Cher says Sonny Bono was a 'huge womanizer' and that 'one woman, or even five, was not enough for him'
Pop icon Cher recently revealed that she had a difficult time while creating the musical 'The Cher Show' which is a story on her early life and career. The 72-year-old shared that a few parts of the show that explore her relationship with her former late husband Sonny Bono were 'painful' to produce and watch.
Cher and Sonny had initially met when Cher was only 16 years old and Sonny was 27. They ended up getting married in 1964 and also had a child together in 1969, Chaz Bono. The couple became a very popular and iconic singing duo and also starred on their own TV show called 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' in the early 1970s. However, even though things seemed absolutely perfect, there was a lot of trouble brewing beneath the surface.
During a 1999 interview with journalist Benjamin Svetkey, Cher got candid about their complex relationship and revealed how Sonny was like a father who she could not talk back to. "I couldn’t stand on my own two feet and talk back to him. That was my problem. I could just never ever talk back to him, and so I never got any of my needs met that weren’t what he felt they should be." She added how the misconceptions of young love kept her going, though, after the birth of Chaz, she could no longer take it.
"After I had Chaz, I started to grow up and he wouldn’t allow it, and I was starting to really… He was starting to kill my spirit," she added. When it came to their divorce in 1974, Cher recalled telling him, "I’m 27 years old. You can just not tell me what to do, and he wouldn’t do it and he just didn’t count on how tough I could be, because I never argued with him one time. I don’t think we had more than three arguments in eleven years."
"He was crushed because he wasn’t going to be Sonny of Sonny and Cher anymore. That’s what hurt him. That’s what really hurt him, and that was sad because he loved it more than I did, really, but he wouldn’t give me my freedom," she added. She also addressed the fact that another woman was living in with him while he was still married to Cher. But, as Cher says, "We were fine with that. We had a strange relationship. I don’t expect anybody to understand it, because it was our relationship and it worked for us."
In 2010, Cher spoke to 'Parade' magazine and revealed that she was not sure whether she and Sonny should have ever gotten married to each other. She added how he was a "huge womanizer" and that "one woman, or even five, was not enough for him. I found all this out afterward. I asked him, 'How did you manage the logistics?' I was trusting and faithful with him. The truth is, I'm not so sure we should’ve ever been husband and wife."
She further spoke about how controlling her ex-husband was and revealed that it took a big toll on her. "He didn’t want me to grow up or have any freedom. I wasn’t allowed to do anything except work. We worked more than we lived," Cher said before adding that the toxic marriage also led her to having suicidal thoughts. "I thought about jumping off a hotel balcony. Then I thought, No, I can just leave him. When I told Sonny, he said, 'If you leave me, America will hate you and you won’t have a job.' I went, 'You know what, Sonny? I just don’t care!'"
While discussing her Broadway musical with producer Jeffrey Seller last year, Cher recalled the first time she and Sonny crossed paths and recalled how he was actually interested in her friend. However, the two ended up dancing the whole night away and as fate would have it, Cher said, "Bono moved in next door to our apartment" which was around the same time that she was looking for a place to stay. She remembered how she vented to him about her situation when he asked her whether she could clean and cook.
Cher revealed how he let her in even though she lied about the cooking part and remembered Bono telling her, "He said, 'OK. I have twin beds. You can stay in my house. I don’t find you particularly attractive." Even though, their relationship resulted in her being hurt "in so many ways", she shared that she had forgiven him.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cher said that Sonny once told her, "One day you are going to leave me. You are going to go on and do great things. I wouldn’t have left him if he hadn’t had such a tight grip—such a tight grip," she added. She shared how Sonny treated her "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."
The couple ended up getting divorced in 1975 and Sonny passed away in 1998 after a skiing accident.
When Cher was asked about what her former husband would think of the musical if he had been alive to see it, she shared that he "would like it" even with his not very positive portrayal on the show. "He would be p***ed off a little bit, but he knows it's true, so he would be okay," she revealed. "There were parts that were really hard, and parts that were really painful. Like when Sonny is dead and he comes to talk to me. Oh, I am sobbing. Every time."
"It validates him so much because we go through some stuff that really happened but it doesn't paint him in the best light. He was so crazy, he was so funny," she continued. 'The Cher Show' had premiered at the Oriental Theatre, Chicago in June 2018 and had opened on Broadway in December 2018.