Cher shares intimate details about falling ‘madly in love’ with Val Kilmer and their proceeding four-decade friendship: ‘He’s like nobody I’ve ever known’
They were first friends, then lovers, and even after their romance ended, remained friends without making a conscious effort.
Cher is opening up about her decades long relationship with Top Gun actor Val Kilmer, following the release of the new Amazon documentary, Val, which chronicles his personal and professional life, including his cancer diagnosis and recovery.
In a new interview with People, the Moonstruck star gushed over Kilmer’s artistry, unique personality, and beauty, admitting he’s both ‘exasperating and hysterical’ but still ‘like nobody I’ve ever known.’
Friends to the end: Cher opened up about falling in love with Val Kilmer, and their four-decade friendship during an interview with People
The two stars met at a birthday party a friend threw for Cher back in 1981, and became fast friends. That friendship would transform into a romance the following year, with Cher being more than 13 years older than Kilmer.
‘We called ourselves Sid and Ethel. Val didn’t want to yell “Cher”and I didn’t want to yell “Val,”‘ the singer and actress, 75, recalled.
‘We also called ourselves Valus Maximus and Cherus Reprimandus. It was just kind of who I was in the household. Of course he was Maximus, come on.’
They would go on to date from 1982 to 1984, the year Kilmer made his film debut in the action comedy, Top Secret! alongside Lucy Gutteridge, Omar Omar Sharif and Peter Cushing, and two years before his breakout role as Lieutenant Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in Top Gun.
High praise: Cher gushed over Kilmer’s artistry, unique personality, and beauty, admitting he’s both ‘exasperating and hysterical’ but still ‘like nobody I’ve ever known.’
‘He was so young. Was he 22? What was I? I don’t know. Thirty something. It was a bigger deal back then,’ Cher confessed before adding, ‘The truth was, if I hadn’t gone out with younger men, I would have never had a date. Younger men weren’t intimidated by older women. But older men in my age category, they weren’t having it.’
Upon reflecting, Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian) revealed she was initially attracted to how they ‘laughed at the same things constantly’ and his striking good looks.
‘Our sense of humor, and what we would put up with from one another, was more than I think I’ve ever had with any other guy. He would just go off and do his own thing and you just had to be prepared. And he was so beautiful. It went from madly in love and laughing hysterically to respecting each other’s ability.’
Despite having far more experience in the entertainment business, Cher credits Kilmer with helping build her confidence with her work, including getting the courage to do the screen test for what would turned out to be her breakout role in Mask (1985).
Unique: Cher marveled in Kilmer’s talent, calling him a ‘true artist and Renaissance man’, and that after four-decades they somehow managed to stay friends: ‘We didn’t try. We just were’
The relationship evolved over time, and even after they split as a couple, they would somehow remain friends and appreciate each other’s talent.
Kilmer would go on to marry actress Joanne Whalley in March 1988, and have two children together: daughter Mercedes, and son Jack. They would split up and divorce in 1996.
Through the years, Cher would be romantically linked to a number of stars like Tom Cruise, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, Kiss co-frontman Gene Simmons, and famed New York bagel maker Rob Camilletti, who was 18-years her junior.
The Sonny And Cher legend also recalled being there for Kilmer when he was stricken with throat cancer in 2015.
‘He was at my house a lot of the time he was sick. He was brave the whole time. I saw how sick he was,’ she said. Once when the paramedics showed up after he was so sick and coughing up blood, he looked at me and I looked at him and we both knew what we were thinking. Because those guys are so handsome. When one of those paramedics comes to your house, you just know you’re going to see somebody who’s really cute.’
In his words: Kilmer also shared his journey as an A-list actor and throat cancer survivor in ha new interview with People
Cher has seen the documentary Val and confessed to have loved it.
‘He is so creative like nobody I’ve ever known and how brave he was to do it in the way that he did it. He’s an artist. He can be a brat too but you forgive him. You forgive him everything. Even when I was angry, it was still a joy. If he called, it wouldn’t matter where I was, I would go.’
And after watching the documentary, she wrote to him and said, ‘Valus Maximus, I’m sorry if I did anything to piss you off or hurt your feelings. I love you and your documentary was all things… I love the things that pissed me off, the things that made me hysterical, amazed, hurt, astonished, etc. You are brave and beyond brilliant. Ethel’
By the end of the interview, Cher marveled in Kilmer’s talent, calling him a ‘true artist and Renaissance man’, and that after four-decades they somehow managed to stay friends: ‘We didn’t try. We just were.’
The Val documentary is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Available now: The documentary Val is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video
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