She shot to fame at 19, the beginning of an incredible story involving topping the charts, touring the world, getting her own television show and headlining a Las Vegas residency. But more than 50 years later, Cher is opening up about the haters she encountered during her rapid ascent to success.
The songstress sold millions of records with her former husband, Sonny Bono, with whom she formed the duo, Sonny & Cher, and released the classic hit, “I Got You, Babe." In a new interview with Elle for the magazine’s December issue, she detailed the day Bono caught her attention and the incredible rise they experienced together.
“I swear, it was like the Maria and Tony scene,” she said of the moment she met Bono, referencing the famous balcony sequence in Westside Story. “Everyone just disappeared. He was the most unusual person I’d ever seen. He had longish hair, and he had the most beautiful suit on, and beautiful long fingers, and Beatle boots, but they were Cuban heels.”
The two eventually tied the knot -- married from 1969 to 1975 -- and worked together substantially, but when it came to their breakout hit, “I Got You Babe,” Cher recalled backlash.
“They didn’t resonate at first. Kids liked it, but adults just hated us," she said. "I mean, really hated us. Fistfights hate.’”
Regardless of haters, they climbed the charts and before long, were experiencing virtually overnight success. The sudden notoriety was highlighted during a trip to London after the track came out in 1965
“It sounds so dumb, but everything happened so fast," Cher said "I didn’t even know where I was. One day we were poor. Two days, three days later, we were famous."
Reflecting on her ups and downs, which are chronicled in her new Broadway musical, The Cher Show, she admitted having “huge failures” and “huge dips.”
But even when being frequently told that she was “over,” she refused to believe it.
“I’ve had huge failures in my life. Huge dips and ‘Oh, you’re over. You’re over,’” she said. “This one guy once said, ‘You’re over,’ every year for I don’t know how many years. And I just said to him, ‘You know what? I will be here when you’re not doing what you do anymore.’ I had no idea if I was right or wrong. I was just tired of hearing him say it.”
As part of the feature, Elle also spoke to Meryl Streep, who waxed lyrical about Cher’s performance in the 1987 film, Moonstruck. (Streep was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Ironweed at the 1987 Oscars, but ended up losing to Cher.)
“Moonstruck was when she showed how completely effortless her fully rounded talent was -- funny, heartbreaking, inimitable -- no one else could’ve done it that way,” Streep said. “She owned that part. She jumped out of the screen. It was like we’d been waiting for her, and round the corner, she came: ‘Yeah, and I can do this, too!’"