The obvious question first: Why has it taken you 12 long years to follow up on the last album?
This is a silly answer, but it's the truth: I just forgot. If you knew me, it would make perfect sense, too. I was signed to Warner UK and Rob Dickens was the president. He and I were very close. When my contract ran out there, I just didn't think about Warner America. You know, it didn't occur to me that they would want to make a record. If it hadn't been for my own manager, I don't think I would have done it. I thought it was maybe too late and the farewell album was it.
You mean they had to remind you to do another album?
Yeah, he didn't just remind me. He said, "Get in the studio, this is insane"
The album seems to be about empowerment, at least to a degree. But at the same time it's about having fun, about enjoying yourself. Is that where you are these days - giving guidance in a sort of lighthearted way?
I never go out to make an album that says any one thing. I didn't do this album to empower women. But I choose songs from my own from my own experience. I choose songs from what appeals to me. 'Dressed To Kill' is just fun. 'Lovers Forever' is just fun. 'Take It Like A Man' is just fun. The more serious songs start in the middle and go to the end. So all the fun stuff is at the front, and all the kind of tear-jerky stuff and serious stuff is at the end.
Whatever happened to 'The Greatest Thing', the song you recorded with Lady Gaga?
Someone just leaked it, and they didn't even leak the right version, which is really a pisser. But we did it and then she said, "I don't really like it". And I went: "Okay".
Is this an album for women, drag queens and club-goers?
Yeah, I think it's for club-goers. There are tracks on this album that women will really love, there are tracks that gay guys will love and there are those that drag queens will love - 'Dressed To Kill' is a drag queen dream come true.
Will you tour this album then? Like a farewell from 'Farewell'?
Yeah, I think I will. I didn't think I would come back from 'Farewell', because it was three and a half years and it was just enough. It was so hard. Even though at the end, the last gig, I didn't want to stop. But I was tired and needed a break. But after this one, I won't ever tour again. Because there's no way that I'm going to go out older than I am. It's too hard. Touring is too hard. Shows are not hard, but touring is terribly hard. Also, I don't really like the tour part. I like the show part, I like the performance part.
You love the extravaganza, don't you?
If I didn't have that, I would be bored to tears.
Any regrets in that area? Like: "How could I have possibly done that?" Any fashion crimes you regret?
No! Well, just one thing. And it was terrible. I had worn this outfit for my TV show, and it looked totally fine. It was with some guy who came up beside me and they took my picture/ When the flash went off, it went right through my outfit. That was the only clothing disaster I think I've ever experienced.
Honestly: Is it easy being Cher, the Goddess of Pop, 24/7?
I have never been anything else. So I wouldn't know.
Any regrets when it comes to men? Like not having dated Elvis and Marlon Brando when the opportunity popped up?
Maybe Marlon Brando. I liked him a lot.
Is Cher still searching for the love of her life?
Nah, I've had many loves in my life. I've had one love in my life that was fabulous. I've had a couple of loves in my life actually. I've had three.
Why is age - yours and your lovers' - not an issue?
Because it just doesn't come up. But I think it's an issue now. I don't date much younger men now, because I think when I was 40 I looked like I was 20. Back then, there were lots of younger men, but also, older men just didn't like me. They never asked me out. I'm not kidding you. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. I would have been alone for years had it not been for young men. I just somehow didn't appeal to those men. Or they were too nervous or I seemed like I didn't need them or whatever. But the men that liked me were being brought up up by women like me, so they din't really have any kind of fear.
Welcome to Hollywood.
No, welcome to the world.
Also, you've had some of your tattoos removed - an indication that you are in fact older and wiser?
Not really. I had them removed because they lost their significance, their meaning. Back in the days I got my first tattoo in 1972, only bad girls got ink; girls that didn't care and that you wouldn't want to deal with. That was the message: look at me - I am strong, independent, and rebellious, you can't f**k with me. So, Janis Joplin, biker chicks and me were basically the only women who had them. And I got more over the years, six of them in total. Like one of them I had the day after I left Sonny. I wanted to celebrate that. But now it doesn't mean anything, because everybody and their dog has one. No one's surprised anymore. So off they go.
I guess it's easy to say that you should embrace our age, when we're all afraid of getting older, aren't we?
It sucks. I'm not embracing it. There's no reason. It is what it is, because the alternative is bleak. There's nothing about it that I enjoy. I was this smart at 40.
But you are thinking about death obviously as you got yourself a grave-site at famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris...
I know. But I don't think they're going to let me. You have to die there or be a French citizen. So if I get sick, I'm running there to die".
I thought you've already bought the site?
Moving on with Chaz: I read some interviews where you still mix up the pronouns when talking about Chaz. Does that still happen?
[chuckles] Absolutely. But I'm better at it now, I'm much better. I never mix him up when we're together. But also, if you talk about things that happened in the past, when Chaz was little or before, that's a hard one. I have to be able to jump back and forth. Chaz is not going to kill me, because I mix up a pronoun.
Is he actually happier now?
He's unbelievably happy. He's really happy. And we have a great time together. I really enjoy being with him. He's fabulous. Chaz was always a great person. But now he's really happy. He's lost 75 pounds and he's got an amazing amount of energy. He is with hios theatre group and he's really good at what he does. This is the best time for him.
What about his mom? I guess it wasn't easy for you either?
Yeah, but for Chaz it was scary. When Chaz first told me, I though "OK, I get his", because we'd talk about it off and on. But then when the process started, that was hard for me.
You have been a gay and lesbian con ever since the 70's, since Studio 54. How come? What made you stand up and use your status in pop culture to challenge people's minds, especially in America?
I adore gay people [laughs]. I adore gay me. I was about 9 or 10 years old when I met my first two gay men. I remember they just walked through the front door and everything changed. Everybody in the house was happy.
You mean, it's got nothing to do with being rebellious? It's just enjoying their company?
My mother introduced mt to gay men when I was young. So i wasn't rebelling against anything. My mother had gay friends, she was not in any way prejudiced. There were always different kind of people in our house. My first best friend was Jewish. It was not a big thing. Any my mom didn't make a big thing of people being gay either. She didn't make a big thing of anything really.
What goals do you have in 2013? What's left to achieve?
I just finished writing a pilot with my friend, for logo. And I really hope that that's going to be made into a series, because I think it's quite good.
I read that you don't get as many phone calls as you used to when it comes to movies.
Has it to do with being Cher?
No, it has to do with being Cher and old. Because it's like I'm not old enough to play older parts. I mean, this guy wrote an article about it and he was saying, "You know, what do you do with Cher? Because she's not young and she's no old and where does she fit?" So, someone's got to be brave and do something different. Put me in a place, not be afraid and just go, "I think Cher would be the right person for this role."
There's also talk about a Broadway musical?
Yep, the new script just came in. I haven't read it, but it's an interesting concept, because there'e three Chers in three different time periods and they interact with one another. There's the 16 year old me, the 40 year old me and the current Cher, 67 years old.
At 67, have you arrived at where you always wanted to be or are you still on the journey?
No, I'm still on the journey. I'll be dead by the time I arrive at some place that I wanted to be.