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Despite Her Millions, Cher Is Still Fighting with Late Bono’s Widow, Suing her For $1M

Cher | Sonny Bono | Source: youtube.com/Access Hollywood | Getty Images

The iconic singer and actress Cher is still fighting with the widow of her late ex-husband and musical partner, Sonny Bono, over his estate. She has sued her for $1 million, claiming she is entitled to half of the royalties from their hit songs. Bono’s widow, Mary, has invoked a legal right that gives her full control of the copyrights, sparking a fierce legal feud that has lasted for years.

They were a captivating duo that charmed the world with their catchy tunes and undeniable chemistry. Sonny Bono and Cher, two talented artists whose voices blended like a perfect harmony, dominated the charts with memorable hits like “I Got You Babe,” “The Beat Goes On,” and “Baby Don’t Go.”

Behind the scenes, their romance blossomed, and it seemed like fate had brought them together for a great purpose. In 1967, at the height of their fame, Bono and Cher exchanged vows of eternal love. Their partnership thrived, both on and off the stage. The world adored their enchanting performances and charismatic personalities.

Cher and Sonny Bono at Wembley Television Studios in London on August 26, 1966 | Source: Getty Images

Cher and Sonny Bono at Wembley Television Studios in London on August 26, 1966 | Source: Getty Images

In 1969, the world celebrated with them as Cher and Bono welcomed their only child, Chaz Bono, into this world, a testament to their enduring love and commitment. However, as time went by, the glamour of fame could not hide the problems that plagued their relationship.

Beneath the fame and glory, cracks began to appear in the once-solid foundation of their love. Cher, a woman of passion and independence, felt the burden of Bono’s control, limiting her potential and aspirations. She longed for more than the life restricted to the spotlight. She said:

“He didn’t want me to grow up or have any freedom.”

Cher, Chastity Bono & Sonny Bono. | Source: Getty Images

Cher, Chastity Bono & Sonny Bono. | Source: Getty Images

The End of an Era: Cher and Bono’s Divorce

The couple faced the challenges of infidelity and the pressure of stardom in their marriage. Cher learned the truth about Bono’s affairs, leaving her wondering whether their marriage was ever meant to last. The love story that once seemed destined for eternity came to a bitter end in 1974 when Cher filed for divorce, citing “involuntary servitude.”

Bono left behind a legacy of hit songs and memorable performances, but his passing also exposed a complicated web of legal and financial issues.

The legal battles that ensued were filled with disputes over custody and earnings, further breaking the bond of the once-influential duo. Finally, their love song reached its final note, and their divorce was finalized in 1975.

Sonny Bono and Cher on May 6, 1967 in New York | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono and Cher on May 6, 1967 in New York | Source: Getty Images

Bono retained ownership of their music rights, while Cher secured a half-share of their royalties, marking the end of an era both on and off the stage. The world grieved the loss of a captivating partnership, but the legacy of Bono and Cher lived on in the timeless songs they left for generations. They soon got back on good terms, and Cher said:

“​​We had a weird relationship. I don’t expect anybody to understand it.”

Life After Divorce

They both pursued different paths, each creating their own mark in the history books. Bono moved on and married his fourth wife, Mary Whitaker. Cher’s phenomenal success as a solo artist and actress established her as an icon in her own right. However, fate had another surprise in store for the intriguing story of Cher and Bono.

Sonny Bono on June 12, 1977 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono on June 12, 1977 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

In a tragic turn of events, the life of Bono, the charismatic half of the Sonny and Cher singing duo, ended abruptly in 1998. Bono, a keen and experienced skier, hit a tree while skiing alone at the Heavenly Ski Resort in California.

The impact was fatal, and the coroner’s report stated that Bono died instantly from severe blunt trauma. His sudden death stunned the music world and beyond. Two years earlier, there had been a skiing mishap in which Bono had collided with another skier. Brushing it off with humor, he quipped:

“I hit somebody, or they hit me, so it was their fault.”

Sonny Bono & Cher on August 6, 1965 in London, England | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono & Cher on August 6, 1965 in London, England | Source: Getty Images

Bono left behind a legacy of hit songs and memorable performances, but his passing also exposed a complicated web of legal and financial issues. He had never made a will. Despite having four children and four ex-wives, his estate was in chaos, creating a complex situation where many people could make a claim to his assets.

Five years later, the stage was ready for a fierce showdown.

With no clear instructions on how his wealth should be divided, negotiations began to settle the ownership of Bono’s estate. Eventually, an agreement was reached, and his estate was split among his two eldest children and his wife at the time of his death, Mary, who was also the mother of their two younger children.

Sonny Bono and his 4th wife Mary Whitaker on January 1, 1991 in California | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono and his 4th wife Mary Whitaker on January 1, 1991 in California | Source: Getty Images

Legal Battles and Legacy: Cher vs. Bono’s Widow

But the agreement did not end the conflicts over Bono’s legacy. Cher, his second ex-wife, came forward with a legal claim shortly after his death. According to her lawsuit, Bono had been ordered to pay Cher alimony after their divorce in 1974, a debt that was allegedly never paid.

Cher’s lawsuit sought to confirm the validity of the divorce agreement, arguing that she was entitled to her 50% share of the royalties regardless of the copyright ownership.

Amidst these legal disputes, another development emerged. In 2016, Mary exercised the termination right under the federal Copyright Act, allowing her to reclaim control of the copyrights of Bono’s music. This move gave her full control of the royalties related to the duo’s legendary songs.

Sonny Bono and Cher in Hollywood, California, December 4, 1975 | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono and Cher in Hollywood, California, December 4, 1975 | Source: Getty Images

Five years later, the stage was ready for a fierce showdown. Cher filed a lawsuit seeking confirmation that the original divorce agreement was still valid and she was entitled to her 50% share of the royalties, regardless of the copyright ownership.

Mary, on the other hand, argued that termination rights should override any previous agreements, including the divorce settlement. The battle for Bono’s fortune escalated as Cher and Mary stood firmly on opposite sides.

Sonny Bono and Mary Whitaker, their daughter, Chianna Marie Bono and son Chesare Elan Bono on January 1, 1991 in Palm Springs, California | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono and Mary Whitaker, their daughter, Chianna Marie Bono and son Chesare Elan Bono on January 1, 1991 in Palm Springs, California | Source: Getty Images

Cher’s legal team fought to maintain the divorce agreement’s validity, asserting that the termination rights should not affect her rightful share of the royalties. Conversely, Mary’s attorneys claimed that Congress had intended the termination rights to benefit the authors and their heirs, not their former spouses.

Cher’s determination to claim what she believed was rightfully hers clashed with Mary’s strong resolve to protect the copyrights she had regained after her husband’s death.

In the wake of these developments, Cher, despite her immense wealth and achievements, was involved in a lawsuit against Mary. Cher’s lawsuit sought to confirm the validity of the divorce agreement, arguing that she was entitled to her 50% share of the royalties regardless of the copyright ownership.

Sonny Bono and Cher in London on August 26, 1966 | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono and Cher in London on August 26, 1966 | Source: Getty Images

Part of her case was dismissed, dealing a major blow to her pursuit of $1 million from Bono’s widow. As the legal battles went on, the media and the public watched with curiosity as Cher’s relentless pursuit of justice collided with the complex details of copyright law and estate division.

The courtroom drama saw both sides passionately defending their positions, leaving the fate of millions hanging in the balance. The journey of Cher and Bono’s widow into the legal abyss showed the high stakes and challenges that come with fame and fortune.

 

 

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Cher’s determination to claim what she believed was rightfully hers clashed with Mary’s strong resolve to protect the copyrights she had regained after her husband’s death. As of now, the outcome of the ongoing legal battle remains unclear.

Cher’s hope for millions from Bono’s estate seems remote, and the likelihood of her ever obtaining a significant portion of the fortune appears slim.

Sonny Bono and Cher performing on "The Sonny Comedy Revue" | Source: Getty Images

Sonny Bono and Cher performing on “The Sonny Comedy Revue” | Source: Getty Images

The saga between Cher and Bono’s widow stands as a stark reminder that even immense wealth and fame cannot always guarantee a smooth and conflict-free path through the complexities of life, legacy, and the pursuit of what one believes is rightfully theirs.

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