Cher on her romance with Val Kilmer: ‘I loved him – and I love him’

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As I mentioned yesterday, I have yet to see Val Kilmer’s documentary Val. (I’m only waiting because my husband wants to watch it together.) The current issue of People covers the actor’s life and his decision to do the doc as well as the people and events that shaped him. One of those people is Cher. Val and Cher dated for two years in the early 80s. Val was 22 and Cher was 36. What I didn’t know is they’ve remained friends ever since. Many of those who love and/or admire Val contributed to the People story, including Cher, who wrote about her relationship with Val in her own words.

We called ourselves Sid and Ethel. Val didn’t want to yell “Cher” and I didn’t want to yell “Val.” 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.

I met him at a birthday party my friend was having for me. She said, “I invited this guy and I think either you or my friend who’s an editor will like him.” We became friends because we laughed at the same things constantly. He would sleep over and it was just a friendship [at first.] That took a long time. Well, I guess not really a long time.

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.

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. 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.

I told him I saw the documentary (Val). I said, “Sid, it’s you.” 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.

I loved him—and I love him. I [just wrote to him], I 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.”

[From People]

Cher goes into some specifics in her essay, about how Val was so good with her kids and how they spent one New Year’s Eve painting instead of going out. She also talked about how they supported each other’s acting careers, preparing for screen tests together. Cher admits that they split up because they “were both Alpha males.” She said they were individuals and unwilling to give that up. I was going to say that some of my best relationship were with fellow individuals and we just did our own thing. But Cher talked about Val wandering off without notice or explanation and yeah, I think I’d probably get fed up with that too. But they obviously recognized it before it led to animosity because they’ve maintained their friendship. So much so that Val spent time with Cher at his sickest, that’s particularly intimate.

I love the honesty of Cher’s essay. I really felt I understood their dynamic. And I don’t know why, but I’m pleased to know they’ve stayed in each other’s lives. I’m slightly saddened that Val has decided he wants to tell us about his life and has no voice to do it. But I’m happy that so many others like Cher are stepping up to tell it for him.

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Photo credit Avalon Red, People and Getty Images

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18 Responses to “Cher on her romance with Val Kilmer: ‘I loved him – and I love him’”

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  1. Sandra says:

    I had totally forgotten that they had ever been an item…He was sexy back then….😍
    So sad about what he’s going through now. Glad he has friends like Cher..

  2. Persephone says:

    They made a beautiful couple.

  3. lemonylips says:

    I loved the Val documentary so much I watched it twice. Warmly recommend it.

  4. Pocket Litter says:

    I’m so glad that you covered this. I wanted to ask about Cher yesterday but forgot. Thank you.

  5. LeonsMomma says:

    Loved “Val.”
    One of my closest friendships is w/ one of my ex-s (we dated a long time and went through a lot.) My boyfriend gets it, but my ex’s wife does not and while we have spoken in the past year, we havent been able to see each other — pandemic and she would have a fit.
    That said, i would do anything for him—he is the best and if he was ill, I would def. help him.
    All this to say—even if a relationship doesn’t work out, with a few there remains a connection (once the dust settles after the break up, lol). Val and Cher sound like kindred spirits.

    • Chaine says:

      It can work sometimes. I am still friends with an ex from thirty years ago. I think the key for me is looking back on it, the original relationship was primarily sexual attraction rather than emotional and so it wasn’t an emotionally wrenching breakup.

  6. Moxylady says:

    What was Val sick with????

  7. Lisa says:

    I am also on good terms with most of my exes and remained the best of friends with one until he married my other best friend and they moved away – no ill will; they’re just in TX and I’m in FL (I’m one of the good Floridians who is constantly embarrassed by the actions of our idiotic governor and most residents of my native state; I’m also an attorney who knows from personal experience that almost all attorneys are just the absolute worst, so, yeah, I’ve got issues).

    Point being – I’m the type of person that has always valued character and sense of humor above all else so most of my partners are pretty damn cool and I would hate to lose being friends with these cool people just because we decided we appreciate each other more with our clothes on.

    Edited to add: I am not nearly as cool as I made myself out to be in that post and wanted to admit I fully recognize sounded very “above it all”. I am not.

    • Jules says:

      Lol no you don’t sound above it all, I get it! I’m on good and friendly terms with my exes as well. I have a lot of good men in my life and for those only surrounded by toxic men, well that needs to be looked at.

      • Tiffany says:

        Yikes. I, too, have a lot of good men in my life. But I also recognize that that luck doesn’t make observations about toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and misogyny the delusions of bitter, damaged women who chose poorly. Or mean that they somehow caused men throughout their lives to be toxic in some way. A man can be a good person at a core level but also have attitudes on certain subjects that need work or require more empathy.

    • MissMarirose says:

      It seems like Cher is the same way. I saw a Netflix documentary about David Geffen last month and she spoke warmly about him too.

      • Chrissy says:

        I wonder how she feels about Richie Sambora. I thought they were hot together way back when. Also, it’s so cool that she found common ground with a lot of younger men.

  8. Wiglet Watcher says:

    The only ex I was able to stay friends with was the bf that was coming to terms with accepting he’s gay while we were dating. The rest I can respect from a distance, but there’s no point in being friends.

  9. Lizziebuck says:

    Cher is absolutely the best. She cared for Gregg Allman throughout their post-marriage, even paying for some of his health care in the final years. She’s an Alpha Male I’d love to have in my life.

  10. isabella says:

    Love Cher, but she is an alpha FEMALE, not male. You don’t need testosterone to be “individuals and unwilling to give that up.” Plenty of women are like that.

  11. iconoclast59 says:

    I love the nicknames they gave each other. Sid and Ethel. Valus Maximus and Cherus Reprimandus. Very sweet.