How Sonny and Cher went from TV power couple to bitter exes

August 3, 1965: The successful American duo Sonny and Cher, in London promoting their records at the Hilton Hotel.

Photo: Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images

With a string of pop hits in the mid-1960s beginning with the career-defining “I Got You Babe” (1965), Sonny Y Cher Bonus they established themselves as the most prominent and attractive married couple in the world of popular music.

More modern than Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, and much funnier than John and Yoko, Sonny and Cher projected an image of marital harmony that many people could relate to: an image not so much of perfect happiness, but of a distinctly imperfect marriage, but still happy mismatch.

Mr. and Mrs. Bono traded that image professionally for a solid decade, even several years after the point where it was true.

After 13 years together as a couple and six years of marriage, the last three for the cameras, Sonny and Cher were legally divorced on June 26, 1975.

When they divorced, Sonny and Cher were primarily known as television stars thanks to their hit NBC variety show, but their romantic and professional relationships began in the Southern California music industry in the early 1960s.

In 1962, Salvatore “Sonny” Bono He was working as a producer, errand boy, and sometimes percussionist for legendary producer Phil Spector when he met Cherilyn Sarkasian in a Los Angeles coffee shop.

Just 16 years old and a recent high school dropout from Fresno, California, cherilyn he was soon singing backup on such legendary Spector-produced hits as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (Righteous Brothers, 1964), “Da Doo Ron Ron” (The Crystals, 1963), and “Be My Baby” (Ronettes , 1963).

As a last resort, Sonny and Cher had only a few memorable hits after their first, the biggest of them being 1967’s “The Beat Goes On.”

In 1971, they starred in a top 10 TV show until 1977.

Two years later, they were living in separate houses and with new romantic partners, but it was not until two years later that their separation was made public and their divorce final on June 26, 1975.

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