Cher has been teasing fans with a photo of a dazzling diamond ring presented to her at Christmas by her beau, Alexander Edwards. At 36, the music producer is 40 years Cher's junior, but that is no impediment to their romance. The pop diva and actress is youthful in both spirit and appearance. Neither her career nor her love life shows signs of slowing down.
Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre was born in El Centro, California, on 20 May 1946. She owes her striking brunette looks to her mum Georgia Holt, who was part Cherokee.
She knew from an early age that she wanted to be famous. When she was 16 she met the man who would change her life in a California coffee shop. Sonny Bono was an assistant to famed record producer Phil Spector, and helped her get a job as a studio back-up singer. She married Sonny, and the newlyweds recorded their breakthrough hit, I Got You Babe, as Sonny and Cher, topping the charts for the first time in 1965.
In the 1970s the two crossed over to TV with the hugely successful Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour. Their on-screen chemistry, with the statuesque beauty making deadpan quips at the expense of her diminutive moustached partner, made for great TV. However behind the scenes, things fell apart. In 1975, the couple, parents to a six-year-old, Chastity, divorced.
Cher continued her TV career, but not her life, solo. Four days after her divorce was finalised, she wed rocker Greg Allman. Though the couple separated after nine days of marriage, they reconciled and had a little boy, Elijah Blue, in 1976. The following year they called time on the marriage.
In the 1980s, the multi-talented Cher turned her attention to movies. She was cast alongside Meryl Streep in 1983's Silkwood, and impressively followed up with The Witches Of Eastwick. Her acting ability was more than confirmed when she picked up a best actress Oscar for 1987's Moonstruck. The barely-there creation by Bob Mackie that she wore to the ceremony made headlines.
Her daring dress sense came to the fore once again in 1989, when she staged a musical comeback with the hit single If I Could Turn Back Time. Her see-through outfit for the video proved she need have no worries about time. It also brought a ban from MTV. Of her sartorial choices Cher explains: "Women dress for women first and men second. I dress for myself first."
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In addition to a three-year relationship with 20-something baker-turned-DJ Rob Camilletti in the Eighties, Cher also dated a fascinating line-up of eligible men including actor Val Kilmer and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. "A girl can wait for the right man to come along," she reasons, "but in the meantime that doesn't mean she can't have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones."
In 1998, she received the devastating news that her first love Sonny, by that time a US representative, had been killed in a skiing accident. The world watched as Cher made a heartfelt tribute to the late politician at his funeral, which was covered on live TV.
But that low came along with a high, the success of hit song Believe that same year, as the pop culture icon found fame with a whole new generation. In 2002 she celebrated her four decades in music with a spectacular tour involving no less than 14 costume changes.
Twenty years on, far from retiring, she is still thrilling audiences and is as bold and beautiful as ever. She's also in love. If she does decide to give marriage another chance, one can only wish her well.
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