“Goddess of Pop” Cher rose to fame in the mid-1960s as part of the duo Sonny & Cher alongside Sonny Bono, who she married in 1969. After their marriage — and consequently their group — ended in 1975, Cher went on to focus on her solo career, which had been growing even while she was still singing with Sonny. She also dove into the film industry and was praised as an actress, bringing home three Golden Globes over her still prosperous career to place next to her Grammy. Cher was married once more after Sonny to Allman Brothers’ guitarist Gregg Allman. She had a son during each marriage: Chaz Bono with Sonny and Elijah Blue Allman with Gregg.
Cher didn’t always have the life of glitz and glam, though. In fact, she grew up poor and fell into financial hardship after her records with Sonny stopped selling and even at one point owed the IRS $200,000 in taxes, per All Music. However, Cher was always rich with love from her mom, who stood by her side during her personal and professional highs and lows. To learn all there is to know about Cher’s mom, Georgia Holtread on below.
Georgia was married eight times
Cher’s mom was first married at the age of 17 years old and went on to walk down the aisle seven other times with six different men throughout her life. This was partially because she was taught that she could only have sex with a man if she was married to him, so she strongly obliged, which she revealed in an interview with ABC News in 2013. “I was married a lot but I didn’t stay married very long because I didn’t seem to be able to choose somebody that was a stable man,” she noted in a 2013 interview with HuffPost.
In the HuffPost Interview, Cher said she didn’t get to meet her biological father until she was 11 years old, but considered her younger sister’s father her dad. Giving insight into what it was like having so many fathers growing up, she recalled, “We were pretty much friends with all of my mother’s husbands, and my mother was friends with them too so it wasn’t as traumatic as you might think. They stayed friends so it wasn’t some horrible breakup.”
Georgia wanted to be a star like her daughter
Georgia wanted to be an actress and singer like her daughter, but she had much less success. She picked up minor roles in 10 projects between 1950 and 1966, most notably on popular TV series I Love Lucy and Ozzie and Harriet. When ABC News asked if she was at all jealous of her daughter’s success, she replied she is “thrilled” for her. “And I don’t think I would have been as good as she is … I don’t think I was equipped, strength-wise, to do it,” she confessed.
However, Georgia is now a star in her own right and released her debut country album, Honky Tonk Womanin 2013 at the age of 87. Fun fact: She recorded it all the way back in 1980, according to All Music! “It is such a thrill. I just cried and I cried and cried. I cried from the special, I cried from the album coming out after all these years,” Georgia gushed to HuffPost about how she felt after her music was finally released. She added that she started singing at the age of 6.
Cher sang with Georgia on the album, which was really special for both of them. “One thing that I loved,” Georgia recalled, “Cher said to me, ‘Mother, do you realize that you have the most expensive backup singer in the world?’ She sang backup on some of my songs. I love it!”
Georgia had serious mom guilt
Georgia had two kids: Cher and Cher’s younger sibling, actress Georganne LaPiere. Georgia had to work long hours to support her family, and she admitted she had major mom guilt whenever she had to leave them. “I think probably having to go off and work and leave them alone to get to school [was the hardest part of being a mom]she told HuffPost. “I had their lunches fixed and everything ready for their breakfast but sometimes I would have to leave before they left for school. That was real hard. I worried about them. I was real strict. Then sometimes I wouldn’t get home until they got out of school, and I would say, ‘You can only play out until it gets dusk and then you’ve got to come in.’”
However, she said she made it work and she always made sure her little girls enjoyed life as much as they could. “There’s a lot of things that you can do where you don’t have to have a lot of money. Going to the drive-in, which costs a dollar, and we would make food to take with us to the drive-in. That was a big thrill,” Georgia recalled. “On their birthdays, we had two trees in the front yard, and I’d hang suckers from one tree and balloons on the other. We would invite all the kids from the neighborhood. They had fun, I know they did.”
Georgia almost aborted Cher
It turns out that like Alicia Keys’ mom, Georgia almost terminated her pregnancy when he found out she was pregnant with who would become a world-renown superstar. “I tell you. There are no words. My mother wanted me to [have the abortion] Because I didn’t want to stay married, but obviously I couldn’t do it. I remember when the door opened… and I couldn’t do it. And thank God I didn’t,” Georgia stated to HuffPost.
Cher is worried about Georgia’s health
As of this writing, Cher’s loving mother is 95 years old, and Cher is worried about her age and how fragile she is. In a 2017 interview, she proudly stated that Georgia was “91 and she’s fabulous,” but also admitted she had some “rough moments,” per Entertainment Tonight. And a source told the outlet that Cher is more concerned about her mother’s health than she appears to be. In March 2017, Cher dropped out of a Lifetime movie and the insider noted it was because of Georgia’s health. “Cher’s worried about her mother’s health. She’s in her 90s now and does not want to be far from her,” the source divulged. “Her mother is not deathly ill, but is somewhat fragile.”
However, she still seems to be going strong. What a gift it is to be able to see your daughter shine for so long!