Everyone finds a way to leave a mark on the world and while many do so through their profession, some do so through their personal lives, or through the offspring they bring into the world and Vivian Liberto made a significant impact by bringing four children into the world through her marriage to country music legend, Johnny Cash.
Although their marriage was not the happily ever after that was promised when they walked the aisle, it left a lasting mark through the birth of her children, one of whom is Rosanne Cash, who has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a singer and a songwriter.
We explore everything you need to know about Johnny Cash’s ex-wife and Rosanne Cash’s mother, Vivian Liberto below. Read on to learn more.
Vivian Liberto’s Biography & Ethnicity
On the 23rd of April, 1934, Vivian Liberto was born to a Catholic family in San Antonio, Texas. When she hit the limelight as the wife of Johnny Cash, her ethnicity became a subject of controversy as many argued she was black, contrary to the official claim that she is of Italian ethnic background.
She was born to Irene Robinson Liberto and Thomas Peter Liberto and was one of two children born to the modest middle-class family, with her only sibling being an older brother, Raymond Alvin Liberto.
Vivian Liberto spent the majority of her early life being a homemaker, raising her children as the wife of Johnny Cash. Beyond her role as a homemaker, Vivian was a three-term president of the Garden Club of San Buenaventura, a position she held in her later years and she also volunteered for a variety of charities, including an unwed mothers organizations in Los Angeles and a county hospital.
Vivian Liberto generally preferred to stay out of media attention but made a significant exception when she released her autobiography, I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny which was released in 2007. The book was a detailed account of her relationship with Johnny Cash, including the legendary letters.
Vivian Liberto’s Relationship With Johnny Cash
Vivian Liberto and Johnny Cash’s relationship is easily one of the most popular relationships in the entertainment industry. Before she had her daughter, Rosanne Cash and became the mother of the musician, she was known the world over as the first wife of legendary country music singer, Johnny Cash. The two met on the 18th of July, 1951 while she was 17 years of age in a roller-skating rink in San Antonio. They soon began dating afterward and were only together for three weeks before military duty sent Johnny Cash to Germany.
The distance was but a minor inconvenience in their love story and they overcame it by writing love letters to each other that reportedly lasted over 10,000 pages.
At the end of his service, Johnny Cash returned home and they finally got married on the 7th of August, 1954 in San Antonio, Texas. After they got married, Johnny and Vivian Liberto headed over to Memphis, Tennesse where they settled as a couple.
The success of Johnny Cash resulted in a relocation to California in 1958 where they both lived as a couple before their separation in 1966 and divorce in 1968. Vivian filed for a divorce from the singer because of his drug abuse and infidelity.
While they were together, Vivian Liberto had four children, their eldest, Rosanne Cash who was born on the 24th of May, 1955, Kathy Cash on the 16th of April, 1956, Cindy Cash on the 29th of July, 1959 and Tara Cash on the 24th of August, 1961.
After the divorce, Vivian Liberto got married for the second time to Dick Distin and the marriage lasted from 1968 until her death in 2005.
Other Facts About Rosanne Cash’s Mother
– Vivian Liberto’s daughter, Rosanne Cash, is a singer and songwriter who has been singing since the late 1970s. She has over 14 studio albums and a Grammy Award to her name. Her other daughter, Cindy Cash is an actress.
– Her ex-husband, Johnny Cash, sold over 90 million records.
– The love triangle that led to the end of her marriage with Cash, involved June Carter and was the subject of a movie, Walk the Line that was released in 2005.
– Sadly, on the 24th of May, 2005, Vivian Liberto passed away in Community Memorial Hospital after developing complications from a surgery for lung cancer. She was buried four days later on the 28th of May, 2005.