In a long career starting its fifth decade, Cher has reinvented herself several times, from a young teen-idol and sexsymbol to a wise talented woman. She dropped out of school and left home at 16, moving to Hollywood to be an actress. In 1963 she sang in sessions for producer Phil Spector where she met Sonny Bono. Her musical and romantic partnership with Bono lasted until 1975.
After their bitter split Cher hosted her own TV variety show, which lasted one year. She had been having an affair with record producer David Geffen, but married guitarist Gregg Allman five days after her divorce from Bono. That 1975 marriage produced a son, Elijah Blue, and an album, the critically reviled Allman and Woman, but the couple divorced in 1979. Cher became famous for her relationships with younger rockers, including a late-Seventies romance with Kiss' Gene Simmons and an early-Nineties relationship with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
In 1979, Cher had her first hit since her breakup with Bono with the disco album Take Me Home and its title track. In 1980, she formed the hard-rock band Black Rose with her boyfriend Les Dudek, but critics buried them. Cher returned to playing Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where she has always been popular; her casino stints also led her to the infamous Sun City resort in South Africa.
Cher made her Broadway debut in Robert Altman's Come Back to the 5 and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean in 1982. She starred in the movie of the play also, a role that finally broke down the Hollywood doors. In the next decade she played featured roles in Silkwood, Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, Suspect, Moonstruck and Mermaids; she won an Oscar for best actress for her performance in Moonstruck. Later, she also starred in If these Walls could Talk and Tea with Mussolini, a film which also starred Maggie Smith.
In 1987, Cher returned to recording and had a gold record with Cher, which featured the singles "I Found Someone" and "We All Sleep Alone." Sonny and Cher reunited for a performance on Late Night with David Letterman in February 1988. In 1989, her duet with Peter Cetera from the Chances Are soundtrack, "After All," became a hit. Heart of Stone went double platinum with the singles "If I Could Turn Back Time," "Just Like Jesse James," and "Heart of Stone." Cher's cover of Betty Everett's "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" was featured in Mermaids. In 1993, Cher recorded "I Got You Babe," her 1965 hit with Sonny, backed by MTV cartoon characters Beavis and Butt-head for The Beavis and Butt-head Experience album.
But Cher's biggest record had yet to come: in 1998 Cher released Believe; the single was a number 1 hit in 23 countries all over the world, becoming her most successful single 31 years after her beginning in the music business.
In late 2002, Cher launched her farewell tour, playing sold-out stadium shows with opening act Cyndi Lauper; she commemorated this closing chapter in her musical career with the early 2003 release of The Very Best Of Cher. It remains to be seen what Cher will do next professionally, but as she moves on to happier times, this diva is still proving that she is one showbiz survivor to "Believe" in.