TV Guide 2000


TV GUIDE: Now that you’re back on top, do you feel that you have finally proven yourself? Or do you think you are destined to remain on a professional roller coaster?

CHER: I keep hoping I’m going to catch that Frank Sinatra wave and never have to prove myself again. You know, that one big wave Sinatra hit, and then he was Sinatra forever and ever? But I’m really fine with the peaks and valleys. It’s the valleys that make me, force me to reach further. I live an artist’s life. It’s not supposed to be smooth and nice and tidy and neat. I don’t like the valleys very much when they’re happening, and I’m always surprised when I peak again, but I just keep doing it.

TVG: But in the grand scheme, isn’t your career with its hairpin turns and unexpected triumphs more interesting, more gratifying than one that is stable and linear, say, Streisand’s?

CHER: [Laughs] Oh, it’s a lot better to read about than it is to live. Yeah, it makes good drama, but it’s really difficult, especially when everybody’s saying, “There is no way Cher is gonna pull it out this time,” and I also find myself thinking, “S—! There is no way I’m gonna pull it out this time!” But I’m responsible for my own downfalls, because I am a very strange combination of stability and instability. Emotionally, half of me is solid and down-to-earth, the other half is Judy Garland. But I’m fine with it. I’m good with it, actually. I have lemons, and I make lemonade.

TVG: Is this your last tour or can you pull this off again at age 55? At 60? At 70?

CHER: Oh, I can’t envision that. This is just such a hard job. How Tina Turner can still do it blows my mind. Every night, for a nonstop hour and a half, I’m singing, dancing, running around backstage ripping off my clothes and changing costumes nine times. I’m constantly moving. But I’d rather take a gun and shoot the roof of my mouth off than just come out onstage, stand there in one outfit and sing. That is so not me. I’m not a singer. I’m an entertainer. I’m there to make it sparkly. Maybe when I get really old, I’ll teach. Maybe I’ll teach acting to kids. The arts can keep kids from making terrible mistakes in their lives.

TVG: Did you march to your own drummer, even as a kid?

CHER: I’ve been a loner since I was teeny. My mom used to get furious, because I was always in my own world. And I still am.

TVG: What is that world?

CHER: It’s one of old movies and art and archaeology and Napoleon and Lincoln. I just travel in this bubble through life. I can be with 50,000 people in a concert, but it’s hard for me to be with five people in a room. I’m too shy. I don’t do well in the world. It always kills me when people tell me I’ve got my finger on the pulse. [Cackles] I don’t have my finger on the pulse of anything! My idea of a great time is sitting on the floor of a bookshop for hours and hours, or having one whole day to do nothing but stay in bed and watch Turner Classic Movies.

TVG: Your final scene in Tea with Mussolini is a dramatic, old-time movie star moment. Very Garbo [Cher’s character, a brash American actress, escapes the Nazis in a rowboat in the dead of night].

CHER: I got the coolest message from Ben Kingsley [Schindler’s List], who was going on and on and on about that, and I thought, “What movie did he see?”

TVG: You don’t like your work in the film?

CHER: I only like my last little bit. Like maybe my last couple of words. I’m not a huge Cher fan.

TVG: How much of a loner are you? Do you have any social circle?

CHER: I am so antisocial. My friends are really patient, because I might not talk to them for years. I’m not wanting to be mean. Sometimes I’m just not interested. I had a huge Thanksgiving dinner for a bunch of people at my house, but I didn’t feel like going to it. I just never went downstairs.

TVG: A recent issue of Ladies’ Home Journal stated that you’ve been celibate for six years.

CHER: Well, it’s not true. I don’t even know how that celibacy thing got started. I think I told the writer I hadn’t had a boyfriend in, oh, I don’t know how many years. But I wouldn’t even think of being celibate. I would just think of it as not having a boyfriend. “Celibate” sounds like you’re a nun.

TVG: So you have no boyfriend now?


TVG: Do you want one?

CHER: Want one, yes. Need one, no.

TVG: Last year, you took a lot of flak for saying that you communicated with Sonny after he died, through psychic medium James Van Praagh.

CHER: [Long pause] Look, I made the mistake of discussing this, and it turned into a real dog-and-pony show. Sometimes I can be too honest, and it comes back to bite me in the ass. [Van Praagh] told me things only Sonny would have known. And Sonny’s sense of humor really came through. Did it change my life afterward? No. Do I believe any more strongly in [the afterlife] than I did before? No. But it was great.

TVG: It’s hard to believe you didn’t watch the recent ABC movie about Sonny and Cher. You had no curiosity whatsoever, not even to check out the actress [Renee Faia] who played you?

CHER: I swear to God I wasn’t interested. I enjoy the great drag queens who do me. I think that’s sweet. I feel a connection with them. I had no connection with that movie. Besides, I lived it. I don’t have to see somebody’s idea of what it was. I know what it was.

TVG: So many rock stars who came to prominence when you did in the ’60s and ’70s died prematurely. Did you ever worry that you, too, would become a casualty?

CHER: Never even thought about it, mostly because I never did drugs. But it’s mostly a guy thing. Women are able to take stress so much better than men. Men’s egos are so fragile. They just… get lost somehow. If all you seek is fame, money and sex, and then you become famous, have all the money you want and women are throwing themselves at you, then what’s left? You need more highs, you start doing drugs, and then you’re pretty much screwed. Women are more grounded.

TVG: Rate yourself as a mom.

CHER: I don’t think it’s possible to be both a good mother and a working mother. You do the best you can do, but I think your children always suffer, just like your romantic relationships suffer. Elijah still lives with me, and Chas comes over with her girlfriend maybe like once a month and spends a long weekend. But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if my children think I’ve done a less-than-terrific job. I haven’t made peace with that, but I acknowledge it.

TVG: Did your own mom offer parenting advice?

CHER: [A sudden, explosive laugh] No, my own mom is like my own child! She pretends to be helpless, but she’s not really. If I get in a crunch, if I get into deep trouble, I call her. Otherwise, she’s really flighty. She’s Billie Burke [who played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz]. But she can be babbling and babbling and babbling, and all of a sudden say something really smart I’ll keep with me for five years. My mom and I fight like crazy! She won’t do what I want her to do. I want her to live the way I want her to live. And she just won’t. My mother and my grandmother who’s only 13 years older than my mom also fight like cats and dogs. But Mom’s very hilarious. She gives me countless hours of entertainment. Chas and I don’t fight at all. We argue a bit, but with my mom I revert to being a teenager. I’m always like [she puts hands on hips in an exasperated pose], “Mother!”

TVG: What do your kids think of your current success?

CHER: I think I’m cool, but I am sooo uncool to my children. I’m, like, so corny. I embarrass them to no end. Everything I do embarrasses Elijah. But you know what he said about the concert? “My friends and I actually thought your show was good, mom. It was good.” [She clasps her heart] That’s better than a rave review in the New York Times, because he never has anything good to say.

TVG: Well, you can’t be that embarrassing to him if he still lives at home.

CHER: He did leave for, like, six months, but then he came back, and now everyone says, “He’s never moving out.” I wouldn’t mind if he got married and brought his wife home to live.

TVG: So Cher wants to be a grandma?

CHER: Oh, absolutely. Are you kidding?

TVG: Is the world ready for this?

CHER: Hey, I could have been a grandmother years ago. Oh, I would love it! Oh, yes. I would love that more than anything. Is the world ready… Like, I care?

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