Photo Credit: Michael Lavine[Cher’s Mom, Georgia] Holt, born in rural Arkansas to a 13-year-old mother, first sang in Oklahoma saloons for change (“My pockets were so full of money, they almost pulled my pants off,” she says in the special).
Strikingly beautiful, Holt sought fame in Hollywood as a singer and actress and barreled through six marriages. After wedding truck driver John Sarkisian, she seriously considered abortion. They divorced soon after Cher’s birth. Struggling financially, Holt briefly placed Cher in a Catholic orphanage, where nuns urged her to give up the baby for adoption.
“I heard the abortion story when I was a teenager,” Cher says. “The orphanage story has been a touchy one for my mom her whole life, and she didn’t want to talk about it. I said, ‘Mom, why didn’t you just march in and take me?’ She said, ‘I didn’t have the power. I didn’t have any money or a job, and the church was so strong. I’d go see you every day and you’d be crying. You don’t know what it was like.’ It was harder for women then.”
Cher initially flinched at the rattle of family skeletons in Dear Mom.
“I thought, this could be tricky,” she says. “But what’s anyone going to do to me now? So I come from a poor white trash background. It doesn’t make any difference.”
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