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Johnny Cash’s first wife writing book

‘ I Walked the Line’ is due to come out early next year
/ Source: The Associated Press

The first Mrs. Johnny Cash had a line to walk, too, and before she died last year she told about it in a book that will be published early next year.

“I Walked the Line,” by Vivian Liberto Distin, is slated to arrive Valentine’s Day 2007, it was announced Wednesday by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster.

The book’s title plays off Cash’s hit song, “I Walk the Line,” which he wrote about Vivian. The same title was used for the recent Golden Globe-winning movie that focused on Cash’s romance with his second wife, singer June Carter Cash.

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.

The couple divorced in 1966 after 13 years.

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.

The book helped Distin find closure, her co-author said.

“She had never gotten over Johnny, so it was a journey of healing,” Sharpsteen said.

Cash died in 2003.