"We had a strange relationship. I don’t expect anybody to understand it, because it was our relationship and it worked for us."
In an interview with Elle, singer Cher once said that "everyone just disappeared" when she first laid eyes on her late husband Sonny Bono. She thought "he was the most unusual person I’d ever seen." However, she probably wasn't expecting to end up being the mother of his child as he was interested in her friend initially.
But as destiny and love would have it the two of them ended up getting married in 1964 when she was only 16 and he was 28. They welcomed their child Chaz Bono in 1969. Their union marked the beginning of an era; the Cher and Sonny era. The two musicians and performers went on to gain a lot of success and popularity all thanks to their talent and chemistry which admirers miss to date. Their popularity soared higher after they launched their own show The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
But what most did not know was that there were problems brewing between them underneath their perfect relationship. The differences broke their relationship to a point of no return and the couple parted ways in 1975. Later, on multiple occasions, Cher opened up about the cracks in her relationship with Bono which led to the split of this much sought-after couple.
During a 1999 interview with journalist Benjamin Svetkey, Cher got candid about their complex relationship. "I couldn’t stand on my own two feet and talk back to him. That was my problem. I could just never ever talk back to him, and so I never got any of my needs met that weren’t what he felt they should be." She added that in the early years the misconceptions of young love drove her but after the birth of Chaz it became unbearable.
"After I had Chaz, I started to grow up and he wouldn’t allow it, and I was starting to really… He was starting to kill my spirit," she added. When it came to their divorce in 1974, Cher recalled telling him, "I’m 27 years old. You can just not tell me what to do, and he wouldn’t do it and he just didn’t count on how tough I could be, because I never argued with him one time. I don’t think we had more than three arguments in eleven years.
She went on, "He was crushed because he wasn’t going to be Sonny of Sonny and Cher anymore. That’s what hurt him. That’s what really hurt him, and that was sad because he loved it more than I did, really, but he wouldn’t give me my freedom."
However, she was still very protective of the dynamics with him. She said, "Yeah, but we were fine with that. We had a strange relationship. I don’t expect anybody to understand it, because it was our relationship and it worked for us. I can’t explain it, because it was weird. It was just weird, but I know what it was, and it was what it was.” In 1998, Bono passed away from blunt trauma and it opened a barrage of emotions in Cher. She was left distraught and probably still struggles to get over the pain.
Her deep attachment to their relationship was also candidly brought out by her when she talked about her show The Cher Show, which was her last official project. The show focussed on the highs and lows of the pop sensation's personal and professional life and how she succeeded in making a hugely successful career through it all, reports startsat60. It also gave a peek into the relationship of the iconic couple that also saw considerable success as the music duo, Sonny and Cher.
Talking about the show, the I got you babe hitmaker said, "It validates him so much because we go through some stuff that really happened but it doesn’t paint him in the best light. He was so crazy, he was so funny.” She also went on to say that certain parts of the show were particularly hard. It was as if he never left and that broke her down more often than not. “There were parts that were really hard and parts that were really painful. Like when Sonny is dead and he comes to talk to me. Oh, I am sobbing. Every time,” she said.
While they had a bittersweet relationship, Bono's death left her devastated. "I never expected him not to be there," Biography quoted her, "I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s up there taking care of me. He did a good job of looking after me in the sixties and I’m quite happy for him to do it again."
She added that she feels closer to him and does not really feel that he is no longer with her. “I don’t usually think of him like… I don’t think of him in the past tense like if I’m talking about him, I don’t remember to say he had, I always think he has, but even though I know he’s dead, I feel somehow closer to him now than I’ve felt in a really long time, and so he has more relevance to me now than he has in quite a long time."
What's inspiring about her emotions for him is that after all, she still considers him her "soul mate" and believes that no labels could ever do justice to what they had. "If you talk about ‘soul mate’ that has nothing to do necessarily with husband-wife, then absolutely, because when I met him I was 16, he was 28 years old. He was my mentor, he was my father, he was my husband, he was my partner, he was my daughter’s father." She continued, "They were all equally important, and so much focus was on the marriage but the marriage was the least-working thing. It worked least for us."