Cher, also known as the Goddess of Pop, has graced our eyes and ears since she was one half of the folk rock duo Sonny & Cher. Cher transitioned from music to television and later to film, showing us that she is the definition of a triple threat. It was 1965 when she and Sonny started singing together, followed by their very successful The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour show. Sonny and Cher were a couple for the ages and showed a facade of two people who loved each other as much as can be. They shared a daughter together, Chastity, who later in life transitioned into a man, Chaz.
Cher has had several musical lives so to speak, meaning that she has had many hits that have had several years in between. Cher has been able to revive her career time and time again, most recently being the subject of a Broadway play! Cher has been married twice in her life, once to Sonny Bono and once to Gregg Allman. She has two children, Chaz and Elijah. Her film career has been as successful as her musical one. Cher has won an Emmy Award, Academy Award, Grammy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and a Cannes Film Festival Award!
Some of the films that have put Cher on the map are Silkwood, Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, Moonstruck, Mermaids, and Burlesque, to name a few. Her television appearances as herself way outnumber her film roles but her time in front of the big screen made her the revered actress that she is today. She can sing, dance and act, like we said – a true triple threat. Check out the little known facts about the life of the woman we know and love.
Cher and Tom Cruise dated
We have a tendency to forget that Cher, then 39 years old, dated young budding actor at the time Tom Cruise, then 23 years old. Cher once stated that looking back at the short romance, she really liked him! She said in an interview years later, “I was crazy for Tom Cruise!” She even said that she believed it could have been a “great big romance” if it wasn’t for their separate, hectic filming schedules at the time. Of course, Tom went on to become a mega movie star, and eventually married his first wife, actress Mimi Rogers, in 1987 followed by marriages with fellow film stars Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, which also both ended in divorce.
Sonny and Cher began as a folk rock singing duo in the mid-1960s. They rose to mega fame after their single, I Got You Babe, reached the number one spot on both American and British charts. After the two were slightly disillusioned with the level their musical career was going, they decided to venture into television, starring in their very own television show called The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which was also a huge success. The show was a brilliant move for Cher, shooting her into immediate stardom. Overnight, everyone knew her name and adored her bubbly personality. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour was nominated for several Emmy Awards.
Cher and Sonny
Cher and Sonny Bono met in 1962. He was working for Phil Spector, a record producer. Cher wanted to get her chance in the limelight and knew that by getting closer to Spector she could have her chance. When Sonny offered her a position as his housekeeper, she jumped at the chance. Cher started out singing backup but quickly ascended the musical chain to having Spector produce her first flop of an album, Ringo, I Love You.
Marry in secret
In 1964, Cher and Sonny married in a hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. While their wedding was not legal due to the fact that there were no witnesses (at all!), it was very much a real union for the couple. Cher was 18 years old and completely in love with Sonny. The couple exchanged vows and $10 rings that were engraved with each others names on them. The ‘marriage’ was secret when it happened and was not found out for a while.
Sonny and Cher welcomed their one and only child in 1972, a daughter they named Chastity. Audiences would see Chastity all the time on-screen as she was on her parents show often. Chastity was named after the film Sonny and Cher produced and starred in that had Cher in the role of a bicurious woman. It is slightly ironic that Cher would play a bicurious woman in the film that she named her daughter after since her daughter would grow up to have gender identity issues.
Surprisingly enough, Cher and Sonny had a terrible behind the scene (and bedroom door) physical relationship. Sonny stated, “we never had a good physical relationship.” and added, “I can’t blame it on her. Maybe I was the lousy lover. Maybe I was the biggest pain because I’m a real physical person.” Audiences would have never guessed since the couple had wonderful chemistry on-screen.
Navy was NOT amused
Cher’s 1989 hit song If I Could Turn Back Time produced a video where Cher is singing to a group of sailors wearing an extremely revealing outfit. The navy was very upset to learn that Cher’s video turned out that way as they were told that she video would show the story of a sailor receiving a letter and so on. Her on-screen outfit landed her in a bit of pickle with the navy folk, giving her a nickname she would rather not have.
Sonny and Cher became famous during the time of the hippie generation and were famous for their flower power style. They wore colorful clothing, covered with flowers and other patterns. However, over time, as the music industry and the American way of life was shifting, they lost their younger crowd to the conservative movement that came after the time of total freedom in the United States.
Separating from Sonny
What was once one of the most well-known and beloved couples in music, announced their separation in 1974. They were said to have had issues since 1972, however. Sonny said, “The public still thinks we are married, that’s the way it has to be.” Sonny filed for a legal separation, while Cher filed for divorce citing “involuntary servitude” and accusing Sonny of withholding joined earnings. The separation went from nice to worse in no time.
After Cher’s divorce from Sonny, she was one wanted commodity on the market. Other celebrities noticed, including none other than Elvis Presley himself. Presley invited Cher to a concert of his in Las Vegas in 1976. Cher declined the offer, reminiscing about it to David Letterman, “I was about to do it and thought “No, I don’t want to.” Continuing, “I’ve regretted it ever since!” They would have made a great couple but we think she dodged a bullet with that one.
A few years ago, Cher was discussing her past relationship with Sonny and the pain she endured during and after their breakup. She said she felt “more like a golden goose than like his wife…. I forgive him, I think. He hurt me in so many ways, but there was something. He was so much more than a husband – a terrible husband, but a great mentor, a great teacher.” Despite some less than positive memories, Cher has always stated that Sonny was the one who would push her to greatness.
During the time that Cher was divorcing Sonny, she had a relationship of two years with record executive David Geffen. While the relationship didn’t work out, Geffen was the one who helped Cher get out of her legal entanglement under Sonny’s company Cher Enterprises. Geffen was also the one who got Cher a $2.5 million recording deal with Warner Bros. Records. Essentially, Geffen was one of the biggest propellers of Cher’s career at the time.
Understandably, Cher’s personal life and professional life took a hit when she divorced Sonny. She needed time to herself and had therefore stayed out of the public eye. She remained unseen until 1979 when she came out with a new album that was more of a disco style one, called Take Me Home. She also landed a Las Vegas residency show from 1980 through 1982. At the time, Cher was earning $300,000 a week.
This was probably the quickest marriage-bounce in history as only four days after the singer divorced her husband, Sonny, she moved on to another musical relationship with rock star, Gregg Allman. That marriage didn’t last very long, in fact it took 9 days for Cher to file for divorce. They reconciled and had a child together. Their marriage was troubled, to say the least, and caused her to even cancel her show at the time.
She was a natural
Like many stars in Hollywood, Cher was a multi-talented performer and she also had a great passion for acting. Her acting debut was in the 80’s on Broadway until she moved to the big screen and starred in a film called Silkwood. The film earned her a Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, pretty impressive for an actress without much experience. There’s no doubt that playing alongside big shots like Meryl Streep got her a quick ticket to stardom. She later won an Oscar for Best Actress for the film, Moonstruck.
With success comes more success
It seems like her acting success just drew more and more positivity to her life because Cher was back in the spotlight, only this time due to her musical success. She recorded and released new albums and they all hit the number one spots. She decided to try her luck with tours and it turned out it was a good decision, not only was her 2002 tour eventually the highest-grossing tour that was performed by a female artist, she also signed a $180 million contract to perform at the famous Caesars Palace in Vegas.
Back to business
The woman did it all, but she was also very safe about her career choices. That’s why when she wanted to focus on acting she took a break from singing and vice versa. In 2010, after a seven year break from music, Cher took on a role in a musical called Burlesque where she co-starred alongside Kristen Bell and Christina Aguilera. While the film received mixed reviews, the soundtrack, on the other hand, was more successful and was nominated for a Grammy. Cher received critical acclaim both for her vocals and acting abilities.
The icon’s role model
Since she was very young, the iconic actress and singer knew she wanted to be part of the glitz and glam of Hollywood and she knew she would one day become an actress. Growing up, she thought of the wonderful Audrey Hepburn as her role model after Cher saw the actress act in the famous film from the 60’s, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Cher was almost obsessed with the actress to the point that she started to dress the way she did and imitate her behavior.
Auctioning off her belongings
You can only imagine the amount of things that an icon like Cher must own. Ten years ago Cher decided to auction off some of her belongings including paintings and furniture from her Malibu home. The auction included both personal and professional items like her memorabilia, costumes and jewelry. It all came to a total of $3.5 million, where a huge portion went to her charity, The Cher Charitable Foundation. Her bed, for instance, was sold for more than $80,000.
She left an impression
Ever since we can remember, Cher was known for her provocative fashion and her unconventional actions. Acting out pretty much became synonymous with the singer’s image. She behaved in a way that most performers at the time wouldn’t even dare, which, in a way, was part of her charm and why she drew so much attention. She was the opposite of the norm and it was noticeable in her clothes, her image and her entire presence.
Cher wasn’t a believer
Unlike the people around her, including her own husband, Cher didn’t have much faith in her abilities nor her talent. She might have seemed like she was aware of the environment with the way she dressed and acted, but when it came to her own self-esteem, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t at its top. She simply didn’t believe in herself and what she was capable of. She always felt not pretty or talented enough: ‘I couldn’t think of anything that I could do…I didn’t think I’d be a singer or dancer. I just thought, well, I’ll be famous. That was my goal’.
Coming out for the first time
The love-child of the pop-duo was named Chasity when she was born, after the film Cher starred in. When she was 18, she took a brave step and came out as a lesbian. Chasity is now a transgender man and goes by the name Chaz Bono. He always felt a little different growing up and once wrote ‘as a child, I always felt there was something different about me…When I was 13, I finally found a name for exactly how I was different. I realized I was gay.’
The big transition
When Chasity revealed she was transitioning in 2008 and made a public announcement, it made great headlines. Chaz, who began undergoing surgeries in 2008, is now identified as a man. His publicist confirmed his transition by saying: ‘It is Chaz’s hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his coming out did.
You would think that for such an extroverted personality like Cher, hearing about her own child’s gender reassignment would be an easy thing to swallow. However, Cher revealed that even though she was very accepting when Chaz told her about his transitioning, the idea later affected the singer. She said it was a somewhat strange thing to go through, as a mother. She was also scared she wouldn’t recognize her own child.
1998 was a tragic year for Cher when she learned that Sonny, her ex-husband, died in a horrific skiing accident. It was the same year that the musical duo has received a star on the famed Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Later, the singer released a memoir speaking about the events in her life, which she named ‘first times’. Many of these events included her late partner, and even though at first she thought about not mentioning him, she just couldn’t ignore those events.
It’s a known fact that celebrities make some of their money by endorsing different brands and some will even take on the most debatable endorsements in order to boost their career. In 1994, Cher launched a line of custom-ordered furniture. She also went on to star in informercials for hair products. This kind of an endorsement might have killed some celebrities’ careers, but that wasn’t the case for Cher.
Life is plastic
For years, Cher was an inspiration and a muse for many fashion designers due to her unique beauty and features. However, she didn’t always go the natural way and she admitted that she underwent different surgeries like a nose job, a breast augmentation, a facelift and more. She owned up to her beauty transformations when she said that ‘yes, I have had a facelift, but who hasn’t? I have become the plastic surgery poster girl.’
The death of a rock star
Despite the fact that Cher’s second marriage to Greg Allman knew many ups and downs, well, mostly downs, she was heartbroken when he passed away in 2017 at the age of 69. The couple, who was married for four years was closer than we can imagine. She said goodbye to the singer by tweeting ‘Words are impossible, Gui Gu.’ She also admitted that he made her the happiest girl in the world.
Six decades of Cher
Cher was honored with the coveted Billboard Icon Award in 2017. She was called “one of the most dominant figures in music and entertainment for more than six decades,” primarily due to the ease with which she was able to switch genres in order to appeal to a wide range of audiences. She attributes her luck and ability to both her mother and her ex-husband Sonny for believing in her and pushing her to greatness.
Cher was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus in the 1980s and has been feeling the effects of the sickness ever since. A form of herpes which leads to communicable mononucleosis, flare ups are debilitating and can cause the patient to be immobile for long periods of time. In fact, Cher was forced to cancel several performances on her “Dressed to Kill” tour because of these flare ups in 2014.
Cher has been using her place in the public eye in order to advocate for various issues which affect humanity. She has been at the center of anti-poverty initiatives the world over, fought for the rights of US veterans, and even has her own Cher Charitable Foundation. She was also instrumental in combating AIDS with Elizabeth Taylor when the two were at the Cannes Film Festival together.
Cher is known for having a crystal clear image and a clean personality. It is therefore quite surprising that she used to have a grand total of six tattoos, getting the first one inked on her body back in 1972. She started laser removal treatments to get rid of them in the 1990s however, and is still trying to get them removed. She wanted to get them because back in the 1970s only “bad girls” got tattoos. However, now that everyone has them, she views them as less cool.
She doesn’t age
Cher does not seem to have aged at all since the 1980s. How is this possible? Is she really a vampire? Well, it turns out it is because (as she claims) she does not smoke, does not drink alcohol, and eats really healthy and nutritious food. However, she admits that there is also a team of about 60 people who help her maintain her look and her figure. Maybe money really can buy you youth.
Cher had a documentary made about her mother by Lifetime back in 2013. Her mother, Georgia Holt, goes on to explain Cher and Cher’s family history. There are interviews by Cher’s mother, Cher herself, and Cher’s children Elijah Blue Allman and Chaz Bono. The film was released at the same time as Cher’s 25th album release, and was awarded the Women’s Image Network Award for Outstanding Show Produced by a Woman.’
Cher’s will in the making?
Cher herself is worth well over a quarter of a billion dollars as of 2017. However, people in the know say that she bought homes for both of her children and has divided up her holdings and estate amongst her various family members. Cher, who herself is not in the best of health, currently lives in Malibu taking care of her mother, while her sister was given Cher’s Malibu estate which is worth and estimated $2 million.
The marriage that never happened
Cher was in an on again off again with a member of the Hell’s Angel biker gang named Tim Medvetz. They apparently met through mutual friends and immediately clicked due to their mutual love of Harleys. Despite being 24 years younger than her, Cher and Medvetz really seemed to be in love with each other. They split for their first time because of Cher’s busy schedule, but reunited at the behest of her children. They wanted to get married in Vegas, but the couple didn’t make it.
Musical on Cher’s musical life
Cher announced in 2017 to her fans that her life’s story and saga will be continued ad infinitum through song and dance. There is apparently a broadway show which is set to be about her life, showing how she started out as a backup singer, going all the way through her marriage to Sonny and then show her through her various points in her life afterwards. The show should open its doors in 2018.
Born to be a star
Cher was always meant to be on stage and in the performing arts it turns out. Way back when she was in the fifth grade she organized students to put on a performance of Oklahoma which was to be put on for her teacher and classmates. She had to play the parts of all the men in the show however, since none of the boys in her class wanted to participate in the play.
Cher was set to become a solo artists by husband Sonny, but she just could not do it due to her crippling stage fright. That was the main reason that Sonny always performed on stage with her – because any time she would get stage fright and want to get off the stage, she would look at him and receive strength from his gaze. Can you imagine that Cher, who has played in nearly every country for decades, once had stage fright?
Cher’s her own harshest critic
Cher is her own harshest critic, always making sure that she conforms to the high standards she sets for herself. In a 2016 interview with Maria Shriver, Cher even admitted to not being her own biggest fan, mainly because she knows what her shortcomings are. But she also acknowledges how amazing it is that she was able to persevere and succeed in such a harsh industry.
The first auto-tuned single
Nearly every musician in the business today uses autotune in some way, shape, or form. So much so that it is impossible to hear and know their actual, natural voice. However, it was Cher’s hit single Believe – produced by Brian Rawling and Mark Taylor – when autotune really hit the forefront of Cher’s music, and she became one of the first ever people to sing whilst using it.
Cher’s style: everything
Cher has such a huge range of styles that it is in fact easier and quicker to say which styles and genres she has not sung. She has done everything from hip-hop to power ballads, disco, folk, pop, and even punk rock, amongst others. This is because Cher has always tried to remain relevant and in the public eye. She has also been able to stay en vogue due to her unique voice.
People want her body
Cher is in her 70’s, but she looks like and moves like a woman at least a half a century younger. People have speculated that she still looks so good after all of these years due to heavy amounts of plastic surgery. However, while she has indeed gotten some work done, she chalks up her youthful appearance to being healthy, eating healthy, and exercising all the time. She can even allegedly hold a plank for five minutes.
She’s super smart
Cher was not unique amongst those in the performing arts for being not only a hard worker, but a smart one as well. It is well known that she was a near-perfect student when she was in school. She is especially known as someone who excelled in both English literature and French language classes from a very young age. This drive has stayed with her throughout her whole life, and enabled her to stay attuned to what her audience wants over the course of two generations.
Entering the fashion world
If there is one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to Cher is that you really can’t stay indifferent to her looks and image. With her tall figure, her long black locks and bizarre (almost controversial) fashion, Cher was featured in some of the most iconic magazines. The former Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, noticed Cher at a party in 1967 and knew there was something special about her. She soon started modeling, which also helped boost her success in the entertainment industry.
Cher and KISS
Gene Simmons of KISS and Cher began dating in 1979 when Cher went up to him in order to get an autograph for her daughter Chastity. The two had a relationship for about a year, but agreed to have an open relationship and continue to be physical with other people. Cher did not seem to mind, but did say that she was crazy about Gene. That all changed however when Simmons met Diana Ross.
No (Christmas) dinner for you
Cher was not too pleased when her son Elijah told her that he was going to elope with his then fiancee Angie. She was so upset and angry at him for going against her that he was not even invited over for the holidays that year. However, Elijah knew in his heart that that was what he needed to do, and just views it as one more aspect of his rebellious spirit.
Cher’s real name
We were introduced to Cher as just, well, Cher, however she was born Cherilyn Sarkisian. She is of Armenian descent on her father’s side, while her mother is Irish English and German. Her combination of Armenian and European has made for the beauty she really was and still is. We liked that she shortened her name to Cher, absolutely easier to remember!
While it is true that Cher shot to fame alongside Sonny in 1965, it was only a year later that she released her first solo record, being in a duo and a solo career simultaneously. Her hit song with Sonny was I Got You Babe, while her solo hit song was Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). Her ability to handle herself in all situations is just inspiring.
We all know Cher is a multi-talent, that’s for sure (and the understatement of the year). She is not only an actress, singer and dancer, Cher is also a director! She made her directorial debut in 1996 with the film If These Walls Could Talk. Cher has always stated that she likes to dabble in all sorts of things, being a part of every aspect of the creation of a production.
Album after album
Like we mentioned earlier, Cher has this incredible ability to recreate herself and revive her career to new levels. In 2013, Cher came out with her first studio album in 12 years, Closer to the Truth. The album was her highest-grossing solo album to date in the United States. Somehow she did it yet again.
When Cher had a biography written about her, there were many people who wanted to put in their two cents. Mark Bego, the biographer, wrote “No one in the history of show business has had a career of the magnitude and scope of Cher’s.” Fewer words have ever been so true! Cher has come and gone several times over the years and every time she resurfaces she is anew.
Prior to the years we got to know Cher, it was her mother who was trying to make it big. Cher’s mother, Jackie Jean Crouch, was living with Cher in Los Angeles trying to make it as an actress while working as a waitress to cover the bills (sound familiar other beautiful ladies in Los Angeles?). We guess that’s where Cher gets it from.
We like to think of Cher as the first fashionista of her time. Her outfits for award shows and red carpets would go from artistic to completely outrageous, depending on the event. The press would talk about her outfit for days, achieving what we are sure was Cher’s plan all along. It was this black headpiece that she wore to the 1986 Academy Awards that got her a lot of press, not to mention her bare midriff.
As of today, Cher is worth a respectable $305 million. It’s thanks to her many career revolutions that she has earned such a statement of a net worth. From selling millions upon millions of albums, touring, Las Vegas shows, acting, and other endorsement deals, it makes sense that this hard-working woman would be worth 9 figures.
Cher sent her son away
Cher’s son Elijah is truly the troublemaker, saying that a lot of it stems from the fact that he was sent away from the family to boarding school at the young age of seven. He says that he felt that he simply was not wanted. This feeling of neglect led him to hard drugs by his teens, and he says that he worries about the type of parent he will be due to his troubled past.