PEOPLE Celebrates Cher in New Special Edition

·3 min read

"I just have one question: What's your granny doing tonight?"

During her most recent concert tour, Cher would ask that question from the stage, just after she revealed her age and smiled as her audience applauded. "Sometimes I wonder if people clap because I'm still alive," she said. "Or because I can still get into my costumes."

As unlikely as it may seem, Cher is turning 75 this month. In honor of that milestone, PEOPLE is publishing a special issue devoted entirely to the ageless diva, who has been on our cover 11 times. The new issue tells her story from her childhood as the daughter of a struggling single mother, through her early success with Sonny Bono, to her evolution into an Oscar-winning actress and pop icon with hit songs in every decade since the 1960s.

The issue also offers glimpses into her family life (she is a mom to two adult sons, Chaz Bono and Elijah Blue Allman), inside the extravagant homes that reflect her singular style, and at her fearless fashion. Longtime costume designer Bob Mackie gives a candid interview about creating her looks. "She's not intimidated," Mackie tells PEOPLE. "I'd say, 'Oh, you don't want to wear that, you're going to be so uncomfortable all night.' 'No, I'm fine. I'll wear it.'"

As a performer since the age of 18 who continues to win new fans today, Cher shows no indication she's planning to take things easy. In 2020 she was still touring with her latest album, Dancing Queen. Then the pandemic struck, side-lining live performances. And yet, even as she was sheltering at home, Cher remained a comfort to those feeling isolated in lockdown. Her 1987 film Moonstruck unexpectedly began trending on Twitter as fans streaming the movie were buoyed by Cher's deeply reassuring portrayal of Loretta ("Snap out of it!") Castorini. Just when they needed her, it was Cher to the rescue, again. She also lifted spirits with the heart-warming story (now a documentary on Paramount+) of how she helped to find a new home and friends for Kaavan, the "world's loneliest elephant," who had been living alone in a Pakistani zoo for years.

RELATED: Cher Mourns the Death of 'Amazing' Moonstruck Costar Olympia Dukakis: 'I Talked to Her 3 Weeks Ago'

Courtesy The Smithsonian Channel Cher and Kaavan

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Always a consummate entertainer, Cher has found a new medium for her talents: Twitter. In recent years she's used the site to interact with nearly 4 million followers and talk about whatever is on her mind, from politics to the environment to her obsession with cake. Using a mix of non-sequiturs and emojis she has very nearly concocted a whole new language that is singularly Cher. ("God I love ART in Any FORM! GOTTA GO TAKE BATH! Later Lovelies!") More recently she took to Twitter to share that she had received her second COVID-19 vaccine.

"I don't want anyone to be in danger, including myself," she recently said of performing post-pandemic. "They will find a way for us to do concerts and movies, and then I will be back."

James Peyton/imageSPACE/MediaPunch Cher

After all, in a musical career that has already seen her become a bell-bottomed hippie pop singer, a Las Vegas torch singer, a 1970s disco lady, a power balladeer in the 1980s and an electronic music pioneer and dancing queen for the postmillennial generations, why would she stop now? "It can get exhausting being Cher, especially when you're older and you're still doing the same things," she told PEOPLE. "But I still have a great time. To have the stamina, and also to have the audience ... You forget that people just do regular jobs that they don't get applause for."

PEOPLE's new special edition Cher at 75! is available now wherever magazines are sold.

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