Cher talks tour, Miley and her leather jacket
Cher sits in a director's chair in one of the many rooms of her "Architectural Digest"-worthy home, perched high above a prime stretch of Malibu beach. She's talking about her infamous "Farewell Tour," an extended global trek that ran from 2002 to 2005, and was supposed to be her swan song as a touring artist.
"I never should have called it that, but it seemed like it at the time," she tells CNN. "It was like the tour that would not quit. I won't do that again."
A few feet away, members of her entourage burst into laughter.
Exactly one week later, the 67-year-old entertainer announced her "Dressed to Kill" tour which kicks off in Phoenix next March. According to Monday's press release, Cher is scheduled to headline arenas in 49 North American cities -- but who knows? The lure of her adoring fans may be too hard to resist once she's packed her G-strings.
In the meantime, she is out promoting her first album in 12 years, "Closer to the Truth." CNN's Denise Quan sat down with the outspoken Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner about her own truth, and as usual, the star didn't disappoint with her candor.
CNN: You seem to always speak the truth. Is that accurate?
Cher: I'm not so sure that's the truth. Sometimes I don't tell the truth, which is telling the truth about not telling the truth. I think people don't tell the truth when they're afraid that something bad's going to happen if they tell the truth. But I got to be this age, and I'm doing this, and what's somebody going to do to me, really? I say things all the time that I could really get into trouble for, but they kind of blow over.
CNN: You have to admire women who have the courage to put it out there.
Cher: When I grew up, it was a time when women were just supposed to be cute and not have many opinions. My mother and her friends were quite different. They were all the most beautiful women you've ever seen ... and they were very strong women.
When I was with Sonny -- when I met him, I was 16, so it didn't bother me until I was 20-something -- it started to chafe at me. I really wanted to do what I wanted to do, say what I wanted to say. I didn't want to be shackled to somebody else's opinion, and Sonny was very much, "My opinion is your opinion." So when I decided to leave him, I just thought, "I have to get back to myself. I have to decide who I am, and just be who I am."
I have to tell you something. It doesn't always turn out. It's not always a happy ending when sometimes you say things that you think, and it goes against the grain of the larger group.
CNN: You recently turned down a chance to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in protest of the Russian government's stance on gay rights.
Cher: Well, first of all, it was back channels. But it was to be an American ambassador, to sing or to do something in the opening. I have a lot of great friends in Russia -- wonderful people, people I really love -- and I have great fans there, too.
The Olympics are the Olympics, so it wasn't something that I'd think, "Ah, that's sad." But you can't. You just can't. If I were an athlete, I'd think long and hard, because you spend your whole life preparing for the whole moment, and then your life is nothing. Your dream is nothing. So I couldn't fault an athlete. But mine was just, "It would have been fun." You just can't do it. It's not possible.
CNN: Do you think gay rights have taken a backwards turn in some parts of the world?
Cher: I think maybe gay marriage has scared some part of the world. I've seen many countries where it's punishable by death. How can people be so afraid of something that's really not going to involve them? I just don't get it.
My mother had gay friends. It's something I was around my whole life. Also, my best fan base is gay guys that have never gone (away). They've always been there. All I can hope is that the people that I know in Russia, that there are more people like that.
I never felt that when I was there. We had gay guys with us in my show, and it was like, no problem. So I hope this is just a bad period in their history, and it'll blow over. Look, when I was young, it was against the law. It's amazing how far we've come in that amount of time.
CNN: You really pushed boundaries in 1989 with your music video, "If I Could Turn Back Time."
Cher: It seems like nothing now, but the first one to push is the first one to push. So yeah, I got a lot of flack for that. It doesn't make any difference. It's a great video, and it kind of stands the test of time. But when you're pushing against the people, they either have more judgment, or they don't see the humor in it. Some people got really unhappy, and that's why they pulled the video after it had already been on for weeks and weeks. Then they started playing it late at night.
I think there are probably some things that kids shouldn't see. I don't think that was one of them. If you look at it in comparison to what's happening today, it's nothing.
CNN: What did you think of Miley Cyrus' performance on the VMAs?
Cher: You have to give her credit for trying something, for trying to stretch the boundaries. I didn't like it because I didn't think it was very good. If she had come out naked, and done that and pulled it off, I would have said, "You stretched it. You pulled it off. It was great." But I didn't love it as an art form. I thought it was sloppy. I didn't think it was professional enough for her. I think she's got to go back to the drawing board. And yet everybody's talking about it.
I certainly don't think she deserved all the flak that she got for it. It was just one performance at the VMAs. Who cares?
CNN: It's hard to believe you're 67.
Cher: I know! It's terrible. I hate that number. I don't like any of them. I thought I was 10 years younger, and I was upset. But you know, my mom has this saying -- and I'm not sure I agree with her -- but she said, "If you don't pay attention to age, then it won't pay attention to you." And she says it, and it sounds nice, but I don't buy it.
CNN: Are skimpy costumes still part of your stage show?
Cher: Well, not always, but will be as long as I can do it. My friends and I were talking the other day, and we were looking at what we were wearing and it's the same things that we've been wearing since we were in our 20s. And I remember thinking, "When will I have to stop wearing jeans, or when will I have to cut my hair?" All those things, but it doesn't seem like it.
I'm going to die wearing the same things that I love wearing. I'm going to wear my jeans. I'm going to wear wifebeaters. I'm going to wear my leather jacket. I don't care. As long as I can look good in it, and feel comfortable in it, then I'm going to do it.
CNN: Are we going to see a "Farewell Tour 2?"
Cher: Yes, absolutely! I shouldn't have called it that, but it seemed like it was at the time. It was like the tour that would not quit. It was crazy long. I won't do that again. The reason I'm doing this is mainly because I know I really will never do it again because I don't have the energy. It takes so much energy to be on the road
I know I have finite energy, and I can probably squeak by this time, but I did the longest tour ever by a woman, and I don't think there were 20-year-olds who could handle that. Three-and-a-half years is a really long time. So we'll see. But if I don't do it now, I won't do it.
I'm not like when Tina (Turner) came back and did a tour at 70. That's not going to be me. She's got a great life force.
At some point, you have to give up your career -- unless you're Tony Bennett or Betty White. I still can do it now, so I should.
CNN: I think you'll still be out there at 90, rocking a G-string.
Cher: You think so?
Cher: I don't.
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