There’s Sonny Bono, of course. And Gregg Allman, one of the famous musical brothers. Gene Simmons of Kiss and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, too. Oh, and not forgetting legendary actors Warren Beatty, Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise. Not sure what we’re talking about? Well, believe it or not, this clutch of A-listers have all romanced Cher. But of these famous men, we now know who the legendary singer has named as the two true loves of her life.
That’s quite the list of guys! But then this is Cher we are talking about. You know, the multi-talented, award-winning singer and actor? A bona fide star of stage and screen, the living legend is an entertainment polymath whose hits have spanned the decades. And as it turns out, she has a personal life to rival the storyline of any of her popular movies.
But which of her men did Cher love above all others? Well, given her long history with Sonny Bono, you’d think he’d be one of them. As you may well remember, the real-life husband and wife stormed to the top of the hit parade with songs such as “I Got You Babe” and “Baby Don’t Go.” When the pair split, though, Cher went solo and continued racking up chart successes with hits including “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe.”
And who could forget Cher the actor? She’s burned up the big screen alongside Eric Stoltz in Mask, shoulder-to-shoulder with Christina Aguilera in Burlesque and opposite Winona Ryder in Mermaids. There was also the little matter of the Best Actress Oscar she won for her performance in Moonstruck…
Most ambitious performers would be happy with just a handful of Cher’s achievements. She’s a talented singer who can also act. Or should that be a talented actor who can also sing? Whatever way you look at it, though, it’s amazing she ever found time for a personal life.
But find time she did – and what a ride it was. It all began with Bono, who noticed Cher in LA back in the early ’60s. He was working for record producer Phil Spector at the time and gave Cher her big break by finding her some gigs as a backing singer.
Cher had arrived in Los Angeles as a wide-eyed 16-year-old. But as young as she was, she was determined to be a star. She paid her way dancing and went to acting classes. She also took it upon herself to be noticed by anyone who was anyone in Tinseltown. One of her early Hollywood trysts was with none other than Warren Beatty, in fact!
But it was meeting Bono that changed Cher’s life. After introducing the future star to Spector, Bono took her under his wing as she performed backing vocals on hits such as The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” If her career had ended there and then, Cher could still claim to have featured on two of the best-loved songs of that – or any – era.
However, the journey had only just begun for the girl from El Centro, California. Today, Cher remains one of only a handful of acts to have had smash hit songs spanning four decades. She is also one of only two female actors – alongside Barbra Streisand – to have won a Best Actress Academy Award and a Billboard number one single. If that isn’t enough to secure legendary status, nothing is.
And along the way, Cher’s romanced a lot of men – including Bono. The pair tied the knot in 1964 – the year before they hit the big time with the song “I Got You Babe.” That iconic tune not only topped the charts, but it also brought the duo fame in spades.
Sonny and Cher also became fashion icons for their very ’60s style. And as the decade ticked over into the ’70s, the pair – who by this time had become parents to a son – continued their bid for Hollywood domination. How? With a TV show! The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour even secured Cher a Best Actress Golden Globe in 1974. But all was not well behind the scenes.
Yes, while Cher’s life may have looked glamorous back then, her marriage was beginning to unravel. Bono ultimately filed for divorce in early 1974, with the split being made official a year later. And despite all the success, the partnership had left Cher penniless. How could that have been?
Well, in terms of money, Sonny and Cher were never really a partnership at all. “We worked side by side for 11 years, and I ended up with nothing. I worked really hard for that money, and it never occurred to [Sonny] that he would take it,” Cher told The Guardian years later.
In fact, splitting from Bono actually left Cher worse than broke. “I had to give him $2m on top because I didn’t carry out the contract for Sonny and Cher as a couple,” she added to The Guardian. “It never occurred to me that I would be charged with the contracts we didn’t fulfill.”
But there was a way back for Cher: a solo career. And, ironically, her husband had been instrumental in encouraging the star to step out on her own. Yep, he had been the svengali to Cher’s increasingly exotic performer. It was an experience that was to stand her in good stead later on.
Romantically, though? Cher didn’t stay single for very long. She began a relationship with record man David Geffen, who helped the singer break free professionally from her ex-husband. And it seems she quickly moved on emotionally, too. Just a matter of days after her divorce from Bono was confirmed, she got hitched again.
But Cher’s new husband wasn’t Geffen. No! This time, the lucky man was Gregg Allman, the world-renowned musician of Allman Brothers Band fame. And to say that the couple’s relationship was a rocky one would be a massive understatement. It was a partnership that bore many of the hallmarks of Cher’s unsuccessful union with Bono.
What had happened to Geffen? Well, despite his relationship with Cher, he came out as gay many years later. The singer believes that their romance had been legitimate, though. “I was the first person to share [David’s] bed and to share his life. People don’t believe that, or they don’t want to believe it, or they don’t understand how it could be. But we were really crazy about each other,” the performer is quoted as saying in the biography The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood.
By contrast, Cher’s relationship with Allman hit the skids quickly. Just nine days after their nuptials, Cher filed for divorce. The reason? Her new husband had the kind of dependency problem for which rock ’n’ roll stars are famed. But the love was too strong, and within a matter of weeks the pair were reconciled. The following year, the couple’s son Elijah was born.
At this time, Cher was pursuing a successful television career – still with her ex-husband Bono. CBS’ The Sonny & Cher Show was a follow-up from the earlier The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. And to the amusement of audiences, the stars’ divorce and the reasons surrounding it were frequently riffed about on screen.
Unfortunately for Cher, troubles with her current husband also began to be the topic of quips. That may have been too much for viewers and executives, as The Sonny & Cher Show was ultimately canceled after the end of its second season. The series was axed in 1977, the same year Cher and Allman released a duets album – and got divorced.
But you can’t keep a good woman down, though! Soon, Cher began seeing rock wildman Gene Simmons from the cult band Kiss. This time, though, she didn’t head down the aisle. And when the pair eventually split, that left her as a single mother of two with a singing and acting career that was in the doldrums.
Cher being Cher, however, she bounced back with aplomb – both personally and professionally. The 1980s saw a significant upturn in her career. Then there was the attention Cher was getting for her numerous tattoos, her cosmetic surgery – oh, and the men she dated, too.
Cher’s list of admirers over the next 20 years reads like a Who’s Who of the famous and talented. There were actors Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, musicians Richie Sambora and Eric Clapton and hockey player Ron Duguay. Her Mask co-star Eric Stoltz was not one of them, though, despite what the press said. “Today I picked up your magazine expecting to find accuracy, intelligence and unbiased reporting. Imagine my surprise!” Cher wrote to People when it erroneously reported that she was dating Stoltz.
We also shouldn’t forget that Cher’s tendency to gravitate towards Hollywood icons began way back when. Yep, as touched upon previously, she’d dated Warren Beatty. At just 16, she had been involved in a fender bender with the movie legend. And a brief romance followed, although Cher was clear who had been to blame for that accident. “I didn’t crash my car into Warren Beatty. He ran me off the street,” the star told Australian TV’s Sunday Night.
Then, many years – and many men – after Beatty, Cher gave an insightful interview to The Guardian. That’s when she revealed the cream of the crop of her romantic conquests. But in among them all, there were really only ever two men that Cher had truly loved. And they may not be who you think, either!
Was Bono among those men? Well, no, even though he had been Cher’s first husband and the man who had crafted her early career success. Perhaps it’s because he left Cher almost penniless when their professional and personal relationship broke down. But is Bono – who passed away in 1998 – someone the singer resents?
“You know, [Bono and I] had such a strange relationship,” Cher told The Guardian. “The day we got our divorce, he grabbed me, bent me backwards and kissed me, and we were hysterical. I couldn’t keep angry with him for some reason. I had a lot of anger, but I couldn’t stay angry.”
So if not Bono, who were the men to truly steal Cher’s heart? Wonder no more. Husband number two – Gregg Allman – made the cut, as did another lover – a young man who was to become known as “Bagel Boy.” For Cher, at least, these two distinctly different characters were the special ones among them all.
As part of that interview in The Guardian, Cher was asked about the guy – or guys – she considered the love of her life. “Well, I think Robert [Camilletti] and Gregory Allman,” the star responded. “Gregory was a special man.” Not “Gregg,” as the rest of the world knew him, but “Gregory.” “He never called me Cher,” the star also admitted, revealing that his nickname for her was “Chooch.”
But who was Camilletti? Among the plethora of stars Cher has married or dated, this one name stands out as being gloriously unrecognizable. And to be named as one of Cher’s true loves, too? There has to be a good story there.
Well, let us fill you in! Camilletti and Cher dated in the 1980s, when she was 40 and he was just 22. Camilletti also worked in a bagel bar – hence “Bagel Boy.” And while things may have not lasted the course with Cher, neither did his career in the food business. Camilletti is now a pilot for VIPs.
For Cher, part of the attraction was Camilletti’s dependability – which may have come as a welcome relief after her marriage to Allman. As she subsequently told The Guardian, Camilletti “was like a rock.” And both he and Allmann made a lasting impression on the star – for better or worse.
Cher has talked candidly about her other loves, too. Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2018, she described Simmons as “the one I’m crazy about.” And yet again, she praised Camilletti, calling him “possibly the one true love of [her] life” in the same interview.
Then there was Tom Cruise. Another much younger man, the actor was fresh from his star turn in Risky Business when Cher first encountered him at Madonna and Sean Penn’s wedding. The pair saw each other again at a White House event. “We didn’t go out till way later, but there definitely was a connection there,” Cher admitted to the Daily Mail.
Cher once famously described Cruise as one of her top five lovers, although she has refused to be drawn on the matter further. Another passionate tryst was with Cruise’s Top Gun co-star Val Kilmer. “When we kissed, I thought my head would shoot right off my body,” Cher revealed to the Daily Mail. That’s quite the compliment!
Other Cher conquests include Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who the Oscar winner has described as “one of the most underrated singers ever.” But he wasn’t a true love, it seems. And, of course, there was Geffen. “If it wasn’t for him, I’d have ended up on the street,” Cher admitted in her candid interview with the British newspaper. Again, though, he hadn’t been one of her true loves.
And, surprisingly, Cher has claimed that she struggles with relationships. “The problem I have with all the boyfriends lately is that I don’t want to go any place with them. You can’t keep a relationship going in this kind of goldfish bowl, where everything you do and every picture you have taken will be on Instagram,” the star told the Daily Mail. “There’s no way to keep something… special.”
So instead of dating, Cher now dedicates her free time to various good causes. She’s helped rescue an abused elephant from a zoo in Pakistan, for instance. And with her own charitable organization, Cher Cares, she does much to help overlooked communities and those in need of help.
Altogether, it’s more than fair to say Cher is a legend – both on stage and off. And if you’re wondering where the colorful private life comes from, you don’t need to look too far. The star’s mother Georgia Holt was a renowned beauty and is still going strong in her nineties. She’s also had six marriages to five different men. Now, that is an achievement.
Cher seems to have followed in her mom’s footsteps, then, with that list of ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends as long as her discography. Love’s a subject that she seemingly knows all about. And in 2018 the legendary diva revealed the fascinating story behind her unlikeliest conquest.
Yet Cher’s eventful love life evidently began in her mid-teens when she left high school for the bright lights of Los Angeles. The youngster then began performing on stage with Sonny Bono – a singer 11 years her senior – with whom Cher admits she was instantly smitten. In 2010 she told Parade magazine, “I swear to God, the moment I saw Sonny, everyone else in the room disappeared. He was the coolest guy.”
Sonny didn’t exactly feel the same way, though; the singer apparently told Cher that he wasn’t attracted to her at all in their early stages. But that all changed when the pair enjoyed a movie night in which he leaned in for a kiss. And the talented couple made their professional relationship a highly personal one when they walked down the aisle together in 1964. Five years later, they welcomed son Chaz into the world as well.
Sadly, though, the Sonny-and-Cher love story didn’t get a happy ending. The pair went their separate ways in 1974 – and at times their divorce got pretty ugly. But the former spouses eventually managed to rebuild their friendship, and Cher even helped Sonny with his successful mayoral campaign in Palm Springs. Tragically, however, Sonny lost his life while skiing in early 1998.
Back in the early 1970s, though, Cher wasted little time in moving on from Sonny. In fact, she was still going through divorce proceedings when she began dating David Geffen. The pair had first met the previous decade when Cher had collaborated with another successful record producer: Phil Spector. Geffen also helped the star with the negotiation side of her messy split from Sonny Bono.
But in the early 1990s, Geffen revealed that he was gay. But Cher insists that her relationship with the producer was entirely genuine. “I was the first person to share his bed and to share his life,” the star is quoted as saying in 2001 biography The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood. “People don’t believe that, or they don’t want to believe it, or they don’t understand how it could be. But we were really crazy about each other.”
The pair’s plans for marriage were apparently derailed when Cher fell in love with another music industry name. This time around, then, it was Gregg Allman who became the object of her affections after the pair met at one of the rock star’s shows. And within just five days of her divorce from Sonny Bono being concluded, Cher said “I do” to Allman at a ceremony in Las Vegas.
Yet the ink on that marriage certificate was still drying when Cher decided to file for divorce. Yes, just nine days after walking down the aisle, the singer allegedly felt that she could no longer put up with her new husband’s substance abuse problems. But the pair managed to get their lives back on track, and in 1976 Cher gave birth to their son, Elijah Blue.
The couple even ventured into the studio together to record the duets collection Two the Hard Way. But the album failed to connect with audiences, and shortly after Cher and Allman also realized that they were better off apart. And unsurprisingly, Cher once again moved on with another musician soon after.
In 1979 Cher settled down with one of the rock scene’s wildest names: Gene Simmons. But their relationship wasn’t a conventional one. In 1979, for instance, Cher told People, “I’m going through a very liberated phase right now. I think I have a very masculine attitude to dating. Gene might spend time with another woman and stay the night, but he wants her to leave in the morning, so he can get on with his day.”
Unfortunately for Cher, Simmons seemingly took advantage of her relaxed attitude to dating. You see, Cher informed Simmons that her friend Diana Ross was the ideal person to advise about possible Christmas presents, and the rocker and the Motown legend subsequently went shopping together. But Simmons evidently got more than he bargained for, and shortly after he dumped Cher for her BFF.
But Cher didn’t spend much time crying over this betrayal. After all, in 1980 she began stepping out with Les Dudek – a session guitarist six years her junior – who also performed in her short-lived backing band, Black Rose. In 1982, however, both their personal and professional relationship came to an end.
Cher then moved on to a playboy dubbed the Romeo of the Rink. Yes, in 1982 the diva began seeing Ron Duguay, an ice hockey player with the New York Rangers. But despite singing his praises while speaking to Andy Warhol for Interview magazine, Cher only managed to tame the sportsman for a month.
Then in 1984 People magazine reported that Cher had started dating Eric Stoltz, the actor who portrayed her son in acclaimed drama Mask. However, the singer furiously denied these claims in a letter published in the national magazine. People later acknowledged that it had gotten it wrong and offered a sincere apology.
Despite this beef with People, though, Cher was still more than happy to open up to the magazine about her next celebrity lover: Val Kilmer. In 1984 she said, “Val is terrific, but sometimes it’s just too intense and hot. It’s come the closest to working.” Cher also complimented the Top Gun star on his kissing abilities as well as his sensitivity, artistic streak and sense of humor.
But after splitting with Kilmer, Cher then made matters more awkward by entering into a relationship with the actor’s agent, Joshua Donen. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, though; the pair found each other difficult to get on with while Cher was dating Kilmer. They eventually found a kinship, however, and the singer later claimed to People that Donen had “the best strengths of all the men [she’s] been with.”
But despite all this gushing, Cher and Donen were done and dusted two years later. The former then made headlines when she began stepping out with a man 18 years younger than herself: Rob Camilletti. And Camilletti – dubbed the Bagel Boy due to his bakery profession – managed to do what very few of Cher’s previous lovers had achieved.
Yes, against all the odds, Cher and her previously unknown boyfriend managed to stay together for an impressive three years. The singer later admitted to Parade that media intrusion had harmed their relationship – but that they had stayed very good friends. She even cited Camilletti as the true love of her life during an appearance on The Marc & Myra Show.
But there’s more. Having previously been less than discreet about her past loves, Cher chose to stay schtum about her relationship with Richie Sambora. The diva even refused to discuss life with the Bon Jovi guitarist in a 1991 interview with People. Yet she did imply that matters weren’t hunky-dory, admitting, “It would be very difficult to be Mr. Cher. For the last couple of years, I haven’t had much time for a private life.”
And shortly after, Cher and Sambora parted company – reportedly over the latter’s wild rock star lifestyle. But the guitarist later told Arsenio Hall on his hit talk show that the pair’s busy work commitments were to blame. He also claimed, “We still have fun together… We still always have a good relationship, although it didn’t work out in that particular aspect.”
News about Cher’s love life then became surprisingly scarce until 2008 – when she began dating a surprise new beau. It seems that Tim Medvetz, a member of notorious motorcycle gang Hells Angels, had captured the singer’s heart as the pair developed a bond over their passion for Harley-Davidsons. And after several years of Cher and Medvetz reportedly being on/off, rumors surfaced that the unlikely couple were about to get hitched.
But such gossip proved to be untrue, and the pair separated for good in 2013. In an interview with Notebook that same year, Cher revealed, “I just broke up with someone, but I need a little bit of a break. I don’t believe in going from one [relationship] to another. I have girlfriends that won’t leave someone they’re with until they have someone to move on to, and you just can’t do that.”
Cher also stepped out with Ron Zimmerman during one of her several breaks with Medvetz. And the screenwriter appeared to be the polar opposite of her on/off beau. She told Parade in 2010, “Ron is short, a bit scraggly, like an absent-minded professor. He’s the funniest person I have ever met, and the most eccentric – so bizarre and kind and very special.”
In the same interview, Cher denied that she had any regrets about her eventful love life. She said, “I never felt I chose badly, and I was always happy when the next man came along. I can usually last about two years with a man, and that’s it. The moment the relationship goes into the phase of more commitment, it changes.”
Cher has also happily discussed several one-night stands with high-profile names she’s had over the years. At the age of 16, she’s said, she hooked up with Warren Beatty – but was left disappointed. Cher told Playboy, “Not that he wasn’t technically good, or could be good, but I didn’t feel anything. So, for me, I felt, there’s no reason for you to do that again.”
And in 2010 Cher told talk show legend David Letterman about another celebrity notch on her bedpost. This time around, it was guitar legend Eric Clapton whose ears were no doubt left burning. According to the report in the Daily Mail, the pair hooked up after working together on “Love Can Build a Bridge” – a charity single released in 1995.
And then there were the ones who got away. In the same David Letterman interview, Cher confessed that she had become too nervous when Elvis Presley had asked her out and subsequently had turned the King down. She also said no to Marlon Brando when he propositioned her – a decision that she also regrets.
Of course, there’s one name in Cher’s long list of past loves that sticks out like a sore thumb. And that’s Hollywood’s ultimate sofa-jumping Scientologist Tom Cruise. Yes, Cher and the diminutive box office star briefly dated in the mid-1980s after meeting at the Malibu wedding of Madonna and Sean Penn.
A 22-year-old Cruise and a 38-year-old Cher didn’t hook up straight away, though. The pair got to know each other first as they continued to rub shoulders at high-profile and star-studded events. And one such occasion was at the epicenter of American politics: the White House.
There was a very specific reason why both Cher and Tom Cruise were in attendance. In 2018 the former told the Daily Mail, “A bunch of people who were dyslexic were invited to the White House, and Tom and I are both dyslexic.” That same year, Cher was honored by The Lab School of Washington as an “outstanding learning disabled achiever.”
Cher told the Associated Press in 1985, “I’m a terrible reader. I don’t write letters. Numbers and I have absolutely no relationship. I can dial a phone okay, as long as it’s not long distance. I write the first letter of the word, and my mind races to the last letter. I see words and jumble them together. I see great billboards, billboards no one has ever invented.”
So it’s fair to say that Cher probably wasn’t afraid of drawing attention to herself at the White House event. A report in The Washington Post noted that the star was even “draped in black and gray gabardine with a sculpted hairstyle best described as haute punk goddess.” The same newspaper also described Cruise as sporting a “1920s-chic gangster suit” with his “hair glooped in grease.”
Unusually, though, Cher kept quiet about her romance with Cruise until a couple of decades later. Then in a 2008 chat with Entertainment Tonight, she said, “It was a long, long time ago and neither one of us ever talked about it, and I don’t know why. When we were together, he was such a private person. He always has been until lately.”
So it seemed that Cher felt she was able to speak about their dalliance after witnessing Cruise’s change in personality. She continued, “He didn’t mention it, and I didn’t mention it. I loved him though; he was amazing. Now it’s hard for me to look at this person and this press. How many times can I watch him jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch?”
Cher also noted, while speaking to Oprah Winfrey, just how much Cruise’s character had changed since they dated in the mid-1980s. In 2008 she told the talk show icon, “I was so crazy about him. He was so wonderful… And he was so, like, different. He was a shy boy.” Cher then revealed that she’d lived with Cruise in his apartment during their short-lived romance.
So why did the unlikely pair call it a day? Well, Cher told Entertainment Tonight in 2008 that their hectic work schedules played a major part. She said, “It was after Risky Business and right before The Color of Money. I couldn’t go to Chicago and that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
And that wasn’t the last that we heard about the Cher/Cruise relationship. In 2013 the singer named the Mission: Impossible star as one of her top five lovers during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. She told the host, “It was pretty hot and heavy for a little minute. The person that I knew was a great, lovable guy.”
Cher also revealed, in a 2018 interview with the Daily Mail, that the pair were still on good terms. However, the singer was keen to distance herself from Cruise’s religious beliefs. She said, “I don’t get what he does, that whole Scientology thing. I can’t understand it so I just… don’t.”
In the same interview, Cher claimed that she now finds it harder to maintain a relationship than ever before. She said, “I’m still on the lookout. The problem I have with all the boyfriends lately is that I don’t want to go anyplace with them because you can’t keep a relationship going in this kind of goldfish bowl, where everything you do and every picture you have taken will be on Instagram.”
“There’s no way to keep something… special,” Cher added. The star also explained how the likes of Instagram and Twitter have made her think twice about being so candid with her relationships. She said, “I think I’m much more guarded now because of social media and because everyone has a camera. You can’t get any privacy now.”