The two met when Cher was just 16 and Sonny was a 28-year-old divorcee.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 4, 2021. It has since been updated.
We would be lying if we said that Sonny Bono and Cher weren't one of the most iconic celebrity couples of their time. The late 1960s and 1970s were marked by their achievements. With the premiere of their show The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, there was no one in the industry who could take away the title of being the "most entertaining couple" from them.
They sure kept their audience happy by entertaining them with matching outfits, on-screen drama, and catchy songs, but their personal life was just the opposite. On the outside, the two seemed like a couple very much in love but in reality, their relationship was quite complicated, stained with infidelity.
Cher was just 16 when she met Sonny at a party in 1962 in Los Angeles, reported Cheat Sheet. Even though she was awestruck by him, he did not feel the same because he was a recently divorced 28-year-old, dreaming to make it big in the music industry. According to Biography, Cher worshipped him "long after we were together. I just thought he was great."
During an interview with SiriusXM special titled The Cher Show: Making the Musical back in 2018, the singer revealed that she felt an instant connection with Sonny when she met him because “everyone just disappeared... He was the most unusual person I’d ever seen.” However, at that time Sonny was interested in Cher's friend.
“I was with my girlfriend, who was really beautiful. He liked her, so he didn’t really say anything to me. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, kid,'” she recalled in a clip obtained by People. While chatting with the producer Jeffrey Seller, the Goddess of Pop revealed that even though the duo had a cold start, they ended up dancing that night together because "neither one of our partners danced."
Fate had already planned to make them an iconic duo because right after Sonny moved next to Cher's apartment, her roommates kicked her out. Nowhere to go, she ended up on his doorstep. "I just went up and said, 'Hi, listen, I’m going to have to move out of our apartment 'cause I’m sick. I don’t have any money. I don’t want to go home. I just want to get out and do things and I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I don’t have any place to live and blah blah blah,'" she revealed.
Once they moved in together their initial "hellos" changed into expressions of love and they became Cher and Sonny. By 1965 they were married and later released their first album together titled Look at Us, and surely, the whole world was looking at them. With the I Got You, Babe, the couple became a musical success, just how they wanted. They even got their own show!
Once they released their Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour show in 1969 after the birth of their daughter Chastity (Chaz) Bono, their fame only touched the sky and beyond, however, as they reached greater heights, their roots started to shake. Their once happy marriage was showing cracks of betrayal.
While talking to Parade in 2010, Cher shed some light on her and Sonny's tumultuous relationship and said that he was cheating on her with multiple women at one time. “Stardom made Sonny a huge womanizer. One woman, or even five, was not enough for him… I asked him, ‘How did you manage the logistics?’ I was trusting and faithful with him. I’m not sure we should’ve ever been husband and wife,” revealed the Believe singer.
Even though their relationship was in crumbles, the couple stayed together to keep their image the way it was. Biography reported that in a diary entry made by Sonny on August 21, 1973, he wrote, “Connie and I live together as husband and wife. But my public wife is still Cher in order to maintain all the things I want right now. That’s the way it has to be.”
Sonny filed for a separation in 1974 and not long after that Cher too demanded a divorce.
After a messy divorce the power duo Cher and Sonny finally became just known as Cher and Bono in 1975. The Song for the Lonely singer married Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band soon after the divorce. No matter how messy their married life was, Cher still respected Sonny and said on Late Night with David Letterman in 1987, “Even if we don’t say nice things about each other, it doesn’t mean anything. I know Sonny too well,” as per Cheat Sheet.
When Sonny passed away in 1998 in a horrific skiing accident, Cher delivered a heartfelt eulogy at the funeral and said, “When I was 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."