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Cher's Ex-husband Sonny Bono 'Always Wanted a Boy' & Nicknamed Their Trans Son Fred before His Sudden Death

Titi Dokubo
Mar 16, 2022
02:00 P.M.
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Cher and Sonny Bono's only child Chaz Bono went a long way to being himself. Chaz was his mother's firstborn and his father's second child.  


Both parents had different relationships with Chaz, especially in his early years, and differently accepted his self-identity through the years.

Here are all the details about Chaz Bono's father's support, their lives, relationships, and more.

Cher and Chaz Bono at the Women's March rally in Washington on January 21, 2017 [left], Sonny and Chastity circa 1973 [right]. | Source: Getty Images


Sonny Bono was a politician and musician who started as a singer in the mid-1960s with his girlfriend Cherilyn Sarkisian, better known as Cher.

Shortly before they recorded "I Got You, Babe," the song which became the hit of their career in 1965, they married. On March 4, 1969, they welcomed their daughter, Chastity Sun Bono, after a string of miscarriages.

In 1971, they starred in "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" and sometimes had their daughter on the show. The show went off the air three years later, and their attempted comeback in 1976 was futile.

Sonny and Cher circa 1965. | Source: Getty Images


After 13 years of marriage, Cher and Sonny ended their union in June 1975, and they never had any other kids together.

Sonny had a daughter named Christy from his first marriage to Donna Rankin. He loved spending time with her, but he also wanted a boy. So, when Chastity came along, he always had little suits made for her. 

Portrait of Sonny Bono, Cher and Chastity Bono in 1970 | Source: Getty Images


As she grew up, even though Cher used to play dress-up with Chastity, she became a tomboy, and Sonny would sometimes reward Chastity for being a tomboy.

One time, Sonny and Chastity went to the toy store, and they couldn't find any mug or keychain that had her name on it.

Sonny then asked her to choose a name, and after he suggested Fred, Chastity liked it, and the name stuck for a while.

Sonny Bono and Chastity performing in a skit in an episode of "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" in 1972. | Source: Getty Images



After Cher and Sonny went their separate ways, Chastity divided her time between both parents. When she was with Sonny, she was free to dress like a boy, and when she spent time with Cher, it wasn't so easy.

At 13, Chastity finally understood why she had always felt different. Things fell into place when she watched the movie "Personal Best" even though she had already mistaken sexual orientation for gender identity.

Chastity Bono in an episode of "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" on August 9, 1973. | Source: Getty Images


It wasn't until Chastity was 18 that a tabloid magazine revealed that she is a lesbian. However, it took her another eight years to come out publicly.

After coming out, Chastity revealed that she failed at being a lesbian and something never felt right because she knew she was a man.

With the changes in Chastity's life, Cher initially did not handle the situation well because she was in denial even though she felt it.


Chastity first came out with her father before Cher started noticing the changes in her child. When Cher went to Sonny, she discovered that everyone else knew before her.

The news angered Cher, and she said she didn't know her beliefs until life tested her, and it took some time to get back to her ideas.

Chastity is not the only child Cher has as she married rock musician Greg Allman a few days after her divorce from Sonny. On July 10, 1976, they had a son, Elijah Blue.

Portrait of Cher with her children. Elijah Blue Allman on her left and Chastity Bono on her right. | Source: Getty Images


Growing up, Elijah felt shunned because his parents sent him to boarding school at seven. He would always come back home to visit his parents and get into all sorts of trouble with his friends.

He had a close relationship with Chastity. However, after they started going to different schools, they grew apart because they were not geographically in the same place.

Despite their differences, Cher is glad she raised two good kids in whom she tried to instill a good moral compass. She is also proud that they turned out pretty well.



Once Sonny's music career waned, he went into politics, and in 1988, he became the mayor of Palm Springs, California. Six years later, he got elected to Congress as a representative from California's 44th Congressional District.

In 1996, Sonny cosponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, and Chastity was angry with her father. Unfortunately, they didn't move past the incident before Sonny died in a skiing accident in January 1998.


Even though they had differing opinions, Sonny was described as a supportive and loving father who cherished and accepted his kids for who they were.

In 2009, Chastity released a statement saying she was becoming a man. When Cher received the news, she was unbelievably calm, and in 2010, she legally changed her name to Chaz.


However, one month after Chaz started receiving testosterone injections, his voice began to change, and he revealed all that his mother began pulling away.

Even though Cher is a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community, Chaz's transition was initially difficult. For Cher, she wasn't losing her child, but the child's shape was changing, and that made it hard.


In his book "Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man," Chaz revealed that his mother never liked his masculine style when he was a girl and that his friends were only male.

With time, she came to support his decision and was vocal about it. Cher said she was 100 percent comfortable with it, but it was a process she was going through.


She had to look inward and realize how important this transition was for her child. Chaz also understood that Cher had to grieve for the daughter she was losing before accepting the son he was becoming.

In 2017, Chaz began dating Shara Mathes after they met through mutual friends. His partner, an actress, turned charity worker, was also a child star.

In 1984, she appeared in Jason Bateman's series "It's Your Move." She wasn't ready for a relationship when they first met because she had just come out of one.

Once they began hitting things off, she became a part of the family, and Cher also approved of her.