto in Texas

On July 18, 1951, country music legend Johnny Cash met the “prettiest girl he had ever seen” right here in Texas.

No, it wasn’t in Austin, but just a little further south in San Antonio where the Man in Black met Vivian Liberto, his first wife.

Related: Johnny Cash’s legacy lives on in two Super Bowl ad spots

Cash was training at Lackland Air Force Base when he met Liberto at a skating rink. The young couple were known to walk along the River Walk during their courtship, according to the San Antonio Express-News

They dated for three weeks before Cash was deployed to Germany for a three-year tour with the Air Force.

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The two were married on August 7, 1954 at St. Ann's Catholic Church in San Antonio, one month after Cash’s discharge from the service. Check out the Express-New’s website for photos of their wedding documents.

Johnny Cash and Vivian Liberto married on August 7, 1954 in San Antonio. ((Wikimedia Commons)) (Wikimedia Commons)

Cash’s love affair with Liberto spawned one of his greatest hits, “I Walk The Line,” which was released in August of 1956 and spent 22 weeks on the charts, peaking at No. 17.

The couple would go on to have four daughters: Rosanne (who would later become a singer and musician in her own right), Kathy, Cindy, and Tara. 

Related: Read the poetry of the Man in Black in Johnny Cash’s “Forever Words”

Cash and Liberto were divorced in 1966. Liberto cited Cash’s drug and alcohol abuse, life on the road and affairs with other women as causes for the divorce.

Liberto was portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin in the 2005 biopic of Cash’s life, “Walk the Line,” starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash.

She wrote a book about the couple’s marriage, “I Walked the Line: My Life With Johnny,” in 2007.


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