Furthermore, Carter’s feelings for Cash ended up sparking one of the greatest country songs of all time in “Ring of Fire.” And in its lyrics, Carter quite dramatically described her emotions towards the still-married object of her affections. She explained to CMT in 2003, “I’m in a ring of fire… It’s going to kill me, because I would never have the nerve to tell him, nor do I want to tell him, nor do I want anybody to even know I’ve got these feelings.”
But she did have those feelings, and so did he. In 1968, moreover, Cash popped the question to Carter while an audience of 7,000 fans watched. And, just two weeks, later the pair married. It wasn’t all perfect, though. Cash had had to propose to her several times before she said yes, and there was also reportedly a string of women Cash had led on before the marriage, too.
And although there was no doubting the affection Carter and Cash had for each other, there were certainly problems. Even as Cash performed his famous set at Folsom Prison with Carter by his side, for example, he was struggling to overcome his demons. And although Carter tried to help him in his struggle against drug and alcohol addiction, she herself would later prove to be prone to substance abuse as well.