The diva known today simply as "Cher" was born Cherylin Sarkisian on May 20, 1946, in El Centro, California to Georgia Holt and John Sarkisian, an Armenian farmer. The tumultuous relationship between Georgia and John led to divorce while Georgia was still pregnant with daughter Cher. The early days for Cher and her mother, a struggling actress and eight-time divorcee, were often difficult financially and led to Georgia placing Cher in foster care for a brief period of time as a child. However, Cher was enamored seeing her mother on stage and dreamed of one day becoming famous. Later, Georgia was able to provide her daughter with acting lessons to help guide her career.
In 1962, the sixteen-year-old Cher left school due to her struggles which would later be attributed to dyslexia. In 1963, Cher met 27-year-old Sonny Bono in a coffee shop and they soon began living together. Shortly thereafter he introduced her to producer Phil Spector and she was enlisted as a backup singer for the Ronettes. Later that year Sonny and Cher began recording together under the name Caesar and Cleo and released two singles: Baby Don't Go and Love is Strange. The two got married in 1964 and snagged a recording contract with Atlantic Records where they would soon release their blockbuster single I Got You Babe using their own names, Sonny and Cher. The success of this release was followed with worldwide tours, a string of successful hits, and a hugely popular comedy-variety television show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which lasted until 1974 when the couple divorced. Their union produced one child, Chastity Sun Bono, who was born on March 4th, 1969. Cher continued to work on her own television series for a while, and in the interim married rocker Gregg Allman in 1975. They had their only child, Elijah Blue Allman, on July 10th, 1976. The brief marriage between Cher and Allman ended in 1979.
By this time Cher was an unemployed, 33-year-old single mom who still had dreams of pursuing an acting career. She moved to New York to continue her acting studies. A stint in the play Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean led to a supporting role in Cher's first big film, Silkwood, where she played opposite Meryl Streep. This led to a string of other blockbuster hits including Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, and Moonstruck. After playing the role of film star throughout the eighties, Cher returned to the recording studio and released such CD's as the self-titled Cher and Heart of Stone (from which her enduring hit "If I Could Turn Back Time" originates), accompanied by hugely successful tours.
In 1999, Cher reinvented herself with the release of her new CD Believe, which became the best-selling album of her long career. She followed this hit album with a lengthy and hugely successful Farewell Tour which began in 2002 and ended in 2005.
Cher's career has spanned more than forty years as the diva has found success as a singer, television star, film actress, director, author, model, spokesperson, and business woman. Though Cher promises her touring days are over, the icon has no intention of retiring any time soon.