Johnny Cash Estate Drops Dark Photo of Him and June Carter Backstage During His First Grand Ole Opry Performance

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo: Sony Music Archive via Getty Images/Tom Sheehan)

Johnny Cash made his Grand Ole Opry debut sixty-five years ago today. However, something more monumental happened that night. Cash met June Carter for the first time while backstage at the Opry. Today, we look at Johnny and June as one of country music’s most epic love stories. People, including June herself, have written songs about their love. An entire movie was made about it. It’s undeniable, there was something special between them and they both knew it from the start.

Earlier today, Johnny Cash’s estate made a post that celebrated both of those momentous occasions. The photo shows Johnny and June the night they met. It’s too dark to see who else is in the picture. However, there are definitely a couple of musicians in the foreground. It could be Cash’s Tennessee Two. However, the photo’s focus is crystal clear. The two soon-to-be lovers stand in the best-lit portion of the room. It makes you wonder if the photographer knew they were capturing a special moment in history. Check out the photo below.

In the caption, it notes that Johnny Cash made his Opry debut and met June Carter on this day in 1956. However, the best part of the caption comes in the form of a quote from Mrs. Carter-Cash. It says that she couldn’t remember what they talked about that night. All she could remember were Johnny’s eyes.

Johnny Cash and June Carter’s Love Story

We’ve established that Johnny Cash met June Carter in July of 1956. However, their journey from a magical spark to a full-on ring of fire was a slow burn. It had to be.

Johnny Cash and June Carter were both married at the time. So, even though they felt the hand of fate pushing them together, they couldn’t give in just yet. However, they embarked on a tour together in the early sixties. That tour forced them to be together both on stage and off. She sang backup for him, they did duets, and June performed solo. At the same time, they traveled the country together. The spark started to smolder.  

Over the next few years, Johnny Cash and June Carter continued to work together. Their feelings for one another continued to grow. At the same time, they had both left their previous marriages. At this point, that smoldering spark was allowed to become a flickering flame.

Then, on February 22, 1968, Johnny Cash threw fuel on the fire and made their love public. He proposed to June onstage in front of thousands of fans at a venue in London, Ontario, Canada. Then, they tied the knot a week later in Kentucky.

Their marriage wasn’t perfect. Johnny Cash was a flawed man. He was addicted to drugs and women. However, June Carter-Cash stuck with him through it all. Eventually, Cash settled down, became a one-woman man, and kicked his habits. They were married until June died in May of 2003. Johnny followed her to Glory in September of that same year.