‘Johnny Cash was always jealous of Elvis’ June Carter told their son | Music | Entertainment

Did Elvis have an affair with Johnny Cash’s wife June Carter? (Image: GETTy)

June Carter and her husband Johnny Cash had one of the great (and tumultuous) showbiz relationships of all time and died within months of each in 2003. They had a tough road to love and happiness, waiting 12 long years while married to other people before they were finally able to be together officially in March 1968.

They were utterly devoted for the next 35 years – but before meeting Johnny, June was very close to Elvis when they toured together frequently in the early days of their careers. She grew up singing country music professionally with her family, while Elvis had got his start playing shows around the southern US with his bandmates Scotty Moore and Bill Black.

Elvis and Johnny, meanwhile, were both signed with Sun Records but didn’t meet straight away. June would later recall that Elvis liked to sing Johnny’s songs when they were together and even said he’d introduce her to Johnny, little knowing he would one day be her future husband.

June Carter in 1956, the year she met Johnny Cash (Image: (Image: GETTY))

June Carter performed with her family (Image: (Image: GETTY))

June said it was Elvis who first played Johnny’s music for her when they toured together: “He was stooped down on one knee and grasping a guitar trying to tune it to somewhere near the correct pitch to make a correct chord ring. (He would sing) ‘Everybody knows where you go when the sun goes down, Ah-ummm, Ah-ummm’ and he’d strike the guitar again. Plink, plunk: ‘Ah-ummm.’

“‘What are you trying to do? ‘ I asked. ‘I’m trying to tune this guitar, honey, and I’m trying to sing like Johnny Cash.'”

The King was singing one of Johnny’s earliest hits, Cry Cry Cry, as he tuned his guitar. June described how The King was already putting his own trademark sexy spin on everything: “‘Who is Johnny Cash? ‘ I asked Elvis Presley. ‘What’s the a-um-a-um for? ‘ ‘That’s what drives the girls crazy,’ Elvis said.”

Johnny Cash and June Carter in 1968 (Image: (Image: GETTY))

“‘I don’t know this Johnny Cash,’ I said, and Elvis said: ‘Oh you’ll know Cash. The whole world will know Johnny Cash. He’s a friend of mine’.”

“So the whole tour, my first with Elvis, we went into small cafes all throughout the south and Elvis played Johnny Cash on the jukebox while I fought off the girls trying to get through Scotty, Bill and I to Elvis.”

June and Johnny finally met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, in June 1956. He was about to go onstage to debut what would become one of his most iconic hits, I Walk The Line.

June said: “I found myself backstage trying to tune my guitar humming ‘Ah-ummm Ah-Ummm’, when all of a sudden, there he was! The voice was the same. Johnny Cash took me by the hand and said, ‘I’ve always wanted to meet you’.”

“The strangest feeling came over me. I was afraid to look him in the eyes. It was one of the things I did best. I never stammered and still found myself not able to say much of anything. I think I finally blurted out – ‘I feel like I know you already. Elvis plays you on the jukebox all the time and he can’t tune his guitar without humming Cry, Cry, Cry. Now he’s got me doing it.'”.

June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash felt a strong pull towards each other from the start, even though they were both married to other people at the time.

People actually speculated more about June and Elvis Presley back then. Elvis was famous for being close to many women, including those he worked with, and fans everywhere he went.

In 2008, June’s son John Carter Cash wrote a book about her life called Anchored In Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash. He shared his thoughts about his mum and dad’s feelings.

He said in his book: “Throughout my life, I would see Mom get a mischievous twinkle in her eye whenever she mentioned Elvis Presley. Her eyes would flash merrily, and she would say, ‘You know, son, your father was always jealous of Elvis.'”.

He added: “She even told me once that she sometimes wondered what would have happened if she had fallen in love with Elvis.”

Johnny Cash June Carter Las Vegas 1997 (Image: (Image: GETTY))

Mom and Elvis occasionally toured together, along with other performers, sometimes including Mother Maybelle and one or more of June’s sisters. The Carter’s were friends of Elvis, and there are stories about Mother Maybelle sewing buttons on Elvis’ shirts when they popped off during his wild onstage gyrations.

“Though Mom always maintained that she never had an affair with Elvis, Carl (her first husband) believed differently and perhaps for good reason. After Carl moved out of their Madison home, Mom would sometimes let Elvis stay at the house to ‘rest’ after a tour.”

June, of course, was always destined for Johnny. She divorced Carl in 1956 but the Johnny was still married and so she quickly tied the knot with Edwin Nix the following year.

She had a daughter with each husband, while Johnny had four with Vivian. He was also wrestling with drugs and alcohol throughout that period.

Elvis Presley life in pictures (Image: (Image: GETTY ))

June and Johnny’s infamous personal chemistry was channelled into a hugely successful professional partnership from the mid-1960s. She wrote his biggest hit, Ring of Fire in 1963.Both divorced their spouses in 1966 and they were finally married in 1968, remaining together on stage and off until they died.

June passed away on May 15, 2003 after heart surgery. Johnny died four months later. The life and love was commemorated in the movie biopic Ring of Fire, with Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix.

Tragically, June’s second daughter, musician Rosie, from her marriage to Nix, died the same year in October, from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning on her tour bus.

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