Looking at the loves of Cher: some past, someone present

CELEBRITY NEWS

July 23, 2008|By LIZ SMITH | LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services

I WAS madly in love with Robert. I would have married him. I wanted to."

"Really?!"

"Yes. If it hadn't been for the press, we'd be married."

That was part of a conversation I had with Cher years ago. I was interviewing her, and she was speaking of loneliness and the difficulties of being the kind of star she is - how stressful relationships can be, undone by the imbalance. After all, how many iconic figures marry other iconic figures? I mentioned the wonderful Robert Camilletti, whom Cher had dated for a number of years. He was a terrific man and crazy about Cher. But the media had been hateful and mocking, referring to him as "the bagel boy" because of his brief tenure in a bakery and making much of the difference in their age. The pair was hounded, and eventually both agreed the relationship was untenable. "He seemed so right for you," I said. That's when the star rather sadly made the above remark.

I was stunned by Cher's confession. She'd never admitted how much in love with him she'd been, or how much their parting had hurt. Also, Cher rarely lets you in that much.

She is candid, earthy, funny, honest. One always feels she is speaking off the top of her head with complete veracity. But Cher keeps her sentimental/romantic/intimate emotions close. The one heartbreaking exception was her eulogy for Sonny Bono, which had she known was being filmed, never would have happened.

Cher is probably my favorite diva. She has a straightforward, no-nonsense quality that stands alone. Her vulnerability is combined with an almost Zen-like quietude, an outward passivity that masks her drive and ambition. She has her own internal push-pull about fame, which is why she often retreats for long periods of time, restoring herself. She is a truly lovely person.

And because she is all those things, I am thrilled to know that Cher seems to have found some love and comfort in the person of Tim Medvetz. He is variously described as a "daredevil/biker/mountain climber." He is 38 to her 62. She looks 40-ish and is in vibrant health; the disparity isn't obvious, except on paper.

The tabs say Cher is planning to marry Tim. This is what I know - it's serious. She's mad for him. She is extremely happy. This does not translate inevitably to marriage. I'd be surprised if she made such a commitment at this point.

Personally and professionally, she has come back again and again, always stronger - at least on the outside. (She returns to Caesars Palace on Aug. 6, continuing her long engagement there.) But she has been a bird with a wing down for a long while. I hope Cher flies high from now on.

An almost-diva

Lesley Gore! She doesn't quite qualify as a diva, but she was certainly one of the great pop stars of the '60s. Best known for "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)" Lesley had a string of hits, including the feminist anthem "You Don't Own Me." (I don't know if the song was considered such in 1963 - but listen to it now, ladies!)

Lesley is still working, her voice as good as ever. She often performs at Joe's Pub in downtown Manhattan. And you now have a chance to see her in New York City doing something a bit different. She is participating in the Pillowfight Theatre Festival at the Bleeker Street Theater. This features works by female playwrights. Lesley is work-shopping a solo piece titled "It's My Party, Yeah Right!" Catch her Friday and Saturday.

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