What Happened To Johnny Cash's Children?

For much of his decades-long career, Johnny Cash's personal life was as much a part of the conversation about the musician as his music. Indeed, as one of the original so-called "country outlaws," he lived the life he sang about, often battling drug addiction, as The Express notes. His relationships have also been part of the Johnny Cash narrative, including his toxic marriage to his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash, to whom he was unfaithful and inattentive, according to The Washington Post. Similarly, his marriage to June Carter Cash — though slightly romanticized in the 2005 film "Walk the Line" — was far from perfect, and also marred by substance abuse issues and infidelity, per Esquire.

Over the course of his two marriages, Cash fathered five children: four girls with his first wife, and a son with his second. All his kids have followed in their father's footsteps — if not necessarily into country music, then into the entertainment industry more broadly. Though none have achieved the same iconic level of recognition or fame as Cash himself, two of Cash's children are Grammy winners, including the popular recording artist and writer Rosanne Cash.

Rosanne Cash: Grammy winner, writer

Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash's oldest child with his first wife Vivian Liberto Cash, followed her dad into country music, had a few hits, and is active to this day, according to her website. Over her 14 studio albums (per All Music), she's won four Grammy awards and has been nominated for 16 in total, according to the Grammys website, most recently winning three in 2014 for her Americana album "The River & The Thread." She was honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame as its 2015 artist-in-residence, according to American Songwriter, and also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame the same year. Her Billboard-topping hits include "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party," "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me," and "Seven Year Ache."

Rosanne Cash also is the author of four books, including her best-selling memoir "Composed," about life with and without her father, as well as her own growth as a performer. She is married to the producer John Leventhal, according to Britannica.

Cindy and John Cash also went into country music

Cindy Cash, Johnny Cash's third child with Vivian Liberto, took a page out of both her father and her sister's books, appearing in films as well as performing as a country musician in the group Next Generation, which also included Cathy Twitty (daughter of Conrad Twitty), Patsy Lynn (daughter of Loretta Lynn) and Georgette Jones (daughter of George Jones and Tammy Wynette), according to Wide Open Country. The group, however, did not appear to last long.

John Carter Cash, the only son of Johnny Cash and the only child from his marriage to June Carter, followed a similar path. He primarily works in country music as a producer, winning a Grammy for his work on his mother's album "Press On" in 1999, according to CMT, and working with other musicians such as Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, George Jones, and Sheryl Crow. He also recorded several albums of his own music, beginning in 2003 with "Bitter Harvest," according to Country Thang Daily.

Carter Cash is also a writer, penning three children's books, a biography of his mother, and a memoir about his relationship with his father. In 2021, he welcomed his second child with his wife Ana Cristina (his fifth child overall).

Kathy and Tara Cash kept a low profile

Kathleen "Kathy" Cash had probably the lowest public profile of her siblings, appearing in a few movies (per IMDb) but otherwise living a life of relative obscurity. In 2005, as Country Thang Daily notes, she complained that "Walk the Line" inaccurately portrayed her mother, Vivian, as a shrew. 

"My mom was basically a nonentity in the entire film except for the mad little psycho who hated his career," Kathy said to Today. "That's not true. She loved his career and was proud of him until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home." Reportedly, she walked out of a family-only screening of the movie five times.

A 2020 documentary called "My Darling Vivian" also takes a look at Cash's first wife and their 13-year marriage. Pulling from interviews with the former couple's daughters, old letters, and photographs, the film is an homage to a woman who "faded into negative obscurity" after Vivian and Johnny split, according to Rosanne Cash (via Rolling Stone.)

Vivian and Johnny's youngest daughter Tara also appears to have chosen a life of relative obscurity, although she contributed photographs to a book about her father, according to Country Thang Daily. She has also done some work in costuming, as a designer for the TV movie "Nashville Beat" and a wardrobe assistant in the movie "Tennessee Waltz," according to IMDb.