They both had their own personal battles to deal with, but they couldn't stop themselves from falling in love with each other.
The love between Johnny Cash and June Carter is one that the entire world witnessed and admired. The iconic couple fell in love with each other despite going through one of the toughest times of their life. But though it may not have been a "convenient time", the two couldn't help but give in to the connection they felt.
“It was not a convenient time for me to fall in love with him, and it wasn’t a convenient time for him to fall in love with me. One morning, about four o’clock, I was driving my car just about as fast as I could," June Carter told Rolling Stone. I thought, ‘Why am I out on the highway this time of night? I was miserable, and it all came to me: ‘I’m falling in love with somebody I have no right to fall in love with.’ I was frightened of his way of life. I thought, ‘I can’t fall in love with this man, but it’s just like a ring of fire.'”
Starting from the early 1960s, June Carter was a backup singer touring with Johnny Cash. They were both married to other people and going through their own personal battles, according to Town & Country.
“We hadn’t said, ‘I love you.’ We were afraid to say it because we knew what was going to happen: that eventually we were both going to be divorced, and we were going to go through hell. Which we did,” said Johnny Cash.
One of the greatest hurdles that they both held each other's hands through was an addiction. Cash was going through a tough time, battling with drugs and alcohol. He had even been arrested 7 times. It is believed that he was pushed to the point of taking his own life, but he gives the credit to Carter for helping him heal from his addiction. In February of 1968, Cash proposed to Carter in London in front of 7,000 people, and they soon got married, growing further in love and their music careers.
One of the most iconic symbols of the love they had for each other was the letter Cash wrote to his wife in June 1994 for her birthday. It was voted to be the greatest love letters of all time according to a poll, as reported by the Daily Mail.
After years of sharing their lives together, he wrote, "We got old and got used to each other. We think alike. We read each others [sic] minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes we take each other for granted.
"But once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met," he continued to write.
He put his love in the simplest way, but it packed so much meaning and was a reflection of why the couple's relationship was one of the most famous romances of all time. He ended by saying, "You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You're the object of my desire, the #1 earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess."
As they grew older, Johnny Cash struggled with health issues in 2000. But he was able to say that his wife “saved my life more than once . . . There’s unconditional love there. She’s always been there with her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain for a long, long time, many times. When it gets dark, and everybody’s gone home and the lights are turned off, it’s just me and her.”
They both leaned on each other for strength and support through the years. But one of the most tragic experiences for Cash occurred when June Carter went in for a heart operation but didn't come out alive in 2003, according to Spinditty. But even though he was heartbroken, he went on to record 5 new songs as a promise to his wife that he would continue making music even if she passed on. In July 2003, he performed for the very last time and sang Ring of Fire, which was a song that June Carter co-wrote with Merle Kilgore in 1963, singing about what it was like for her to fall in love with Johnny Cash.
That day, Johnny Cash said, “The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.”
Just a few months after June Carter's death, her husband followed her. Johnny Cash passed away in September 2003. He was buried right alongside his late wife, and they both laid to rest, leaving behind a great love story that was a turbulent romance, proving that there's no hurdle that's too big for love to overcome.