Johnny and June: The True Love Story Behind Music’s Complicated Couple

Valerie June Carter

Valerie June Carter was born in Maces Springs, Virginia on June 23, 1929. She was a musician born and bred as the daughter of Ezra and Maybelle Carter. Maybelle played with the successful country and folk band, the Carter Family, with June’s uncle A.P. Carter since 1927. By the time June was ten, she had started contributing her voice to the band.

Johnny Cash , Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash

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In the 1940s June, her mother and her two sisters, Helen and Anita, formed a group of their own: Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. They traveled the country, played radio shows, and eventually joined the Grand Ole Opry, a national country music showcase. It was with the Opry that June met Carl Smith, a honky-tonk singer whom she married in 1952. She was 23 years old. They had a daughter, Carlene, who herself became a successful country musician.

This was before Johnny came into the picture…