Ever since the early days of her career, pop icon Cher has become an unequivocal gay icon. Whether it’s her constant support of her transgender son Chaz Bono, her flamboyant and fabulous costumery, or even her Oscar-nominated starring role as a lesbian in the film Silkwood (which also starred her fellow Mamma Mia co-star Meryl Streep), the “Turn Back Time” singer has cemented her place in gay history.
But Cher wasn’t always as involved in the LGBTQ community as she is now. In a recent interview with GLAAD ahead of the release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cher revealed that she met gay people for the first time when she was 12 years old and living with her mother, Georgia Holt. “I came home from school and there were these two guys in our living room,” Cher recalled. “They were talking to my mom and her best friend, and they were so happy and excited about everything they were talking about, so animated.”
The icon elaborated, saying that their energy and general enthusiasm was so infectious that she began emulating them from that early age. “I thought, ‘These guys are much more fun than the regular men that come over to visit,’” she said. “And I didn’t know that they were gay, but I just thought ‘These guys are great,’ and it all started from then.”
Sitting with actor Andy Garcia, who she duets with on the iconic ABBA song “Fernando” in the film, Cher also commented on the fact that she genuinely loves Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which even she claims is high praise. “When I’m watching a movie, I want it to be great,” she said. “But if it’s not, I start picking it apart, I can’t help myself, and then it gets ruined. But with this, I think you’re swept away in their excitement, and I think that it’s just pure joy and fabulous.”
Watch the full interview with Cher and Garcia below. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again hits theaters this Friday, July 20.