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Cher opens up about son Chaz Bono's transition: 'It wasn't easy'

The legendary singer spoke about her initial struggles when her transgender son, Chaz, began his transition in the late 2000s.
/ Source: TODAY

Cher has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community, but she said her transgender son's transition more than 10 years ago was difficult for her at first.

The legendary singer, 74, spoke with Christiane Amanpour on CNN about the transition period in the late 2000s for her son, Chaz Bono, 51, which included legally changing his name and gender. Amanpour indicated that Cher didn't struggle at all with her son's transition, which she corrected.

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Cher and Chaz Bono attend the rally at the Women's March on Washington in 2017. Kevin Mazur / WireImage

"No, that's not exactly true," she said. "I did. It was very unlike me to — in the beginning — have a problem with Chaz being gay, and it disappeared like that. And then we talked about transgender for many years, and she would say, 'No I don't want to do it,' and then he went and said, 'OK I want to do this.'

"It wasn't easy. Like I remember calling, and the old message — the old Chaz message was on the phone — and that was very difficult. But then you have one child, but you don't really lose them — they just are in a different shape."

Chaz is Cher's only child with her late husband and former singing partner, Sonny Bono, who died in 1998. Chaz made a documentary about the transition process, "Becoming Chaz," that was released in 2011. He also became the first transgender person to compete on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2011.

"Chaz is so happy, so unbelievably happy, and I don't know what the people's problems are. They're fearful, and they just don't understand how to react to it," Cher said. "Some of it's religious, I'm just not sure why it's such a big thing.

"I talk to people on Twitter, or people come up to me, and I just say, 'You know, just relax, and you guys will get through it, you'll get through it together.'"

While transgender issues have received more attention in recent years than when Chaz transitioned, Cher believes there is still plenty more work to be done.

"No, I don't think it's open at all," she said. "It's really open with some people, a few people, and just closed to the rest of the majority," she said. "They don't want to do it."