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Cher and Sonny Bono were two of the most iconic musical acts in the 1960s. Fans buzzed around the couple, even after their relationship fell apart. Over the years, they made various jabs at one another until finally clearing the air at the end of Bono’s life.

It turns out that the origins of their relationship is a strange story as well.

Cher and Sonny Bono
Cher and Sonny Bono | Dove/Express/Getty Images

Cher and Sonny Bono’s marriage crashed and burned

Cher was already dating Bono and singing backup in iconic songs like “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” and “Be My Baby.” Bono thought that Cher singer would be a massive success on her own. However, her nerves often overtook her, so he began performing with her. Their smash hit  “I Got You Babe” took off in 1965.  “I knew what I wanted to do, but I never would’ve gotten there without Sonny,” Cher told Billboard in 2017.

By the end of the 1960s, following their child, Chaz Bono’s birth, and the stalling of their career, their marriage began to fizzle. However, they decided to stay together publicly after the success of their 1971 show,  The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.

“One woman, or even five, was not enough for him,” Cher said in 1975 via Biography. “One of the things I originally found so attractive about Sonny was that he really believed women should be taken care of. Eventually, it got to the point of driving me crazy.”

The pair did officially split in 1974 and things became very ugly when Cher discovered that the majority of the couple’s money was in Sonny’s name. Still, though they often said nasty things about each other, they had a mutual understanding. “Even if we don’t say nice things about each other, it doesn’t mean anything,” Cher once said. “I know Sonny too well.”

Cher was just 16 when she met Sonny Bono

Cher and Bono met in 1963 when the legendary diva was just 16. At the time, Bono was 27 and he was still married to his first wife, Dana Rankin, though they were headed for a divorce. Initially, Cher had no interest in Bono, but that soon changed. “Everyone just disappeared,” Cher told Elle in 2018. “He was the most unusual person I’d ever seen.”

Initially, the former couple’s relationship was just platonic. Cher moved in with Bono after being kicked out by her former roommates. He offered her a place to stay if she agreed to keep it clean. The Goddess of Pop agreed, though she never lifted a finger to do any chores.

Eventually, the relationship did turn romantic, though everyone, including Cher’s mother, Georgia Holt was taken aback. “[I]t’s strange,” she told Ladies’ Home Journal in 1975, “but at that time Sonny was the spitting image of her father, Johnny Sarkisian. I think the father image had a great deal to do with Cher’s feelings, but I didn’t think it would have helped it I’d told that to Cher. When a girl is as much in love with a man as she was, not much can be done about it.”


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Cher attended Sonny Bono’s funeral

Bono tragically died in a skiing accident in 1998, and upon hearing the news, Cher was absolutely devastated. She drafted his eulogy, hoping to clear any public perceptions that were still held about each other.

“When I was a young there was this section in Reader’s Digest called ‘The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met. No matter how old I get, no matter how many people I meet, that person will always be Son for me,” she said at his funeral.