Cher, who’s known for her colorful dating history, is opening up about her relationship with Val Kilmer.
The stars were a couple in the 1980s, raising eyebrows due to their age difference, 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,’” she told People. “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.”
The “Moonstruck” star, 75, said she was introduced to the “Batman Forever” star, 61, at a birthday party a friend threw for her.
“We became friends because we laughed at the same things constantly,” she told People. “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.”
Cher was not blind to the fact they were not close in age, but she didn’t care.
“He was so young. Was he 22? What was I? I don’t know. Thirty something. It was a bigger deal back then,” she said. “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.”
The Oscar winner, who said Kilmer “was so good with my kids” and helped her prepare for her role in “Mask,” also said they had strong personalities, which could cause conflict.
“We had unbelievable times and then put up with some times when they weren’t (that way) because we were both Alpha males,” she said. “We were both individuals and neither of us was going to give up on that.”
The relationship evolved over time, with each of them learning to appreciate the other’s talent.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Kilmer would go on to marry Joanne Whalley, with whom he'd have two kids. They married in 1988 before splitting up in 1996, while Cher continued to be romantically linked to a wide range of stars, including Tom Cruise and Richie Sambora.
Kilmer would see his star rise in movies like "Top Gun," "The Doors" and "Heat," but his voice was permanently damaged after he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015. He has won raves for his documentary, “Val,” which chronicles his career and his health struggles.
“He was at my house a lot of the time he was sick,” Cher said. “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.”
Cher has seen “Val” and loved it. Even as the years have gone by, she maintains a deep admiration for Kilmer, both as a person and a performer.
“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,” she said. “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.’”