A Timeline Of Cher’s Relationships
The following article references suicidal ideation and substance use.
Cher’s career has spanned several decades and counting, her love life has spanned even longer, and both have seen their fair share of glamour and melodrama. The Goddess of Pop metamorphosed from a folk-tinged 1970s TV star in a decade-long marriage into a pop icon with a kaleidoscopic romantic history.
Though Sonny Bono was her first husband and her partner on stage and screen, Cher’s professional life — and her love life — took off without him following their divorce. While much has been said about the Oscar winner’s personal life, she has never let her relationships define her — and that is perfectly illustrated in her 1996 interview with Jane Pauley. When the reporter quoted something she once said about a man not being essential, the Oscar winner replied, “Like dessert. Man is absolutely not a necessity.” When Pauley pressed for clarification, Cher said, “I adore dessert, I love men. I think men are the coolest. But you don’t really need them to live.”
Deemed “the original cougar” by Vanity Fair, Cher has proven that she believes in life after love (and love again after heartbreak).
Cher and Warren Beatty met when she was a teenager
Prior to his marriage to Annette Bening, Warren Beatty was a notorious playboy. Cher was among his many lovers, along with fellow mononymous icons Madonna and Twiggy. Back in 1962, a then-25-year-old Beatty was in a relationship with “Rebel Without a Cause” star Natalie Wood — but that didn’t stop him from picking up Cher, who was nine years his junior.
“When I was 16 years old, I f**ked Warren Beatty,” Cher told Playboy magazine in 1988 (via “Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America” by Peter Biskind). “Just like that. Of course, I’m one of a long list. I did it because my girlfriends were so crazy about him, and so was my mother. I saw Warren, he picked me up and I did it. And what a disappointment! Not that he wasn’t technically good, or could be good, but I didn’t feel anything. So, for me, I felt, ‘There’s no reason for you to do that again.'”
In a 2018 interview with Elle, she again opened up about her history with Beatty. “But you can’t call it a relationship,” she said. “It was very Warren.”
It wasn't smooth sailing for Cher and Sonny Bono
In 1962, when Cher was 16 years old, she met aspiring musician Sonny Bono at a restaurant in Los Angeles. “I swear to God, the moment I saw Sonny, everyone else in the room disappeared,” she recalled in a 2010 interview for Parade. “He was the coolest guy ever.”
Their early relationship dynamics were complicated. “Sonny told me, ‘I don’t find you very attractive,'” Cher recalled to the publication. “He wanted me to know our being together wasn’t about sex.” But things changed one night when he kissed her after a date. They were married in 1964, and they welcomed their first child, Chaz Bono, in 1969.
Their career as a duo reached its peak in the 1970s, with their television show and hits like “I Got You Babe.” But behind the scenes, Sonny was an overbearing partner. “He didn’t want me to grow up or have any freedom,” Cher told Parade. “I wasn’t allowed to do anything except work. We worked more than we lived.” Cher later learned that Sonny was unfaithful during their marriage, and she contemplated suicide while they were together. “The truth is, I’m not so sure we should’ve ever been husband and wife,” she said. Sonny and Cher split in 1974. His music career faded away shortly thereafter, though he pursued other lines of business before he died in a skiing accident in 1998. Cher gave the eulogy at his funeral.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Cher dated mogul David Geffen from 1973 to 1975
September 20, 1973 marked the grand opening of the now-iconic Los Angeles club The Roxy. It was an especially big night for David Geffen, one of the club’s owners. According to Tom King’s 2000 biography “The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood” (via the New York Times), Geffen met Cher that night and became determined to take her on a date. She asked to sit at an empty chair at his table, and he was enamored with her at first sight. He reportedly gave her his address — the original Instagram handle — and invited her to dinner the following night.
“I was the first person to share his bed and to share his life,” Cher told King (via the New York Post). “We were really crazy about each other.” According to the Post, Geffen asked her to marry him and showered her with extravagant gifts, but she reportedly left him for Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. This crushed Geffen, who even threatened to take legal action.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Geffen came out as gay at a benefit for the Aids Project Los Angeles in the early ’90s.
Gregg Allman and Cher went through ups and downs
On June 30, 1975, four days after finalizing her divorce from Sonny Bono, Cher married Allman Brothers Band member Gregg Allman. According to Rolling Stone, he “passed out in the bathroom, high on heroin” the first time they went out but she “gave him a second chance” and they got hitched in Las Vegas. However, as EW noted, she ended things a little over a week after they tied the knot due to his addictions to heroin and alcohol.
Allman tried to quell his substance use and win Cher back, and the pair reconciled. The two went through a lot of ups and downs together in a short span of time. As Rolling Stone summarized, “Between 1975 and 1977, Cher and Gregg Allman met, married, divorced, remarried, had a son and made an album together.” But their relationship would not see the ’80s. “I just didn’t have the juice anymore,” Cher told People in 1978. “He’s the kindest, most gentle, loving husband and father. But then, he forgets and everything goes to sh**.”
“We had our good times, we had our bad times,” Allman later said (via Rolling Stone). “We were just different in a whole bunch of ways … I was really glad that she never asked me what I thought of her singing, because I’m sorry, but she’s not a very good singer.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Gene Simmons left Cher for her pal Diana Ross
In an interview for a 1979 People cover story, Cher called her relationship with Kiss musician Gene Simmons “the best relationship I’ve ever had with a human being.”
Still, the couple had quite a rock ‘n’ roll — in other words, non-monogamous — partnership. “I’m going through a very liberated phase right now,” Cher said in People. She went on to say that she only spent time with other men “for companionship,” adding, “Gene is the only one I’m crazy about. All my relationships are serious. I don’t screw around.”
“I’ve always been afraid to talk about the relationship before,” Simmons told the outlet, referencing the reactions from Kiss fans. “They’re very jealous and possessive, but that’s tough. I’m crazy about Cher, nuts about her. She’s my first love. Cher’s an untainted soul who has never done anything bad to anybody.
Then, around Christmas in 1979, Cher instructed Simmons to consult her best friend, Diana Ross, for guidance in buying Cher a Christmas gift, according to The Washington Post. “We didn’t think much of it, and I’m not sure that either of us had any hidden agenda, but pretty quickly it became apparent something was happening,” Simmons recalled of the sparks between him and Ross in his 2001 memoir “Kiss and Make-Up.” As a result, his relationship with Cher “sort of ended,” as he told Andy Cohen in a 2017 interview for SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy.”
Cher said things were 'too intense and hot' with Val Kilmer
In 1981, a friend told Val Kilmer that Cher was interested in meeting him. “Her name shocked me to the point that I spit out my spaghetti while exclaiming, ‘No!'” Kilmer wrote in his 2020 memoir “I’m Your Huckleberry.” “I saw Cher as a less-than-fascinating character out of the gossip rags. I was not motivated to meet her, not out of snobbery but simply because I was sure we had nothing in common.”
In a 1984 interview with People, Cher recalled how she and Kilmer spent “a week just talking before we kissed,” adding, “We had a friendship first. I was wondering if something was wrong with him. I don’t know what he thought of me. But when we did kiss, I thought my head would shoot right off my body. I had to catch my breath.”
The couple split in 1984, after two years of dating. “Val is terrific but sometimes it’s just too intense and hot,” Cher told People that year. “[But he’s] sensitive, artistic, [has a sense of] humor and he is a great kisser. My rule of thumb, and it’s never failed me, is if a man’s a good kisser he’s a great f**k.”
Cher deemed Tom Cruise one of her best lovers
Cher reportedly met Tom Cruise at a White House fundraiser in the mid-1980s, according to People. She was 39 years old at the time, and he was 23. “I was so crazy about him,” Cher said during an interview with Oprah Winfrey (via People). “He was so wonderful … And he was so, like, different … He was a shy boy. He didn’t have any money.” She went on to recall a “long date” and claimed she “lived in his apartment.”
In a 2013 interview on Watch What Happens Live (via Us Weekly), Andy Cohen asked Cher about the “Risky Business” star. “Awww,” the “If I Could Turn Back Time” singer replied. “He wasn’t a Scientologist then … It was pretty hot and heavy for a little minute. He’s a great guy. The person that I knew was a great and lovable guy.” Later in the interview, when asked about her “all-time best lovers,” Cher said Cruise was “in the top five.”
Things got serious between Cher and Joshua Donen
According to Daily Mail, Cher met movie producer Joshua Donen while he was working as an agent for ex-boyfriend Val Kilmer. Cher and Donen didn’t make a great first impression on each other: He reportedly thought he was “rude,” while he thought she was “an antisocial b**ch.” But they must have thawed out the initial freeze, because they ended up embarking on a two-year relationship. Donen even encouraged Cher to take her celebrated role in “Mask.”
Donen also had a hand in another one of her most iconic moments: the 1986 Oscars. Cher felt defiant after being snubbed by the Academy for her role in “Mask,” but according to The Washington Post, Donen suggested she go to the awards ceremony anyway and present one of the categories. “I was really upset about not being nominated and then I thought, ‘I can’t go to the Academy Awards,” Cher told the newspaper. “Joshua’s father was producing it. He said, ‘Would you come and make a presentation?’ … First I said no. Then I said yes. That can be fun. I can enjoy that. But I thought, I’m not gonna go in a little black dress. I’m gonna go as the me that they didn’t like.” She showed up in that Bob Mackie ensemble and made Oscar history.
She went on to deem her relationship with Donen “my most serious relationship since being married,” adding, “I still really love Joshua and I see him all the time. I just didn’t want to be with him anymore as a girlfriend.”
Cher has called Rob Camilletti her 'one true love'
Cher met Robert Camilletti on the night of her 40th birthday. According to Macleans, she was visiting a cafe in Manhattan with her then-boyfriend Val Kilmer when an aspiring actor caught her eye. As the outlet noted, Camilletti “was supporting himself by working as a bartender and a part-time bagel baker” — which later earned him the notorious tabloid nickname “Bagel Boy.”
“Only twice in my life have I been affected that way,” Cher recalled in a 1989 interview for Macleans, “and on both occasions, the men were Italians. Rob made my heart do something weird. There’s something quite electric and thrilling about it—you only want this one person and you throw everything else out of the window.” She added that Camilletti was “the most well-adjusted man I’ve ever been with.”
Camilletti’s feelings were more of a slow burn. “I didn’t admit to myself that I was attracted to her [at first],” he said. “We’re from totally different worlds.”
The couple ultimately broke up in 1989 due to intense media scrutiny. “They were so mean with Robert — you know, ‘the bagel boy,'” Cher said in a 2010 Parade interview. Still, when the question of who her “one true love” was came up at a 2013 event, she responded, “Robert Camilletti. An Italian from Queens” (via Daily News).
Cher and Richie Sambora admired each other's chops
In a 2018 Daily Mail interview, Cher called ex-boyfriend Richie Sambora “one of the most underrated singers ever.” The pair burned bright and fast, living together from 1989 to 1990, per Daily Mail.
While their relationship was brief, Cher seemed to leave a lasting impact on Sambora. In 2011, the musician debuted a fashion line he co-designed with Nikki Lund called White Trash Beautiful. In an interview for Racked that year, Sambora cited Cher as a major inspiration.
“Actually a turning point for me was when I was about twenty eight years old and I started dating Cher,” he told the outlet. “Obviously she’s a fashionista, she taught me a lot … [She taught me] how to put things together. You shouldn’t wear this with that; what was right for the occasion. Because when you’re a kid you don’t know that kind of stuff, especially when you’re a man. She’s a great lady.”
Then in 2015, Sambora paid homage to Cher by releasing a cover of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” on the song’s fiftieth anniversary. “It’s a tribute to one of the greatest lady’s and Sonny’s incredible artistic talent,” he said in the Daily Mail.
Cher clicked with Hells Angel Tim Medvetz
In a pairing that surely involved ample amounts of leather and drama, Cher dated former Hells Angel member Tim Medvetz. After an accident, Medvetz moved on from the motorcycle club and founded The Heroes Project, a nonprofit that aims to help “injured men and women to climb the worlds highest peaks and find a renewed purpose and belief in themselves.” He has climbed Mount Everest, and one of his adventures appeared in Discovery Channel docuseries “Everest: Beyond the Limit.” He and Cher first met in 2008 and “clicked due to their shared love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” according to the Daily Mail.
The outlet goes on to note that Cher’s “touring schedule forced them apart” in 2010, and she went on to have a short-lived relationship with TV writer Ron Zimmerman that year before rekindling things with Medvetz in 2012. According to The Sun, Cher’s children, Chaz and Elijah, encouraged the reunion. Outlets including E! News reported on engagement rumors between the pair. “I thought that climbing Everest was the ultimate call of the wild,” Medvetz reportedly told a friend (via The Sun), “but I think marrying Cher will top that!”
The wedding bells turned out to be a false alarm, and Cher’s relationship with Medvetz appeared to fizzle out.
Cher pursued writer Ron Zimmerman via Facebook
In 2010, between her breakup and reunion with Tim Medvetz, Cher dated writer Ron Zimmerman, who was 12 years her junior. “He’s the oldest man I ever dated!” she said during an interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that year (via Just Jared). She revealed she met Zimmerman the new-fashioned way: on Facebook. “[On my friend’s page] there was this really funny guy, who said the weirdest things,” she said of Zimmerman. “Like, under religion, it said ‘Zeus.’ He’s very strange but the funniest person you ever met.” Of course, Cher had to use a Facebook account with a fake name when contacting her romantic interest.
When her relationship with Zimmerman came up in a 2010 ABC News interview, Cher said, “I have a boyfriend, that we have decided that we are some place between boyfriend and best friend. …He makes me laugh more than anybody I’ve ever known. And he’s very crazy, but very smart, and very talented.” Alas, the relationship turned out to be short-lived.
Cher once revealed she almost got involved with Elvis
In November 2010, Cher appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” to promote her movie “Burlesque.” She and Letterman remarked it’d been “a long time” since she last stopped by the show, and the two waxed nostalgic about when she called the host “an a*****e” back in the ’80s. This time around, Letterman took the opportunity to quiz Cher about her multi-decade, highly publicized love life.
As Letterman listed off famous men, Cher responded with whether she had ever been involved with any of them in the bedroom. She confirmed her history with Warren Beatty, Tom Cruise, and Gene Simmons, but vehemently denied any entanglement with singer-songwriter Michael Bolton. As for rock star Eric Clapton, Cher said she had slept with him “once.” Daily Mail speculated that the one-night stand took place in 1995, when they worked together on the charity single “Love Can Build a Bridge.”
Even for Cher, there are a few that got away. When asked about rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley, she said, “Almost. I got nervous … but I wish that I had!” And when it came to big-name actor Marlon Brando, Cher said, “I wished I had … We just hung out for a while.”
As of 2021, the “Believe” singer appears to be single.
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