Once a nice girl, now a married man. Meet Chaz Bono – Cher’s only daughter, who radically changed her life.

Most people know Cher, and when I think of her career, it’s impossible not to recall her tumultuous relationship with Sonny Bono.

The couple had one child together: Chaz Bono, who was originally born Chastity Bono on March 4, 1969. As the child of celebrities, Chaz quickly became famous, and it wasn’t long before TV audiences got to see him.

Bono was named after the movie “Chastity,” produced by Sonny, in which Cher played the lead role of a young, bisexual hippie runaway.

Chastity Bono was conceived during the making of the film…

Sonny & Cher

As a child, Chaz frequently appeared on “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” typically joining Sonny and Cher at the end of each episode when they sang “I Got You Babe.”

This made Chaz a familiar face to the American audience.

Came out as a lesbian

But few knew what Chaz was experiencing at home and at school. Early on, he struggled to relate to other girls and their interests.

“I’d look at other girls my age and feel perplexed by their interest in fashion or which boy was the cutest,” Chaz told the Daily Mail in 2011.

At 18, he came out as a lesbian to both parents.

“…as a child, I always felt there was something different about me. I’d look at other girls my age and feel perplexed by their obvious interest in the latest fashion, which boy in class was the cutest, and who looked the most like cover girl Christie Brinkley. When I was 13, I finally found a name for exactly how I was different. I realized I was gay,” Chaz wrote in his book “Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families.”

Cher was shocked

For Cher, who later became an icon among the LGBTQ community, it wasn’t “easy” to cope with her daughter coming out as a lesbian.

“When I found out Chaz was gay, I didn’t go through it that easily,” Cher said in an interview with PrideSource.

However, Chaz recalls that his mom actually “went ballistic” when he first came out to her.

At the age of 39, Chaz began his transition to male. Once again, his mother was shocked.

“When I found out Chaz was [transitioning]… we talked about it a lot, actually. But then Chaz didn’t mention it anymore, so I kind of forgot. And what I think is, there’s such a fear of losing the child you love, and what will replace that child.”

Cher added: “I think it’s about the fear, mostly. I felt, who will this new person be? Because I know who the person is now, but who will the new person be and how will it work and will I have lost somebody?”

Jennifer Aniston and a young Chaz (then Chastity) Bono in High School, 1987

Transition into a man

It wasn’t until 2010 that Chaz officially became a man, after a California court granted his request for a gender and name change.

In the documentary Becoming Chaz, shown at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, viewers had the chance to follow Chaz’s transition into a man.

“My mother went through a kind of mourning period. It was difficult for her, and we didn’t see each other for about the first year of my transition,” Chaz told SBS Australia.

The documentary contains many emotional scenes, including an interview with Cher after she heard her child’s new voice, changed by hormone therapy.

“I was hysterical when I heard her voice on her answerphone. It was her old voice,” says Cher. “I remember saying: ‘Is there any way I can save it?’ But it was gone. I’ll never hear it again.”

Since the documentary, Chaz has appeared several times in Hollywood. In 2011, he made history as the first transgender man to participate in Dancing with the Stars. According to Advocate.com, this was also the first time a transgender man starred on a major network television show for something unrelated to being transgender.

Five years later, he starred in five episodes of American Horror Story: Roanoke and played Reverend Rydale on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Chaz Bono 85lbs weight loss

For many years, Chaz Bono struggled with obesity and did not feel comfortable in his body. The turning point towards a healthier lifestyle came with his gender transition.

“I would have never been able to do it before,” he told Oprah Winfrey. “I was too disconnected from my body, and the dysphoria I had with my body was too much to be able to care enough to do anything like that.”

When Chaz entered Dancing With The Stars, he weighed 250 pounds, but the competition and rigorous practice helped him lose weight rapidly. This isn’t surprising, considering the intense training and movement required for the show.

Chaz continued his healthy lifestyle even after the TV show, and he has steadily lost weight since then. Recent pictures show he is far from the unhealthy weight he had 10 years ago.

With life partner

However, the weight loss journey has not been entirely painless. Chaz has dealt with sagging excess skin. “It’s not fun, but it was worth it because I look better now. I’ve cut out 99 percent of grains from my diet. I pretty much eat vegetables, meat, fruit, nuts… My birthday is the one day of the year I’ll do cake,” Chaz told Extra TV.

Cher has repeatedly praised her son’s courage and dedication to a healthier lifestyle. “He did it all by himself. He made up his own mind and he did it. And it was like, what, 85, 90 pounds. Wow!… I don’t know if I’d have that courage,” Cher said in 2013.

It’s wonderful to see Chaz today. He has endured a lot but seems to have a positive attitude and feels much better now that he has found himself.

I hope his journey can inspire others. Feel free to share this article if you agree!

HAPPY DAYS
Once a nice girl, now a married man. Meet Chaz Bono – Cher’s only daughter, who radically changed her life.
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