Do you believe in life after love? Cher certainly does, as she still loves her ex from the ’80s, Val Kilmer, and has nothing but happy memories from their time together.
Despite a 14 year age gap — Cher being his senior, the pair fell “madly in love,” as Cher told People magazine in a recent interview. Despite having “unbelievable times” together they parted ways romantically, but their friendship has endured, especially during his throat cancer battle when he moved in with her.
Cher shared their couple names for each other, calling themselves Sid and Ethel. “Val didn’t want to yell ‘Cher’ and I didn’t want to yell ‘Val,'” Cher said. “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 pair met at a birthday party Cher’s friend was having for her and told her at the time, “I invited this guy and I think either you or my friend who’s an editor will like him.” They became friends because they shared the same humor, but Kilmer would sleep over for “a long time,” Cher recalled. “Well, I guess not really a long time.”
Cher thought Val was nuts, that they weren’t going to get along at all, especially noting their age difference. “He was so young. Was he 22? What was I? I don’t know. Thirty-something. It was a bigger deal back then. 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.”
When it came to their shared sense of humor, Cher believed it was more than she’s 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,” she said. “It went from madly in love and laughing hysterically to respecting each other’s ability.”
“We had unbelievable times and then put up with some times when they weren’t [that way] because we were both Alpha males,” Cher recalled. “We were both individuals and neither of us was going to give up on that.”
The love Cher had, and still has, for Val transcends time. Over four decades later, she still writes to him, “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.”