Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kevin Sessums Will Only Cher So Much

On what is Mrs. Bono's 68th birthday, I share with you this great Facebook post by my noted celebrity journalist (and my pal) Kevin Sessums. He maxed out on friends (you just have to meet him to understand why), but you can still follow him -- and get juicy stories like this one -- HERE.

Happy birthday today to Cher.

Twenty-four years ago I did a cover story on her for Vanity Fair and Herb Ritts shot the photos. She hated it all. First off, she didn't want any of her then six tattoos displayed on the cover and Tina Brown ran one of them on the cover as well as putting the fact she had the six in the cover's title. Cher despised the story and went on television to bad mouth it and me every chance she got. I certainly didn't fawn over her and now that I've re-read some of it, it does have a bit of a hard edge. But I think it was a fair assessment of who she was at that moment in time. And I adored her back then even if not fawningly so. I still do, bless her heart.

I think her manager back then - whom I like and still know - got the brunt of her ire. And mutual friends who vouched for me received the rest of it.

She didn't like all the facts and figures that Tina Brown always liked having in a story. Tina called it putting in "process." She also didn't like that I brought up her then daughter being a lesbian and how poetic that was sense Cher herself is such a gay diva.

But most of all she hated that I spoke to her mother. She told me not to speak to her since she wasn't speaking to her herself back then. Well, that's a red flag to a writer or journalist. She couldn't tell me what to do or how I was supposed to write the story - telling me not to speak to her mother because she was not speaking to her at the time seemed the very key to the story I was writing - so I set up a tea with her mother Georgia at what was then The St. James's Club - now the Sunset Tower Hotel. That made Cher crazy. But I don't regret a moment of that tea. It was the key to the story. And softened any hard edges that the story - and even Cher herself - had.

Years later after I had moved back to New York City from Paris I got a call one night out-of-the-blue from Chaz, who was then still Chastity. "Is this Kevin Sessums, the writer?" asked the unfamiliar voice.

"Yes," I said.

"This is Chastity Bono. I'm sitting her with my grandmother. Do you have the time to talk to us?"

"Yes," I said, a bit shocked.

"We were talking about the book my grandmother wants to write about her life and we decided that you are the only person who should do it with her."

"Wait. Me?" I asked. "Have you talked to your mother about this?"

"No. But that story you did on my mother captured her more than story anybody's ever done on her."

"It sure did," said Georgia, who had by then gotten on the other line. "Hey, baby," she said. "How are you? You think you'd like to do this book with me?"

"But wait. Now wait. I'm confused. Cher HATED that story," I told them.

"That's why she hated it," said Chastity. "You really captured her. You could do the same with my grandmother."

I flew out to Palm Springs to hang out with Georgia for a week but decided not to do the book with her for a variety of reasons. If you want to hear them, you'll have to have dinner with me. Hell, you might even have to buy me dinner to get some of that out of me. I don't know if Cher ever knew Georgia was talking to me about writing that book. But Cher should not only thank me for not writing it but also thank me for not putting that week with her mother and all we talked about in my own next book. I decided not to share Cher's family secrets. I still haven't.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I just read that before going to bed. Now I won't sleep a wink.