Johnny Cash’s first wife, the late Vivian Liberto Distin, will have her book I Walked the Line: My Life With Johnny posthumously released on Sept. 4 by Scribner Books. Before her death in 2005, Vivian told her story to TV producer Ann Sharpsteen, who shares an author credit on the book.
Vivian describes Cash’s early career, how June Carter entered their life and Vivian and Johnny’s divorce in 1966. Vivian is the mother of Cash’s four daughters. One of the daughters, Kathy Cash, says, “This book is the greatest part of my mother’s legacy as a wife, a grandmother, a matriarch, a mother and, most important, a woman in love.”
The book is based on thousands of letters exchanged by the couple before their marriage while he was overseas with the Air Force, co-writer Ann Sharpsteen said.
“The letters really reveal the real man, unclouded by drugs. Letters were his dreams, fears, a variety of subjects, fidelity, alcohol, faith. It’s like reading someone’s diary,” Sharpsteen said.
Kathy Cash, one of Johnny and Vivian’s daughters, said her mother visited her father in 2003 to tell him she wanted to do the book.
“He said, ‘Vivian, if anyone on this whole earth should write a book it should be you,”’ Kathy Cash said.
Distin was portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. According to Kathy, the portrayal was inaccurate and unfair to her mother. John Carter Cash, Kathleen’s half-brother and executive producer of the film, responded that he understood her concerns