HomeEntertainmentMusicOn This Day: Johnny Cash Proposes to June Carter on Stage in 1968

On This Day: Johnny Cash Proposes to June Carter on Stage in 1968

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

Johnny and June were one of the most iconic couples in country music. Johnny Cash and June Carter were both accomplished musicians with successful careers under their belts. When they married, they melded their star power into a single entity. At the same time, they appeared to be the perfect love story from the outside looking in. Fans throughout the years have been in awe of the love that the couple shared. Their public love story started on February 22, 1968, at a venue in Canada when Johnny proposed in front of thousands of fans.

If you watched the Oscar-winning biopic “Walk the Line,” you’re familiar with the event. Johnny Cash and June Carter performed and toured together extensively. Behind the scenes, the duo was falling deeply in love. Finally overtaken with his feelings for June – and divorced from his first wife Vivian – Johnny popped the question while he and June were on the stage in London, Ontario, Canada in front of 7,000 fans.

Johnny Cash gave June Carter his last name a week later in Franklin, Kentucky. They were together for thirty-five years until June’s death in 2003. Johnny passed away just months later. They truly took their vows to heart.

No relationship is perfect. Johnny and June Carter Cash’s marriage was no exception. They had their ups and downs. However, they weathered every storm that came their way. That tenacity to stick together through thick and thin is what truly made Johnny and June’s love story so incredible.

Johnny Cash and June Carter: A Beautiful Love Story

Johnny Cash first met June Carter at the Ryman Auditorium in 1956 while both were performing at The Grand Ole Opry. Carter was singing backup for Elvis, according to Biography. Carter was aware of Cash because of Elvis. When she and the king played together in the South, Presley would take her into cafes and play Cash’s music on the jukebox for her. So, it was fitting that she was performing at the Mother Church when they met.

Johnny Cash was married to Vivian Liberto when he met June Carter. Despite his marriage, he was immediately smitten with June. She was a beautiful, young, and immensely talented artist. From all accounts, Carter was also sweet, funny, and easy to get along with. At the same time, she was born into country music royalty. Cash didn’t stand a chance. The poor guy didn’t know what hit him. The feeling was mutual. June was also married at the time. However, like Johnny, she was stricken upon their first meeting.

By the early ’60s, Johnny Cash and June Carter were touring together. Carter sang backup for Cash. They also performed duets together. Through working together, they began to fall in love. They fell hard and fast. In fact, when June Carter co-wrote Cash’s hit single “Ring of Fire.” Her feelings for him were the inspiration. They both knew they had no business loving one another. At the same time, there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Their Marriage

On the outside, it seemed like they were the perfect couple. Johnny and June performed, toured, and recorded together. They starred in “The Johnny Cash Show” together as well. However, things weren’t perfect behind the scenes. Johnny Cash had some pretty serious substance abuse problems. June stuck by his side and was his strongest supporter through his addictions. Over the course of their marriage, Johnny cheated on June more than once. However, they worked through it. Several times, Johnny referred to their love as unconditional. Despite anything either one of them did, their relationship stayed strong.

The imperfections in their relationship are what make their story so beautifully inspiring. They walked through Hell together and came out the other end hand-in-hand.

Later in life, when Johnny Cash was asked to describe paradise, he famously replied, “This morning, with her, having coffee.” This simple statement is just as much a testament to their love as any grand act of perseverance and support. Johnny and June truly were a love for the ages.