Cher on ageing, family life, and making it work with 40-years younger boyfriend

Cher on ageing, family life, and making it work with 40-years younger boyfriend

December 5, 2023

“Ok, will someone PLEASE tell me… when will I feel old? This is ridiculous, I keep hearing these numbers, but I honestly can’t understand them,” tweeted pop superstar Cher, when she turned 77 in May.

And as she chats to OK! about her new album, family festivities and her Christmas memories, we’re just as dumbfounded. She may tell us she is “cranky and teary because I’ve been working really hard” but she’s a funny, feisty ball of energy.

Talking about ageing in the public eye, she tells us, “With men, it doesn’t seem to matter nearly as much as it does for women. You see men in films and they’re craggy-faced and they’re old, but no one seems to mind it, but you didn’t see women like that. But now women are able to get older and still be relevant.

“You just had this sell-by date – it really didn’t matter what kind of person you were. I mean, it helped if you looked better, but women lost their value starting at a certain age, which is kind of bullsh*t.”

Born (Cherilyn Sarkisian) in California in 1946, the star has always been a force of nature, as her late mother, the actress and singer Georgia Holt knew all too well.

“When I was nine years old, I decided I was going to run away from school,” she remembers. “I talked my friend into going on a journey, like going on an adventure, and we hopped on a freight train. I had no idea where I was going. I’d thrown my lunchbox away, which my mom was more angry about than anything else, and then we just rode this train until my friend started crying because it got dark.

So I called my mom and she was like, ‘Cher! What? You’re where? What have you done? Oh my God.’ I wasn’t running away, I was going to come home but I just wanted to have the adventure. I was a wild child.”

Remembering Georgia – who died in December last year, aged 96 – Cher tells us, “We were really poor. But my mom always managed to do a good job. She saved her money and mostly that went into Christmas time for my sister and myself. You don’t have to have a lot of money to have a fun time at Christmas.”

And it’s those memories of life at home with family that may have prompted Cher to release her very first festive album, simply named ‘Christmas’, which features duets with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble and Cyndi Lauper on new interpretations of classics and a few dance bangers for the family party season.

“I love Christmas. I mean, you know, you decorate the house and everyone comes over,” Cher says, adding that her love of the upbeat festive spirit means “there are only two sad songs on the album”.

“It’s not your mother’s Christmas album, you know?’, she smiles. “I didn’t want to sing ‘Silent Night’ or all the songs that had been sung in better ways by better singers than me.

Even if no one ever listened to it, or no one ever bought it, it’s still one of the best albums I’ve ever made and I would be proud.” So what does she have planned with her own family and friends this year?

“ Well, I have lots of really young friends and I’ve got children”. (Chaz, 54 and Elijah, 47) “I’m like the old woman in the shoe when it comes to Godchildren.

“We just do normal Christmas things,” she says. “I don’t know – I never plan it. I could be dancing or I could be in the kitchen putting mashed potatoes on everybody’s plates. That’s how we do it. There’s turkey and dressing and pumpkin pies. We’re very traditional when it comes to celebrating the dinner. Everybody expects that.

We have a long line and then everyone just takes their own, what they want. We always have a party though and decorate the house.

“People are nicer, you know, they’re kind of somehow on their best behaviour. Christmas brings out that in people, I think. It’s a great time of year to just try to stop what you’ve been doing and concentrate on being happy with your family and your friends and doing things for people that are not as fortunate. It’s a time where you feel the spirit.”

With a packed schedule to publicise the album, the chance to kick back with her loved ones is a Christmas wish for the Goddess of Pop. When we chat, she’s been working in Paris and taken the chance to spend some rare quality time with her partner, music executive Andrew Edwards.

Talking about her boyfriend, who is forty years her junior, she says, “He’s a dear but I haven’t hardly been able to see him. It’s like the in and out, kiss, ‘hi baby’ and we get to have a dinner or something like that. But he’s going to some fashion shows with me here, which is admirable because he isn’t that interested, even though he loves fashion. He just went to hold my hand.”

Her other great love – music – is something that also came from family and Cher tells us it was by chance that her ex-husband, the late Sonny Bono, realised she had a gift.

“I was living with Sonny as a roommate, that’s all. And one day he came home and I was in the back room making the bed and singing away and I see his head come around the corner and go, ‘Is that you?’. And I went, ‘Yeah’. In my family, everyone sang. It was like for me – doesn’t everyone? And then he told Phil Spector, ‘Cher sings’.”

Recalling how one fateful night, one of the ‘wall of sound’ producer’s singers’ car broke down, she smiles, “Phil said, ‘Get out there.’ And I started singing background – for a whole year.”

Her rise to fame- in the 60s as part of duo Sonny and Cher is legendary, and our talk turns to the fact that it’s been a remarkable 25 years since the release of her solo comeback single, ‘Believe’.

Having come up with the idea for using a voice decoder on the track, she remembers hearing the hit for the first time in the studio. “For me, it was like heaven, because you didn’t know it was me right away. And I thought, ‘This is the best thing that ever happened!’’ And the vocal sound was so amazing. So different. I’d never heard anything like that ever in my life.”

Away from the music business, Cher has also turned her attention to another very cool project – her ice cream brand, Cherlato.

“There are pictures of me in almost every country having ice cream,” she laughs. “It never occurred to me to have my own company. But when I went to New Zealand, my sister brought me back ice cream and I went, ‘What is this? Where is this person?’ He was an Italian man – Giapo he makes things that are like a miracle. So I said, ‘I’d really like to do something with you.’ Five years later, we’ve got Cherlato and the response is amazing. I’m telling you the ice cream is the best I’ve ever tasted.”

But in the coming weeks, all work will be put to one side and Cher will be spreading the Christmas joy. “I have a lot of free time and I see my friends and I go swimming and I work out. My time is taken up but I have lots of leisure time.”

Admitting that there are “two parts” to her personality, the flamboyant extrovert surprises us by admitting that won’t necessarily mean it’s party central at her homes in Miami and Malibu.

“If I’m not working, I’m very quiet. I mean, not around my friends, but in public, I’m quiet. But when I’m working? I have really literally two parts to my personality; one that can get up on stage and one that would just sit in the background and not say anything, until I know somebody. I know so many actresses that are so shy. I know so many performers that throw up before they go on stage. So I think a lot of times shy people can become who they are by using art. So, for me it worked out.”

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