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Cher facts: Singer’s age, husbands, children, real name revealed

For those of a certain age, the memory of Sonny and Cher is probably one of the visual markers of their youth. Two very strange-looking people suddenly appeared and gave us a memorable typical 60s record, “I Got You, Babe.”

We hardly knew then that she would still be around nearly 60 years later. But, who is Cher? Where did she come from, and how did she get to being seen on our TV screens with her then-husband?

It is a fascinating story, and it hasn’t always been a pretty one. Let’s take a closer look and go through a few Cher facts: singer’s age, husbands, children, real name revealed.

Not Just A Singer

Cher facts: Singer's age, husbands, children, real name revealed

Known by some as the “Goddess of Pop,” Cher has become one of the most popular and well-known singers of the last six decades. With an impressive contralto voice and a smooth, natural vibrato, she has been able to cross genres with ease.

But she is not only a singer. Cher’s film work has drawn praise and awards, and still, it goes on. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. She has had to reinvent herself musically several times. And had to do the same from an appearance point of view. 

This has led to her receiving her fair share of criticism from various quarters. But I doubt she worries about that. After selling over 100 million records, she hasn’t done too badly, has she? Cher has also thrown herself into other areas of activity, which I shall look at briefly later, as that is also a part of who she is.

Cher facts: Singer’s age, husbands, children, real name revealed – Early Life

Cher was born in 1946 and is now coming up on her 77th birthday. She was born in California, and Cher’s real name is Cherilyn Sarkisian. However, she shortened it to Cher for stage work.

Her father was a truck driver of Armenian-American lineage. Cher’s mother, Georgia Holt, has English, Irish, German, and Cherokee ancestry. Her parents split up when she was less than a year old, probably due to his gambling and drug problems. Cher has a half-sister from her mother’s second marriage, Georganne.

A Difficult Childhood

If Cher appears to promote a bit of a “wild-child” persona, some of it may have come from a rather unstable youth. Plenty of house moves, changes in school, and even some time in an orphanage all contributed to forging her character. Somehow, she always seemed to know she was destined to work in entertainment, even down to organizing school productions.

Cher left home and dropped out of school, and went off with a friend to Los Angeles. She started to frequent the places where music and entertainment people went. To support herself, she managed to get some dancing work in some of the smaller clubs. She was a girl on a mission and wasn’t afraid to go up and introduce herself to anyone she thought might further her career.

Her Big Break

She met Sonny Bono in 1963 while he was working with Phil Spector. Cher’s friend had left Los Angeles, and she accepted an offer from him to become his housekeeper. 

He introduced her to Spector, who recognized the quality of Cher’s voice and started to use her as a backup singer. She sang on “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers, to name just two.

Cher became very close friends with Sonny… 

And, eventually, lovers. He had wanted to give her a solo career, but she began to suffer from stage fright. He went on the stage with her for support, and the duo ‘Sonny and Cher’ was born. 

Cher later said she needed Sonny there and sang to the audience through him. You can clearly see this as she is looking at him in those days rather than at the audience most of the time. But, it worked. Most people thought she was just very, very much in love with Sonny.

It Was A Slow Start

There was no instant success. It was their second single, Bob Dylan’s “All I Really Want To Do,” that gave them their first American chart entry. It was also the name of her debut album, released in 1965.

That first album did rather well, reaching #7 in the UK and #16 in America. But, it was just a prelude to what was about to happen and the start of a long journey.

Not So Sure

In those days, some parts of America were unsure of them. That was not the case in the UK. A chance meeting with The Rolling Stones, and on their advice, they went across the pond. 

They became cultural heroes to an increasingly rebellious generation with their stripey clothes and Afghan coats. And, when they were thrown out of the Hilton Hotel in London’s Park Lane because of their clothes, their status was assured.

It helped. The 1965 Sonny and Cher hit song, “I Got You, Babe,” went to #1 in the UK and America. As a duo, they never achieved the same success again. But they did sell 40 million albums in a relatively short time. However, it was clear who the public was really interested in.

Going Solo

While working with Sonny, Cher released singles on her own. “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” was one. That reached #2 in America and #3 in the UK. 

However, her next solo success wasn’t until 1971 with “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves.” That made it to #1 in America and #4 in the UK. It was clear now that the mystique had faded. A heavier style of Rock Music was taking over. And, the sweet “manufactured” Folk sound had lost its relevance.

They mortgaged their home to make a film that failed. As did Cher’s marriage to Sonny Bono shortly after. In the meantime, they managed to get themselves a TV show. Cher started to wear clothes that, at the time, were “brave,” to say the least. It was the forerunner of things to come.

Ups And Downs

At this stage, you could hardly say Cher’s career and life were running smoothly. With another short-lived marriage and some ordinary records, she had by now lost her popularity in the UK and America. She did have a successful residency in Las Vegas while trying to promote a new band, ‘Black Rose.’ Things were, therefore, rather up and down.

The 80s were a mixture of some success and disappointment. The decade started with Cher’s duet with Meatloaf, “Dead Ringer For Love,” which brought her back into the public eye.

She was still doing well on TV, though, and was popular in that medium. But, as a single mother, she had to make some choices if she was to return to what most say she did best.

Film Roles

The early 80s took a different twist as Cher started to be offered parts in films. Perhaps the most notable Cher movie was with Meryl Streep in Silkwood. That was followed by another successful film, Mask.

And The Beat Goes On

Cher had certainly found a new niche, but music was never far away. And Cher’s big musical comeback came in 1989 with the song “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

Over the next few years, different styles of songs, hairstyles, and dress sense emerged. While there was not a constant supply of Top 20 successes, now and then, she came up with a huge hit. Songs like “Believe,” which was #1 in 10 countries, including America and the UK. 

She was also able to produce successful albums, as we saw with her 1991 album Love Hurts. Not a great commercial success in America, but it stayed at the top of the UK album chart for six weeks.

Changes

Over the next two decades, it became harder to associate her with one style or genre. She even ventured into the area of writing her own material on the album, Not.com.mercial.

This was the album where she wrote a song called “Sisters of Mercy.” In that song, she ripped the Catholic Church for its treatment of her mother, calling them wicked and cruel. That upset a few “habits.” Her label refused to release the album, so she sold it only on her website.

She was now way past a time when she was going to be pushed around. After at least four ‘comebacks,’ she was again making films, albums, singles, and touring again. 

New Initiatives

Cher launched her own perfume and had a musical written about her life that included all the song highlights. Today she is still very active in all the areas she can now be identified with. Cher is half a dozen people all rolled into one in terms of her abilities. 

Singer, showstopper, actress, business, charitable work, animal rights, and environmental causes. If there is a cause worth fighting for, you are probably going to find her somewhere, marching, donating, or just supporting it. It has been a long journey from the girl who couldn’t go on a stage without Sonny. And everything that has happened has helped to forge her character.

Cher facts: Singer’s age, husbands, children, real name revealed – The Husbands

Cher facts

Sonny Bono

Cher met Sonny and moved into his Los Angeles home as his housekeeper when she was just 17. It was probably inevitable they would become lovers. They performed their own wedding service in Mexico in 1964 in a hotel room.

They were seen as the ultimate hippy couple. But, by 1972, it had started to fall apart. Sonny filed separation papers in 1974, and a week later, she filed for divorce. The marriage formally ended in 1975, and Cher gained custody of their child.

Gone, but hardly forgotten…

Sonny has been an important part of her life and instrumental in her success. When he was killed in a freak skiing accident in 1998, she gave a moving eulogy at his funeral. She called him “unforgettable.” He may have left her for the last time, but he wouldn’t be forgotten.

Greg Allman

Cher married Greg Allman in Las Vegas just days after her divorce from Sonny. She filed for a divorce nine days later because of his addiction problems. However, she gave it the first of a series of “let’s try again” almost immediately. But, eventually, they were divorced four years later, in 1977. She has been in several relationships since but never remarried, as far as we know.

Children

She has two children. Cher had a son with Sonny, born in 1969, Chastity Bono, who is now known as Chaz Bono. She also had a son from her four-year marriage to Greg Allman, born in 1976, Elijah Blue Allman.

Cher’s Philanthropic Efforts

Philanthropic Efforts

She has gained much respect for her efforts in supporting and donating to many worthwhile causes and charities. Unlike some we could name, she doesn’t do this with a barrage of “aren’t we wonderful” publicity to help her cause. Rather than comment on each, as there are too many, let’s just list a few that she has helped or is currently working with.

Soldiers and Veterans of Combat

She contributed to upgrading the helmets of serving soldiers in action. And she has given contributions to the ‘Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund’ for those disabled in service.

Poverty

Cher worked with and supported ‘Habitat For Humanity.’ An international project helping people obtain their own homes

The Environment

When it was discovered that the water in Flint, Michigan, was contaminated, Cher partnered with Icelandic Glacial and provided 180,000 bottles of drinking water.

COVID-19

She provided support for medicines to low-income and neglected families and ethnic groups in rural areas.

Animal rights

Cher has donated money and time and traveled to the Far East to help animals. She made a documentary outlining the problems called Cher & the Loneliest Elephant.

LGBT Rights

She has become a “gay” icon in the eyes of some and continues to support and promote equal rights for all such groups.

Politics

I am not going to get into that discussion because everybody is entitled to their views and opinions. However, while not formally being a member of any political affiliation, she has been scathing about one of America’s main parties.

Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the latest cause she has become involved with. Even offering to shelter Ukrainian refugees in her house. These are just a few. I doubt whether Cher’s involvement in social issues will cease until she is no longer able to carry on. And, even then, she will probably find a way to do so.

Want More Music From Famous Females?

Well, check out our thoughts on the Best Female Singers, the Most Famous Female Singers Of The 1990s, the Most Famous Female Singers Of The 1980s, the Most Famous Female Singers Of The 1970s, the Most Famous Female Country Singers Of All Time, and the Most Famous Lesbian Singers Of All Time for more incredible song selections.

Cher facts: Singer’s age, husbands, children, real name revealed – Final Thoughts

You could write volumes about Cher and her life. And there isn’t room here to do anything other than skim over the top. She went through friends’ deaths, divorces, and, only recently, the passing of her 96-year-old mother.

There have been health problems and reinventions. And, of course, the passing of Sonny from a skiing accident. She is a survivor. But, through it all, she still produced great music and was always in or even slightly ahead of fashion changes in music. You can hear more of Cher’s best songs on If I Could Turn Back Time: Cher’s Greatest Hits.

For nearly 60 years, Cher has been one of music’s dominant figures…

And, she still is today. She has had her critics, and it should be said that she isn’t universally loved. But, love her, or otherwise, she has become an icon. 

From the stripey-trousered hippie of the sixties, she has gone through more changes in look and sound than anybody. And, she always comes out the other side. There is an expression we use today, “Been there, Done it, Got the T-shirt.” Very few can actually claim that. Cher is one of the few that can.

Until next time, happy listening.

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