Cher Called Madonna a "Spoiled Brat" After Hosting Her at Her House
The "Believe" singer has never been a fan of the Material Girl.
Few performers in modern pop history have careers as long and varied as Cher or Madonna. Cher has had at least one Top 10 hit every decade from the 1960s to the 2010s and will probably score another soon. Likewise, Madonna has also released one or more Top 10 smashes every decade since her 1982 debut. Both artists have stayed relevant by constantly embracing reinvention. However, despite having so much in common—from movie roles to hit albums to mononyms—Cher and Madonna are not friends. In fact, Cher called Madonna a "spoiled brat" after hosting her at a dinner party back when they first became acquainted. Read on to find out why Her Madgesty rubbed the Goddess of Pop the wrong way and what she's said about her over the years.
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Cher was already well-established when Madonna broke big.
Cherilyn Sarkisian first began her career as a backup singer, with her voice appearing on such classics as The Ronettes' "Be My Baby." Her personal and professional relationship with producer Sonny Bono brought them both success—first as Sonny & Cher, the pop hitmaker duo, then as Sonny & Cher, the TV stars.
By the time Madonna became a household name in 1984 after rolling around in a wedding dress on stage at the first-ever MTV Video Music Awards, Cher had already been through two marriages (the second, to Gregg Allman, ended in 1979), multiple TV series, and two musical comebacks after being written off by the press.
Cher acknowledged Madonna's star power.
Cher was on a hiatus from music in 1984 and deep into a film career that had already garnered her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1983's Silkwood and would eventually lead to her winning Best Actress in 1988 for Moonstruck. However, she explained later that she immediately saw the superstar in newcomer Madonna. In a 2013 interview with USA Today ahead of her farewell tour, when asked about Lady Gaga, Cher said the pop star's arrival on the scene reminded of when the Material Girl first hit the charts. "Gaga's got 'it,' the way Madonna had 'it,'" she explained, "something that made you stop and go, 'What's that?'"
Cher also praised Madonna for recognizing not just what the public wanted but what it was going to want. "It's not just crazy clothes," she told the outlet. "Madonna had her ear to the ground and knew what was coming before anybody else."
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They met through Sean Penn.
However, just because Cher recognized Madonna's ability didn't mean they hit it off when they met. By that point, Cher had befriended (and dated) quite a few big names in Hollywood, including Sean Penn, who was moving from comedies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High to more serious dramas like Bad Boys. Penn and Madonna married in 1985, and Cher was in attendance. (That was where she met future secret boyfriend Tom Cruise, in fact.)
However, when she invited them to be guests at her place, Madonna's behavior did not impress the more established star. In a 1991 interview with CBS, Cher claimed that the "Like a Virgin" singer was mean. "I don't like that," she explained. "I remember having her over a couple of times because Sean and I were friends, and she just was so rude to everybody. It seems to me that she's got so much … she acts like a spoiled brat all the time."
She's given her backhanded compliments over the years.
Cher may dislike Madonna personally, but professionally, she still acknowledges her impact. Not that she's always nice about it—in the same 1991 interview, the "Believe" singer had a backhanded compliment for her. "She's unbelievably creative because she's not unbelievably talented, she's not beautiful," Cher said, "but she's kind of, she's rude."
More recently, Cher offered another double-edged comment about Madonna that was, to be fair, mostly positive. Asked if she "still hate[d]" the other pop star in a 2013 Reddit AMA, she answered, "Madge, no. Actually I don't. I never hated her, I just thought she was a [expletive]. Actually I quite respect her."
She continued, "Actually I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I've known. I don't like everything she does, for sure, but she is always riding the crest of the wave. She always saw trends WAY before anyone else, and had great videos."
Don't expect them to ever collaborate, however.
Notably, Madonna doesn't seem to have ever hit back at Cher publicly. And the two have put aside their differences at times, like during the 2017's Women's March in Washington, D.C. ("[Donald] Trump brought Madonna and Cher together, so there is that!," Bravo's Andy Cohen captioned his Instagram photo of the two of them.) Though fans have created some incredible mashups of their work, don't expect them to officially collaborate anytime soon. Asked on The Ellen Show in 2018 who she would like to work with in the future, Cher responded, "Oh, Adele, Pink, and, uh, um, not Madonna." Welp.
Neither Cher nor Madonna has released an album of new music yet in the 2020s. Cher's last studio album was 2018's Dancing Queen (all ABBA covers), and Madonna's was Madame X in 2019. But both artists have future live shows planned. Cher is reportedly heading to Vegas for a new residency later in 2023, with plans to release an album as well. Madonna's "The Celebration Tour" will debut in July 2023 and run until the end of the year.