Since 1963, the Goddess of Pop has been dominating the charts and the big screen. With her personal life laid out for all to see, Cher has shown what it means to be a strong, female role model. As one of the best-selling music artists in music history, we’re here to honor Cher’s ever growing legacy. So sit back, relax while we “Turn Back Time” to dish out some facts about Cher that you didn’t know.
Once Upon A Time
Way back when, Cher and Tom Cruise actually dated! It was the 80’s, Cher was 39 years old while Cruise was 23. But as the saying goes, age is but a number. Anyways, Cher has been smitten with Cruise for quite some time! In an interview back in 2008, Cher said, “He [Tom Cruise] was in the Top 5.”
How We Met
1962 may mean nothing to you but to Cher, that’s the year she met Sonny. At the time, Sonny was working for Phil Spector, the record producer, and he offered Cher a job – as his housekeeper. Now Cher agreed to be Sonny’s housekeeper in the hopes that she could get closer to Spector.
Ahem, Cher started as just a backup singer, particularly for the Ronettes’ and their tune “Be My Baby”. But speaking of Spector, he produced her first unsuccessful single titled “Ringo, I Love You” but all under the name Bonnie Jo Mason.
Psst, I Do
Official, traditional weddings be darned, Sonny and Cher were madly in love – and they didn’t conform with society’s “rules”. Which is exactly why they tied the knot in Tijuana, Mexico in their hotel room! With no friends, family, or even a minister, in 1964, the duo said “I Do.” Cher was just 18 when they exchanged their $10 souvenir rings to bless their ‘marriage’. Oh, the rings were engraved with each other’s names.
Our Daughter, Chastity
In 1972, the daughter of Sonny and Cher was born, Chastity. Fans practically grew up with Chastity as she often appeared on Sonny and Cher’s TV show. Although you’re probably wondering where she got her name from! It’s actually from the movie that Sonny and Cher produced, Chastity. In the film, Cher plays a bisexual woman and we guess that the art imitates life as Chastity reveals her inner gender struggles when she gets older.
Physically, It’s A No
Even though Sonny and Cher had a strong relationship and a fantastic career together, Sonny said later on that their intimate relationship didn’t exist much. Sonny explained, “We never had a good physical relationship.” He also 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.”
During the 60’s, Sonny and Cher cemented their reputation as a “flower power” duo. Of course their clothes, hairdo’s, and makeup only helped hammer the point home. However as American pop culture quickly changes, the duo lost their charm and appeal to their young audience. Specifically because it was now the rise of the sexual revolution and drug culture and that so wasn’t Sonny and Cher.
I Got You, Babe
After Sonny and Cher’s song “I Got You Babe” reached the number one slot on both American and British charts, everyone was raving about this new rock duo. Toward the end of 1967, they had actually sold 40 million records worldwide and according to Time magazine, they were rock’s “it” couple.
Unfortunately, Sonny and Cher’s relationship hit a few bumps in the road but they still showed a united front. Until 1974 rolled around. In Sonny’s diary at the time, he penned, “The public still thinks we are married, that’s the way it has to be.” Not long after though and Sonny filed for separation claiming ‘irreconcilable differences’ for the reason why. Just a week later and Cher files for divorce and charges Sonny with ‘involuntary servitude’ as she claims he is “withholding money and depriving her of their shared earnings”.
Following their divorce, Cher gave a few interviews where she revealed her pain – especially when it came to Sonny. See, Cher said that while Sonny encouraged her, he was incredibly harsh. In fact, she felt like she was “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.”
At his concert in Las Vegas in 1976, Elvis Presley invited Cher to attend, to which she replied, “No.” In a recent interview with David Letterman, she said “I was about to do it and thought “No, I don’t want to.” She then added, “I’ve regretted it ever since!” Sigh, what could have been, eh?
Following her divorce proceedings. Cher began a two year relationship with David Geffen, a record executive. Geffen released Cher from her business arrangements with Sonny, where she had to work exclusively under Cher Enterprises, the company he ran. As a result, Geffen launched Cher’s career even more and in 1975, he secured a $2.5 million deal with Warner Bros. Records. While their relationship didn’t work out, many claim that Geffen built Cher’s musical empire.
Understandably, Cher’s divorce really devastated her and with her personal life scrutinized by the public, she needed a break. Therefore Cher took a break from the entertainment industry and laid low. However in 1979, she a comeback with her new album “Take Me Home”, a disco-orientated album that earned her $300,000 per week. She had a residency show in good ol’ Las Vegas from 1980 until 1982. Additionally, she took on other ventures such as film.
I Do, Two
(Before anyone cringes at the “two” in the title, just read on and you’ll understand). Four days after Cher’s divorce was finalized from Sonny, she married the rock musician Gregg Allman. However just nine days after they exchanged vows, the duo filed for divorce – Allman’s hard drug and alcohol addictions played a major fact in the quick divorce. But the roller coaster continues as they reconciled within just a month. In 1976, Cher welcomed her second baby, with Allman, Elijah Blue.
At this point, Cher saw a decrease in album sales so she decided to develop her acting career. Therefore she auditioned for and then was signed by the director Robert Altman for the Broadway stage productions of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. Moreover Cher credits Altman for having launched her acting career, “Without Bob [Robert Altman] I would have never had a film career. Everyone told him not to cast me … I am convinced that Bob was the only one who was brave enough to do it.
When Chastity turned 18, she came out as a lesbian. To explain her decision to do so, she said, “As a child, I always felt there was something different about me. I’d look at other girls my age and feel perplexed by their obvious interest in the latest fashion, which boy in class was the cutest, and who looked the most like cover girl Christie Brinkley. When I was 13, I finally found a name for exactly how I was different. I realized I was gay.”
Chastity To Chaz
No doubt you remember that in 2008, Chastity revealed that she was transitioning into Chaz and now identifies as a male. His publicist said, “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.” Then in May 2010, the California court finally granted his request for a gender and name change.
While Cher is completely accepting of Chaz’s decision, she did admit that it affected her. Stating that it was actually “a strange change for a mother to go through”. Furthermore Cher admitted that she was afraid to see Chaz at first because she was terrified she wouldn’t recognize him – she still has his old answering machine greeting.
Unfortunately in 1998, Sonny passed away due to a freak accident while he was skiing. Just that same month, Sonny and Cher received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Later that year, Cher published a book which talks about all of the ‘first-time’ events in her life. Many of the pages include Sonny and while she had finished the book before Sonny’s death, she debated adding his death in her book. “I couldn’t ignore it, could I? I might have if I cared more about what people think than what I know is right for me.”
All throughout Cher’s career, she has been asked just how she maintains her stunning figure. While most people assume it’s down to plastic surgery, Cher has firmly said that all she does is regularly work out and keep a strict diet.
Queen of Social Media
If you’re not following Cher on social media then boy are you missing out! With over 3 million Twitter followers and 2 million Facebook followers, she is up there with the best of them. Doesn’t matter if she’s 71, Cher is a walking legend.
Cher’s Net Worth
Not only does Cher have a successful music career but also a successful film career – both of which she developed in her many years in show business. Which is why we’re not surprised to learn that her net worth is that of $305 million. Come on guys, she does have a Grammy, an Emmy, an Academy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and also a special CFDA Fashion Award. There are actually even more but we won’t bore you with the whole list.
Outside of her career in music and acting, Cher is also heavily vocal about her political views. Furthermore, her philanthropic endeavors and social activism are incredibly touching, especially her activism for LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Cher VS Donald Trump
Speaking of being vocal about her political views, Cher is not a fan of President Donald Trump. And she isn’t afraid to talk about it either. Cher is a proud Democratic and she was especially vocal for her support for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. Now Cher has taken to Twitter to discuss her “disgust” with Trump, in fact she’s called him a racist. Ahem, in true Trump fashion, he hit back on Twitter, “@cher should spend more time focusing on her family and dying career!”
NO, NO, NO
In fact, her reaction to Donald Trump’s victory was simply put, “It’s like there’s a death in my family.” She really doesn’t hold back!
In the year 1989, Cher caused a huge stir when she released her video for the single “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Basically the video showed Cher signing to a bunch of sailors, which sounds just dandy. Until we mention that she wasn’t exactly wearing an appropriate outfit. Later on, the Navy expressed just how they were dismayed as they were told that the video would show a sweet tale of a sailor who gets a love letter. However, her provocative outfit (which includes a leather jacket and sheer body stocking) caused tons of controversy instead. So much so that MTV only aired the video at night.
So Cher was actually born with the name Cherilyn Sarkisian. YUP. Later, she would change it to just ‘Cher’. Growing up, she didn’t have the easiest life. Her mom Georgia Holt (born Jackie Jean Crouch), married and divorced numerous times. Therefore Cher grew up in a tough environment. As a family, they moved a lot and always had little money. Once Cher recounted that she had to use rubber bands just to hold her shoes together. At one point, Georgia left her at an orphanage for many weeks.
When I Was Young
Growing up, The Goddess of Pop was fascinated by film stars, her role model was Audrey Hepburn. That’s when she began to dress in unconventional outfits and took on the behavior of Hepburn’s character. Furthermore, she was disappointed by the lack of dark-haired actresses as she could not emulate them. Of course Cher always wanted to be famous but felt unattractive and untalented, saying later on, “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.”
Private School Life
After her mom married the bank manager Gilbert LaPiere, she was enrolled at a private school in Encino, whose students came from mostly affluent families. Meaning that Cher really stood out, in fact the biographer Connie Berman wrote, “[she] stood out from the others in both her striking appearance and outgoing personality.” A former classmate said, “I’ll never forget seeing Cher for the first time. She was so special … She was like a movie star, right then and there … She said she was going to be a movie star and we knew she would.”
When Cher was 16, she dropped out of school, left home, and moved to Los Angeles with a friend. In LA, she took up acting classes and worked odd jobs o support herself. While dancing at small clubs along the Hollywood Sunset Strip, she would introduce herself to all of the performers, managers, and agents. According to Berman, “[Cher] did not hesitate to approach anyone she thought could help her get a break, make a new contact, or get an audition.”
After recording “I Got You Babe”, Sonny and Cher traveled to England in July 1965 at the advice of the Rolling Stones. Later, Cher said, “[they] had told us … that Americans just didn’t get us and that if we were going to make it big, we were going to have to go to England.” Moreover, the writer Cintra Wilson explained that, “English newspaper photographers showed up when S&C were thrown out of the London Hilton [because of their outfits] the night they arrived—literally overnight, they were stars. London went gaga for the heretofore-unseen S&C look, which was neither mod nor rocker.”
For a while Sonny and Cher weren’t producing successful hits and encountered serious financial difficulties from their IRS debt. Therefore the duo developed a cabaret act, which also included tons of humor, eventually this lead to their very own variety program in 1971. Yes, we do mean the Emmy-nominated The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which was on air until 1974. Thanks to the show, their musical career took off again with hits like “All I Ever Need Is You” and “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done.”
Troubles Behind the Scenes
Behind-the-scenes tensions ran exceptionally high. Years later, Cher described Sonny as rigid and controlling when it came to handling business. The following year, and the duo divorced, as mentioned. That’s when Cher had her own Emmy-nominated TV show, from 1975-76.
Not only was she pushing the boundaries with her music but also her wardrobe! Many of her outfits were unusual, extravagant, and often than not, barely-there. More often that not, she used her outfits to make a point – like at the 1986 Academy Awards. She wore the famous black chain-link halter and a feather headdress, which to hear was in protest when she didn’t receive a nomination for her work in the film Mask.
Ahem, Cher opened up about her feelings toward Madonna in an interview so long ago, “I never hated her, I just thought she was a b**ch. Actually, I quite respect her. Actually, I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I’ve known. I don’t like everything she does, for sure, but she is always riding the crest of the wave. She always saw trends WAY before anyone else, and had great videos.”
Granted, she also had to speak up on why she dates younger men more often than not. To which she said, “Older men rarely liked me. If it wasn’t for younger men, I would never have a date.” Oh.
So, So Good
When she performed her hit single “Believe” for the first time, it was on the Late Show with David Lettermanon November 18, 1998. And guys, the performance was darn memorable that CBS actually re-aired the episode in 2007.
Swing And A Miss
Bobby Russell, the songwriter, originally offered the song “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” to Cher to record. However, when Russell brought the demo recording, she was out shopping and therefore asked Sonny to give it a listen. Which he obviously did – however Sonny informed Russell there was no way he’d let Cher sing the song as he felt it would cause her to lose her fan-base in the South. As a result, Russell gave it to his then wife Vicki Lawrence who not only made it a hit but it also topped the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than a million copies.
Once Sonny and Cher divorced in 1974, he was forced to pay her $25,000 a month for six months and $1,500 a month for child support. Furthermore, he also had to pay $41,000 for her attorney’s fees. All of their liquid assets split 50/50. Lastly, Cher got their Bel Air mansion while Bono got the Aspen condo, the Palm Springs house, and one more place in LA.
In 1997, Cher was the subject of an entire episode of The X Files, titled “The Post-Modern Prometheus”. The episode followed a man who was deformed and adored Cher because of her film role in Mask, where her character took care of her deformed son. Many of Cher’s songs appeared on the soundtrack, like “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”. At the very end of the episode, Mulder and Scully go a Cher concert, with the deformed fan when they hear her sing “Walkin’ in Memphis”. In real life Cher is a big fan The X-Files fan, and producers asked if she would play herself in this scene but she declined. Years later while on The X-Files Movie Special, she admitted that after the episode had aired, she truly regretted not appearing in it.
Just in case you didn’t know, she has had cosmetic work done. Such as a rhinoplasty, AKA a nose job. There are other surgeries as well but she isn’t all that open on what they are.
Get this, Cher and Barbra Streisand are the only two female performers who have this particular honor. In the United States, they are the only two performers who have had a #1 hit and have also won a competitive Oscar. #girlpower
Back in 2002, a Rolling Stone article estimated her wealth at more than $600 million. However since 2002, she has been on a widely successful farewell tour that is actually still going. Plus she released a greatest hits CD which spent weeks in the Billboard Top 10.
Welp, here’s an understandable one for you! Our dear Cher legally changed her name from…”Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre Bono Allman” to just “Cher”. Yeah, we get it.
This Halloween (yes we mean 2017) Kim Kardashian dressed up as Cher and Cher LOVED it. In fact, she tweeted about her love for the outfit, “@KimKardashian Woke To See You Are Me 4 🎃
You Look BEAUTIFUL Little Armenian Sister💋 Dream Of India”Is Perfect 4U,&@BobMackie at his best.”
While in England, she recorded the song “Believe,” which earned the No. 1 slot in 23 countries. But who could have guessed that Cher would earn such an honor at age 52 with a song that she actually hated?! AND in a style that she actually didn’t want to sing. Additionally recording the song was “a nightmare” — she even fought with the producer Mark Taylor, and afterwards she stormed out of the studio as she so upset. As a result, he used Auto-Tune to give it a more modern feel. And that my friends was THE biggest single of 1999.
So on Twitter, just like in her concerts, Cher has accepted what people, her fans, want from her. “My idea, every night before I go onstage, is that this is a gift I was given, and can give to people. While they’re watching my show, they don’t have to think of anything else. It’s something that makes people feel good. That’s all I do — make people feel good.”
The Big Screen
If you haven’t already heard, there’s a sequel coming out! For none other than the ABBA movie musical, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!. And yeah, the great Cher has been added to the cast! She’ll join returning cast members of Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Julia Walters, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Dominic Cooper, Pierce Bronsan, and Stellan Skarsgård.
Not Her Biggest Fan
When sitting down to speak with Billboard, Cher made a startling confession. “I’m not a Cher fan,” she said bluntly. Apparently she felt truly ashamed of her pop songs back in the 70’s – such as “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves,” “Half-Breed,” and “Dark Lady”. She wanted to have a sound similar to Joni Mitchell or the Eagles. “I just don’t think my aesthetic taste lies in her direction.”
In that Billboard interview, she got tons more specific. How? Oh just by calling 1995 album, It’s a Man’s World, “crap.” She then added, “I don’t remember what’s on it — I didn’t like any of it.”
Don’t Call Me An Icon
Ahem, Cher received the Billboard Icon Award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. Which is something she’s not all that pleased about, she said that “‘Icon’ is a stupid word.” Moreover, she adds, “I don’t like getting old. I’m shocked that I can still run across the stage at my age. I thought I’d be dead.”
For some time now, she’s remained single. And happily so! “I loved all the men I was with, but I seem to have a two-and-a-half-year sell-by date,” she jokes. “My mom once said, ‘You should marry yourself a rich man.’ I went, ‘Mom, I am a rich man!'”
Her Son’s Marriage
Now Elijah had been living with Cher until a major rift caused him to move out. Shortly after, Elijah eloped with Angie but Cher apparently shunned their engagement.Elijah said, “I wasn’t going to wait for anyone’s approval and congratulations just like I’ve never waited for any of that my whole life. The way I eloped with my wife is the same way I’ve done everything I’ve ever done. I don’t know any other way and we knew it was the right time.” After the wedding, Elijah was not invited to celebrate Christmas with Cher.
Elijah has recently opened up about his unsteady relationship with Cher. Revealing that as a child, he felt shunned after he was sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Elijah’s struggles also led him down a dark path as he began to do drugs at a young age. Sadly, his past struggles have caused him to contemplate when he’ll ever be ready to start a family of his own. Despite his hardships he said, “You know, she’s really talented. She’s gorgeous — I mean, she’s Cher. What’s not to love?”
Acting Is My Game
Apparently she believes she should stick to acting?? “I don’t like my voice that much. I think I’m a much better actress than singer. Singing is like going to a party at someone else’s house. Acting is like having the party at your own house. When you go to someone else’s house for a party, it’s not your responsibility at all, but when you have the party at your own house, there’s a lot of responsibility. Everyone has to have a good time. So for me, acting is deeper.”
During an interview with People magazine in 1985, Cher said, “I was a shy ugly kid who led a big fantasy life. I thought I was an angel sent from heaven, to cure polio. When Dr. Salk [Jonas Salk] did that I was really pissed off.”
Say What Now?
Once upon a time, Cher was overheard saying, “I love ghosts, I prefer ghosts to some people.” Well, then.
Did you know that Cher once babysat Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer and songwriter Red Hot Chili Peppers, for a night? At the time, Kiedis was in the 8th grade and well, Cher believed that he was asleep when she got ready for bed. However, the opposite was true and Cher was the first woman Kiedis ever saw, uhh, naked.
Gone and Back Again
There was a time when Cher decided enough was enough. So she began her “Farewell Tour” and in 2005 in LA, her show finally closed. However it really didn’t take long for Cher to return! In 2008, she went ahead and finalized a deal with Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace for three years to play at the Colosseum.
High School Musical
Vanessa Hudgens recently rocked a very 80’s Cher look on so You Think You Can Dance?. And well, everyone agreed, she totally pulled it off! Looks like Kim Kardashian isn’t the only one who can pull off a Cher look.
There was one point in Cher’s life when she lived with the rock musician Gene Simmons of KISS. One can only imagine what that was like, although we suppose it’s best left to the imagination actually.
Thelma and Louise
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon were absolutely perfect as their respective roles in the 1991 film Thelma & Louise. So it makes it hard to picture anyone but those two acting in those parts. However as it turns out, Cher was offered the part of Thelma first, although we know that role went to Geena Davis.
Currently Cher still holds the record for, get this, the longest gap between #1 hits! Those being her 1974 hit of “Dark Lady” to the 1999 “Believe”.
Oldy But A Goodie
Going off the last fact, Cher also holds the record for the oldest female artist with a #1 hit. The hit being “Believe”. #girlpower still going strong!
Remember how we said that her music video “If I Could Turn Back Time” is usually cited as the first ever video to be banned by MTV? Well that’s not true. In fact the Rolling Stones –
“Neighbors”, Ramones – “Psychotherapy”, and Laura Branigan all had their videos banned many years beforehand.
Decades Upon Decades
We’ve already said countless times that Cher is a star, but here’s yet another reason why. She is the ~only~ certified female performer in all of music history to have had a #1 single in the U.S. during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.
During a recent poll, A&E’s Biography Magazine went ahead and ranked her as the people’s Number 3 most favorite actress of all time. Ahead of her are two Hollywood idols, Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn of course.
When Cher turned 40, like the exact day she turned 40, she was offered the part in the 1987 film The Witches of Eastwick. Talk about a birthday gift!
Speaking of films, her Oscar-winning part in the 1987 film Moonstruck almost went to another actress. Originally Sally Field was offered the lead role, but she turned it down and the part went to Cher.
Age Is A Number
In an interview on Good Morning Britain in 1983, Cher was rejected for a part as she was too old to play Robert Redford’s love interest in the film Legal Eagles. Despite the fact that she’s actually 10 years younger than Redford!