Cher's Life in Photos

Cher turns 77 on May 20, 2023! "Turn Back Time" as we look at the legendary singer and actress's life and career in photos

01 of 29

1960s: Cher Gets Her Start

1964, Los Angeles, Cher
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946, in El Centro, California, Cher dropped out of school at 16 years old and moved to L.A. There, she met Sonny Bono (who was 11 years her senior) in 1962. Bono was working for producer Phil Spector at the time. Cher started out singing backup vocals — you may have even heard her on songs like "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers.

02 of 29

1960: Sonny and Cher

Gunter Zint/K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

Before they were Sonny and Cher, the duo performed as Ceasar and Cleo, though they didn't find much success with their initial singles. In 1964, the pair recorded "Baby Don't Go" as Sonny and Cher. They also married that year in Tijuana, though the union wasn't legal.

In 1965, they released their first big hit, "I've Got You Babe."

03 of 29

1968: Cher's Solo Career

Entertainer Cher fixes her make up in a dressing room mirror in March 1968 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

While Cher was making music with Sonny, she was also working on her solo career. Many of her initial albums such as All I Really Want to Do, The Sonny Side of Cher and Cher contained mostly covers of songs, though her song, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" off of her second album earned the singer her first No. 2 single.

In 1971, she scored her first No. 1 hit with the title track from her album, Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves.

04 of 29

1972: 'The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour'

Sonny and Cher Bono pose for a promotional photo for "The Sonny and Cher Show" in 1970.
Sonny and Cher. Martin Mills/Getty

Sonny and Cher experienced great success in the 1960s with songs like "The Beat Goes On" and "Little Man," but by the end of the decade, the pair found their career as a duo stalling. They began performing a variety show in Las Vegas, which eventually became The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. The show earned the couple four Emmy nominations.

In 1969, the pair welcomed their child, Chaz Bono, and were legally married following the birth.

Though the singers split in 1974, they reunited for the series in 1976, making them the first divorced stars of such a show. The series was canceled in 1977.

05 of 29

1973: Cher at the Academy Awards with Sonny Bono

Sonny Bono And Cher
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

In 1973, Cher released her 10th studio album — she was busy! — Half-Breed, and the title track was Cher's second No. 1 hit.

She also wore this iconic outfit to the 1973 Academy Awards, cementing place in fashion history.

06 of 29

1974: Cher at the Grammys

Cher. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In 1966, Sonny and Cher were nominated for best new artist at the Grammys. In 1972, the singer was nominated both as a solo artist and as a duo: She was up for best female pop vocal performance for Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves and best pop performance by a duo or group for All I Ever Need Is You.

She wouldn't win a Grammy until 2000, when she took home the award for best dance recording for "Believe." She was also nominated for record of the year and best pop vocal album that year.

In 2004, she was nominated once more for best dance recording for her album, Love One Another.

07 of 29

1974: Filing for Divorce

Ron Galella Collection via Getty

The year 1974 was one of ups and downs for Cher. In January of, Cher earned her first Golden Globe for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, but then, in February 1974, Sonny filed for separation. The singer then filed for divorce one week later, citing "involuntary servitude" as her reason for the breakup.

08 of 29

1975: Cher's Relationship with Greg Allman

Celebrity couple Cher and her husband Gregg Allman attend an event in circa 1977.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In 1975, just days after her divorce from Bono was finalized, Cher married Greg Allman of The Allman Brothers band. Cher filed for divorce nine days later. The pair reconciled and Cher welcomed their first child together, a son, Elijah Blue, in July 1976.

Cher and Allman would officially divorce in 1979, but not before releasing an album together as Allman and Woman, Two the Hard Way.

09 of 29

1975: Cher Goes Her Own Way

Harry Langdon/Getty

In 1975, Cher earned an Emmy nomination for her return to the small screen with her variety show, Cher. She would eventually go on to win an Emmy in 2003, for outstanding variety, music or comedy special for Cher: The Farewell Tour.

10 of 29

1983: Cher Stars in 'Silkwood'

SILKWOOD, Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
Courtesy Everett Collection

In 1983, the singer set her eyes on an Academy Award when she starred opposite Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell in Silkwood.

She won the supporting actress Golden Globe for her performance and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars.

11 of 29

1985: Cher Stars in 'Mask'

American actress and singer Cher in London to promote her latest film 'Mask', 26th June 1985. She stars as Florence 'Rusty' Dennis in the film.
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty

In 1985, Cher nabbed her next big movie role in Mask. She also debuted this incredible hair on the red carpet for the premiere. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.

12 of 29

1986: Cher Drops Jaws at the Oscars


In 1986, the singer wore a Bob Mackie (who else?) Oscar gown to spite the Academy, after not earning a nomination for her performance in Mask.

"I had the idea mostly because the Academy didn't really like me," Cher said of the now-infamous look. "They hated the way I dressed and I had young boyfriends so they thought I wasn't serious. So I came out and said, 'As you can see I got my handbook on how to dress like a serious actress.' "

13 of 29

1988: Cher's Relationship with Rob Camilletti

Portrait of American singer and actress Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPiere) and her boyfriend, Rob Camilletti, 1980s
Anthony Barboza/Getty

The "young boyfriend" Cher was referring to was Rob Camilletti. Cher, then 40, dated the 22-year-old, and their relationship garnered some serious media scrutiny, with Cher telling Parade in 2010, "They were so mean with Robert — you know, 'the bagel boy.' "

The pair split in 1989, but Cher told Women's Realm that he was her "one true love," and in 2010 revealed to Vanity Fair that Camilletti, who became a pilot, "comes to Christmas dinner."

14 of 29

1987: Cher Stars in 'Moonstruck'

Cher and Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck, a sophisticated romantic comedy.
NY Daily News Archive via Getty

In 1987, Cher starred alongside Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck, a rom-com about a woman who, after losing her husband, is planning on getting married once more, only to find herself falling in love with her fiancé's estranged younger brother. And boy, does she "love him awful."

15 of 29

1988: Cher Gets Her Academy Award

John Barr/Liaison

Her role in Moonstruck earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress, and a Golden Globe!

16 of 29

Late 1980s: Cher's Return to the Charts

Martina Raddatz/Redferns

In 1987, Cher released her 18th studio album, Cher, and it was a huge success, going platinum and including her hit, like "I Found Someone."

In 1989, she released Heart of Stone, which included one of her most recognizable hits, "If I Could Turn Back Time." The song's music video, filmed on the USS Missouri, was the first ever to be banned from MTV, because the superstar straddled a cannon on the battleship and also wore a barely-there, now-iconic leotard.

17 of 29

1990: Cher Stars in 'Mermaids'

MERMAIDS, Cher, 1990
Orion Pictures Corp/Courtesy Everett Collection

Cher returned to the big screen in 1990, starring alongside Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder in Mermaids. The movie's soundtrack included her hit song, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)."

18 of 29

1990s: Cher's Health Struggles

Singer and actress Cher attends the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Benefit Featuring Richard Tyler's New Fashion Collection and the Debut of Johnny Depp's Short Film "Banter" on February 22, 1994 at the Smashbox Studios in Culver City, California.
Ron Davis/Getty

In the early 1990s, Cher contracted Epstein-Barr virus, which led to her developing chronic fatigue syndrome, both of which made it difficult for her to work. In that time, she did infomercials, which led to SNL parodies and were a real hit to her career.

She told Entertainment Weekly in 1996, "The infomercials were just devastating to my career. I'm kind of stupid when it comes to things. I've always just done what I wanted and it's just worked out. Not this time. I really screwed up."

19 of 29

1998: The Death of Sonny Bono

Singer/Actress Cher and Mary Bono attend the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony Honoring Sonny and Cher on May 15, 1998 at 7018 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

In 1998, Cher's ex-husband, Sonny Bono, died in a skiing accident. Following his death, Sonny and Cher were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which Cher accepted alongside her family, and with Sonny's wife, Mary Bono.

20 of 29

Early 2000s: Cher's Next Big Comeback

Cher performs during a show kicking off the European leg of her Living Proof Farewell Tour on May 9, 2004 at Oddessy Arena in Belfast, Ireland.

In October 1998, Cher released Believe, which would become her next big hit. The album earned her a Grammy Award and went quadruple platinum. She followed up the album's success with the release of Living Proof in 2001, and with a farewell tour: Living Proof: The Farewell Tour. The tour ran from 2002 to 2005.

21 of 29

2002: Cher Is Honored at the Billboard Music Awards

Cher and son Elijah Blue Allman
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

In December 2002, Cher brought one of her sons, Elijah Blue Allman, as her date to the Billboard Music Awards, where she was honored with the special Artist Achievement Award

22 of 29

2010: Cher Stars in 'Burlesque'

BURLESQUE, center: Cher, 2010
Screen Gems/Courtesy Everett Collection

In 2010, Cher returned to the big screen to star alongside Stanley Tucci and Christina Aguilera in Burlesque. The film marked her first debut movie musical.

23 of 29

2017: Cher Reaches Icon Status

Actress/singer Cher performs onstage during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty

Though she was already considered an icon, Cher was honored at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards with the Icon Award, and performed her greatest hits on stage. She even donned the infamous "If I Could Turn Back Time" leotard three decades after the music video's release!

And she earned that honor: Did you know that Cher is the only artist to have had a No. 1 single on a Billboard chart in every decade from the 1960s to the 2010s?

24 of 29

2017: Cher at the Women's March with Her Son, Chaz Bono

Cher (L) and Chaz Bono attend the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

In January 2017, Cher and her firstborn, Chaz Bono, attended the Women's March together in Washington, D.C.

25 of 29

2018: Cher in 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'

Ruby (CHER) surprises granddaughter Sophie (AMANDA SEYFRIED) in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." Ten years after "Mamma Mia! The Movie," you are invited to return to the magical Greek island of Kalokairi in an all-new original musical based on the songs of ABBA.
Universal Pictures

In 2018, Cher returned to the big screen yet again for another movie musical, starring as Ruby Sheridan in the Mamma Mia! sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She told PEOPLE of joining the cast, "Everyone knew each other, so it was like home for them. I was terrified. They're like a family, and there's lots of awards in that group. So to step in as the evil grandmother …"

26 of 29

2018: Another Tour for Cher

Cher performs at Spark Arena on September 21, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Hannah Peters/Getty

She followed up her appearance in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, with an album of ABBA covers and a tour.

27 of 29

2018: Cher Is Honored at the Kennedy Center

An extraordinary group of renowned artists gather in Washington D.C. to salute this year's honorees at THE 41st ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, to be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 26 on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Phillip Glass, Cher, House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, President and Acting CEO, CBS Corporation Joseph Ianniello and his wife Jennifer
John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty

The year 2018 was a busy one for Cher, who received a Kennedy Center Honor.

"It can get exhausting being Cher, especially when you're older and you're still doing the same things," she told PEOPLE in 2018. "But I still have a great time. To have the stamina, and also to have the audience ... You forget that people just do regular jobs that they don't get applause for."

28 of 29

2018: The Cher Show

The Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon Cher
Cher with Stephanie J. Block and the cast of The Cher Show. Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

In December 2018, Cher was immortalized on Broadway with a jukebox musical following her life and career, simply titled The Cher Show.

29 of 29

2021: Cher Attends the The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening Gala

Cher attends The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer/WireImage

From her political activism — she helped campaign for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020 — to her Here We Go Again! tour restarting in 2022, the icon hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.

She even confirmed in 2021 that a biopic about her life and career is in the works with Universal Pictures. Happy Birthday, Cher!

Related Articles