When Tom Cruise met Cher
When Tom Cruise met Cher in the mid-1980s, the superstar couple’s romance was one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets.
Cruise was a young actor famous for the hit comedy, Risky Business, while Cher was an established singer and actress with 20 years’ show business experience. They went on to date, despite a 16-year age gap, but kept their relationship under wraps.
Cher didn’t admit to their romance publicly until 2008. Cruise has always remained tight-lipped on the subject, even after almost 40 years.
Cher’s early years
When Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1962, Cher had already moved to Los Angeles as an ambitious 16-year-old intent on pursuing a singing career. Her mother was actress Georgia Holt, who had minor roles in films and on TV.
Born Cherilyn Sarkisian in El Centro, California, in 1946, Cher dropped out of school and left home to follow her dreams. She took dancing jobs to support herself and pay for acting classes. She was very proactive, introducing herself to agents, managers and performers.
She met singer Sonny Bono, her future husband, in November 1962. He worked for record producer Phil Spector, who employed Cher as a backing singer on numerous records.
Cher and Sonny married in 1964, when she was 18. As pop duo Sonny and Cher, they had a number one US hit with I Got You Babe. Moving to the UK to further their career, they became global superstars overnight, knocking the Beatles off the top of the charts.
Their marriage ended in divorce in 1975, after their chart success and personal relationship floundered.
Cher has a remarkable ability to reinvent herself – a major factor in becoming the global superstar that audiences still love today. After her divorce, she pursued a solo career and became a respected actress, as well a chart-topping singer.
Ironically, in 1974 (the year of her divorce), Cher won a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for the TV show she and her husband had launched, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
After winning a $2.5 million record deal with Warner Bros Records in 1975, she released the album, Stars, a highly sought-after cult classic today. She had her own TV show, Cher, on CBS, where stars such as Bette Midler and Elton John made guest appearances.
Cher married musician Gregg Allman, of the famous Allman Brothers Band, soon after her divorce. The couple had one son, Elijah Blue. They divorced in 1979 and Cher reinvented herself again, changing her musical genre from disco and pop to rock.
In 1981, Cher recorded a song with Meat Loaf that was to become one of the most iconic duets in history – Dead Ringer for Love. It peaked at number five in the UK singles chart.
She began to develop her acting career in the 1980s, starring in two movies, Good Times and Chastity, before winning a leading role in the famous Broadway musical, Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
By the time Cher met Cruise in the mid-80s, she was already a global superstar with many hit records and successful acting roles under her belt.
Cruise had moved to New York at the age of 18 to become an actor, starring in the hit comedy, Risky Business, in 1983, when he was 21. With roles in The Outsiders and All the Right Moves, both hit films in the same year. In 1985, he was also the male lead in the Ridley Scott movie, Legend.
In the summer of ’85, Cruise and Cher’s paths first crossed as guests at the star-studded Malibu wedding of Madonna and Sean Penn. However, their love affair reportedly didn’t start until after their second meeting at the White House later in the year.
They both received the Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever Award as a result of overcoming the challenges of dyslexia. Cher later spoke of the “connection” this created between them at the White House fundraising event.
Cher was 39 and Cruise was 23 when they met, making them an unlikely celebrity couple. They kept their romance secret for many years after it ended, but according to Cher, they were quite serious at one time.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2008, she finally revealed the details, admitting she was “crazy about him” when they met.
She recalled Cruise was quite shy at first, as he was struggling to adapt to his new life as a film star. She felt they could have had a “great big romance” had their respective careers not got in the way.
Cher told Winfrey she had even lived with Cruise in his apartment for a time. She rated him as one of her “top five” lovers. While recounting their relationship, the audience at the Oprah Winfrey show broke into spontaneous applause and cheering as Cher recalled a “long night” in his arms.
In an interview in 2013, she said their romance was long before Cruise became a Scientologist. She described it as having been “pretty hot and heavy” while it lasted and said Cruise was “a great guy” and very “lovable”. However, they were both committed to their careers and split up after their hectic schedules meant they couldn’t spend any time together.
Cher said she and Tom were still friends, although she admitted she didn’t understand his Scientology beliefs.
She has never remarried since her second divorce in 1979 and although she has dated, she has admitted it’s tough as a star to keep a relationship going, describing the media interest as like living in a “kind of goldfish bowl”.
Cruise went on to marry Mimi Rogers in 1987, but they divorced in 1990. He later married Nicole Kidman, but their marriage also ended in divorce in 2001. Cruise and Katie Holmes were married from 2006 to 2012.
With a host of global hit records including If I Could Turn Back Time in 1989, The Shoop Shoop Song in 1990, Walking in Memphis in 1995 and the four-times platinum chart-topper Believe in 1998; Cher, 76, is worth an estimated $360 million today.
She has starred in many hit films, such as The Witches of Eastwick and Moonstruck in 1987, Mermaids in 1990, Tea with Mussolini in 1999, Burlesque in 2010 and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again in 2018.
As one of Hollywood’s most respected actors and film producers, Cruise, 60, is worth an estimated $620 million today. His most famous movies include Top Gun in 1986, Rain Man in 1988, Born on the Fourth of July in 1989, Interview with the Vampire in 1994 and Magnolia in 1999, for which he won a Golden Globe Award.
He has played Ethan Hunt in the six Mission: Impossible films from 1996 until 2018 and is famous for doing his own stunts, despite the risk of injury.
His success has continued into the 21st century with hit movies including Minority Report in 2002, War of the Worlds in 2005, Jack Reacher in 2012 and the Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick – Cruise’s highest grossing film to date – in 2022.
Had they not been so dedicated to their careers, who knows, the chance meeting between Tom Cruise and Cher might have led to a lifelong relationship? It seems you should never underestimate the power of a meeting to change your career – or even your life!
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