Extended transcript: Cher

Anthony Mason interviews the singer Cher, at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.
CBS News

(CBS News) At 67, the singer born Cherilyn Sarkisian is nothing if not forthright. In an interview for "Sunday Morning," Anthony Mason asked Cher about her career, her influence on other singers, her family life, and the impact of the media on her privacy. Cher's responses were characteristically playful, thoughtful and entertaining -- too entertaining to cut down.

In this extended, web-exclusive transcript, the Grammy- and Oscar-winner discusses her first husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono; her reputation for provocative fashion, and how she sees the similarly provocative garb of such performers as Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus; her gay fans; her relationship with her son, Chaz Bono (born Chastity Bono), and her mother, Georgia Holt (the subject of a new documentary, "Dear Mom, Love Cher"); her experiences as an actress, including the role Jack Nicholson didn't want her to play; and why she understands bands who wreck hotel rooms when on tour.

Mason: You've said that you're not a serious actor and you're not a serious singer.

Cher: I did?

Mason: Yeah. Please tell me you don't believe that?

Cher: I must have been high. I take my work seriously. I don't know, it must have been some sort of flippant, b------- thing that I said.

Mason: Okay, fair enough. I took it as more of what you said when you don't like your voice or something like that.

Cher: I think people said or thought that I didn't take my work seriously because of something I said. I said something about, like, taking myself seriously. I am serious about my work. I'm so serious, you have no idea. I'm serious about my work, but I don't take myself seriously. I'm not precious, you know. Do you understand what I mean by precious?

Mason: Totally.

Cher: Okay. Totally, dude!

Mason: Some newspaper threw a serious of very quick questions at you, one of which was, 'Who's the most interesting person you've ever met?'

Cher: And what'd I say?

Mason: You said Sonny.

Sonny and Cher in an undated publicity photo. Kapp Records

Cher: Yeah.

Mason: True?

Cher: Yeah. He was so complicated -- so much more to him than what people thought, good and bad. But I would say, he's still the -- I don't know really why, but there was something about him that was so different. Also, I was 16 when I met him, and so some of that still is with me, that feeling of awe about him. And then he was like a pain in the ass, you cannot believe. He could just be so horrible; he was also so great.

I mean, there'd be no one I'd want to work with more than him. He was so much fun. He would just make me howl, you know? But he could be that kind of real Italian 'Go-to-your-place.' That was hard.

Mason: Do you think he structured the contracts the way he did partly 'cause he'd worked for Phil Spector, who structured everything pretty much that way?

Cher: No, I think he structured them because he said, 'I always knew you'd leave.'

Mason: Well, he turned out to be right.

Cher: Yeah. He didn't give any room. You know, I needed some room. I wasn't the same girl. I wasn't a girl, and after Chaz I just started to grow. Also, after the TV show I was let around a whole bunch of people. You know, he wasn't much for letting you have any breathing space.


Mason: I was struck by your appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010, when you ended up giving an award to Lady Gaga. Sort of the takeaway in watching that was, in a lot of ways, you paved the way for all these people?

Cher: Yeah.

Mason: Do you feel that?

Cher: That's true, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, because there wasn't anybody exactly pushing the environment and my way at the time. Sonny and I pushed the envelopes. Sonny and I got into so much trouble, beaten up, nose broken, kicked out of everyplace.

And that was just for wearing what we wore and our hair and the way we wore it. And people were so terrified of us and didn't like us. I mean, Americans hated us. When we went to England, all of our friends who were English said, 'Sell everything you have and go there.'

Lady Gaga accepts the Video of the Year Award from Cher during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE, September 12, 2010 in Los Angeles. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Stones said, 'You know, if you go there, they will understand you. They'll accept you.' And they did. Also, I did these big lavish Vegas things, shows, which everybody totally put me down for. Now everybody does that -- they do shows in silks and dancers and props and all that kind of stuff. And I wore crazy clothes and showed almost everything that I had -- which really wasn't that much! So I think so. You know what I was thinking when I was standing there next to Gaga?

Mason: What?

Cher: I was looking at the dress, and I thought, 'My God, this dress is made so beautifully.' (laughs)

Mason: The dress made out of meat?

Cher: I was just so struck with how beautifully it was tailored. I was thinking, 'God, this is amazing.'

Mason: Is that something you would have ever worn?

Cher: I don't think so. My taste doesn't go there.

Mason: Did you watch this year's MTV Video Music Awards by any chance?

Cher: No. Obviously I saw what you're trying to get me to talk about.

Mason: Well, you were a person who's willing to do some outrageous things. What did you think of that?

Cher: I didn't like it?

Mason: You didn't?

Cher: Unh-uh. if she'd come out naked, and it was beautifully done, I would have said, 'You go, girl.' I don't care about that. I just don't like to see things done badly.