It’s almost a competition in this day and age to see which pop star is the shadiest diva. Mariah Carey and Madonna have both made names for themselves as outspoken women in music who are not afraid to say how they feel about others. But no one is as direct or as brutal with her insults as pop legend Cher.
The Goddess of Pop made headlines Monday when she seemingly reignited her longstanding feud with Madonna during an appearance on Ellen. When asked what three singers she would want to duet with, the star answered, “Adele, P!nk and … not Madonna.”
But Cher’s history of pitch-perfect shade goes back for decades, making “observations” about her colleagues since the start of her career. So here are just a few of our favorite moments when Cher threw some very real shade.
1. Her shady history with Madonna
Before appearing on Ellen, Cher had a history with the “Ray of Light” singer dating back to the ’90s. The feud seemingly started when Cher made an appearance on Wogan in 1991 to promote her then-new film Mermaids. Terry Wogan, the show’s host, asked Cher about Madonna, and she certainly didn’t mince her words. “She’s unbelievably creative because she’s not unbelievably talented,” she said on the show. “She’s not beautiful, but she’s kind of … she’s creative, but she’s rude. And then I used another word, but they bleeped me.” From there, it’s easy to understand why the two pop divas always seemed to be at odds with one another, with Cher iconically tweeting in 2012 that she “got a colonic” to celebrate Madge’s birthday.
2. That time she insulted David Letterman on his own show
Cher’s relationship with the legendary late-night host is complicated — she has absolutely no problems with the veteran star now, but during her first appearance on his show back in 1986, she clearly had some thoughts. Letterman welcomed her and wondered aloud why she hadn’t come on his show before. “I don’t know, I thought that I would never want to do this show with you,” she responded. When Dave asked why that was, she famously called him “an asshole,” breaking Letterman and the audience up into laughter.
3. Literally everything she’s ever said about Donald Trump
If President Donald Trump can use his Twitter account to make fun of his opponents, then it’s only fair that one of his staunchest opponents get to use Twitter to dish it right back. There are hundreds of tweets in which the “Turn Back Time” singer has overtly made fun of the president online, but one of her shadiest moments came during a segment on The Late Late Show With James Corden. When asked during a game of “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts,” where guests either answer difficult questions or eat disgusting food, to say one nice thing about Trump, Cher paused and said, “There’s nothing nice about him,” and bit off a piece of cow’s tongue.
4. That time she openly challenged Britney Spears and J.Lo?
When Cher embarked on her three-year farewell tour back in 2002, she was leaving everything that she had on the stage each night, knowing that she may not get to perform for each city again. That certainly also applied to the way she approached a few of her fellow stars during the tour. At a number of stops, Cher paused during the show to comment on how this was her last show and that other stars, like Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears, would be coming in to take her place as the reigning pop queens. “Well, they’re not gonna take my place, but they’re gonna take somebody’s place.” But, Cher added, in one of her best moments of shade, that her farewell tour was the new standard for the girls to meet. “If you want to know the truth, why I made it so fabulous,” she said during her Miami concert in 2002, “I have a motive. And that is … that I’m gonna make this show fabulous and say: ‘Follow this, you bitches.’”
5. She joined in on critiquing Miley’s 2013 VMA performance
After Miley Cyrus gave a shocking performance at the 2013 MTV VMAs, it seemed as though everyone in the world had their own take on it. Cher was one of those people. But the pop legend didn’t have some of the same criticisms as others — the singer said that she had no problem with the “We Can’t Stop” singer’s twerking or provocative imagery. “If the chick had come out naked and done a great performance, doing the same things, I don’t care. I would’ve said, ‘Great, I’m behind you 100 percent.’” Her criticism, instead, was with the quality of the performance. “I don’t like the fact that it wasn’t good.”
6. That time she dissed Michael Jackson’s parenting style
Even the King of Pop was not safe from the wrath of the goddess herself. In an interview with TV Guide in 2003, Cher said that she didn’t see Michael Jackson as a great artist because of the way he treated his children. Talking about an appearance the two did together at the American Bandstand 50th anniversary, she said, “He had this child rolled up in a blanket, and I was thinking, ‘What kind of life is this?’ I cannot imagine putting my children through what he put his children through.” She also added that a documentary from the time about his life solidified her opinion of him. “I thought, ‘This guy is nuts. He shouldn’t have these children.’”
— Cher (@cher) June 12, 2013
7. Her iconic response to an Amanda Bynes Twitter rant
Former child star Amanda Bynes was going through a particularly rough patch in her life back in 2013 when she decided to take on Cher on Twitter, calling her “ugly” and “fat.” But the Nickelodeon star learned the hard way that sometimes the best insult is also the most subtle. When a fan asked Cher what she thought about Amanda Bynes’ comment, she pulled a full Mariah Carey and simply asked “Who’s that?” While she later said that she never intended for it to be mean-spirited, it’s still clear that Cher knows how to handle her haters.