Cher is the coolest woman who ever stood in shoes. Why? Because her motto is, I don’t give a shit what you think, I’m going to wear this multicolored wig. There are folks all over America who would, in their heart of hearts, love to date people half their age, get multiple tattoos and wear feathered headdresses. Cher does it for us. Because of her Gargantuan fame, you’re probably aware of the film roles (she won a Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck), the albums (including It’s a Man’s World, her first in five years, on which her voice sounds better than ever) and the fellas (Richie Sambora, Gene Simmons, Val Kilmer). While in London to promote Man’s World, Cher, who recently turned 50, holds forth with her usual candor. It becomes clear that while she may have occasionally screwed up, Cher regrets rien. Well, maybe the infomercials.
Do you ever wake up and think, “I just don’t feel like being Cher today”?
Yeah, I did that for four, five years. How long have I been gone?
What have you been doing?
I just puttered around. I don’t know. I was kinda happy not to be Cher for a while.
Why did you pick It’s a Man’s World as a title?
It was kind of glib. And so people would ask me why.
Have you heard from James Brown since you did a cover of his “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”?
No. I wonder if he’s even heard it. It’s different from his, but I think he might like it.
So were you nervous getting back into the studio?
I’ve never gone in feeling confident in my life. That’s just the way I am. I just start doing it and hope I’ll forget I’m feeling apprehensive.
You have a greatest-hits LP coming out.
I guess at some point I do. It came out in Europe. It went, I don’t know, gazillion platinum. But it also had the biggest song I’ve ever had, “The Shoop Shoop Song.”
What’s good and bad about being 50?
I can’t think of anything good about being 50.
Did you dread it up until it happened?
I guess so. And then I thought, “Well, this isn’t so bad.” I was really nervous about turning 40, but that was the best year of my life. I did three movies, an album, I met Robert [Camilletti, an ex], my kids were still at home, and it was just a blast.
When’s the last time you talked to him?
About four days ago. Robert and I are like best friends in a way.
But you two had a passionate relationship. How can you not want to just jump on top of him?
Well, you know — I already did that.
Have you seen the Sonny and Cher reruns on Nick at Nite’s TV Land?
No, because I don’t get Nick 2 yet. I really liked doing the show. Careerwise, it was a happy time. It was just starting to be an unhappy time personally. But Sonny and I worked so well together. Otherwise we would have been divorced a long, long time before.
Can you tell me about one of the stranger moments on that show?
I remember one night singing “I Got You Babe” at the end, thinking, “I can’t wait until I’m off the show so I can go see my boyfriend at the beach.”
Give me three words to describe Sonny.
In Reader’s Digest there was a section called “My Most Unforgettable Character.” That’s Sonny to me. He’s the weirdest person I ever met. And I’ve met some really strange people.
So I heard you’re getting your tattoos removed. True?
It depends if it’s painful and it leaves a scar. If it doesn’t, absolutely.
You’re getting rid of them all?
Maybe not every single one. There’s a small one I might keep.
The rose one?
No, the one on my butt has no sentimental value whatsoever.
What’s something that you’d never do?
I would never bungee jump. I think it’s stupid. Why not take a knitting needle and stick it in your ear?
Junior Vasquez’s remix of “One by One” is a big hit on New York’s Fire Island. Why do gay folks like you so much?
Because I’m cool.
Why’d you hate Chastity’s first girlfriend?
I didn’t think she was very nice to Chastity. She didn’t show her any respect.
So when’s the last time you talked to Gene Simmons?
I talked to Genie …
Wait. You call him Genie?
Oh, yeah. He was charming and intelligent. I’ve seen him be an asshole, but never to me. And the kids loved him. He was a great father figure.
What do you think of the Kiss reunion?
It was my idea! I told Genie, “Look, you should all put on your makeup and get back out there. Everybody would go crazy.” I mean, they know how to put on a show.
So what’s the best Cher rumor you’ve ever heard?
[Pauses] I don’t know. Tell me a Cher rumor.
OK. When you first met Gregg Allman, you went to bed with him for 14 hours.
Well, first of all, I don’t sleep with people on the first date. And our first one was a disaster. We went to dinner and then to a party at either Edgar or Johnny Winter’s house, I can’t remember. It was not my thing. And Gregory kept trying to impress me. It was pretty awful, but afterward I called and said, “Let’s try again.” One thing about him, he had beautiful manners. He never swore. Ever. He called me Miss Gutter Mouth.
Are you single right now?
Yeah, I am very single.
Ever been on a blind date?
No! Because it probably wouldn’t be blind from his end, would it?
What was your best and worst experience on a movie set?
I guess Peter Bogdanovich [director of Mask] was my worst. At the time, I was so unsure of myself, and he wasn’t very nice. One day he said, “Just remember, this movie isn’t about the woman, it’s about a boy. I can cut you out.” I thought, “I’m going to take that information and just stash it, and get real, real tough.” And I did.
What’s a word you would never use to describe yourself?