I got You, Babe. That was a great song. Sonny Bono and Cher were making music and making love. Out of their marriage – and before Grandma Cher (the original Lady Gaga to you) was rocking spandex and see-through one-piece outfits on stage – came their beautiful daughter, Chastity. But that girl is long gone. Chastity is now Chaz, a slightly overweight man in his forties. I know you’re dying to know: how’d that happen? Top TV’s TLC is going to show you.
Becoming Chaz (which will air this week), is a groundbreaking documentary chronicling the change that Chastity underwent to become Chaz. Sonny and Cher’s only child together first came out as a lesbian to her mom at just 17. But Chastity wasn’t just satisfied with openly loving other women. She wanted to change the way she looked completely. So she began the journey from Chastity to Chaz and six months into the transition, a film crew started documenting it all.
You see everything from the removal of her breasts, about which, before he has them surgically removed, Chaz says, “I’ll be really happy to get rid of these”, to the changing of his voice and body thanks to the testosterone shots. But there isn’t, sadly, a happy family bonding session between Chaz and his mother, Cher. Admittedly, the singer finds it hard to adjust to her little girl becoming a man about whom she says, “If I don’t recognise her, what will happen?”
Even ABC News noted that while plenty of people, including Chaz’s stepmother, Mary Bono Mack, came to support Chaz’s film at the Sundance Film Festival, Cher did not show up. But perhaps that isn’t Chaz’s biggest problem. Chaz, who is a former musician, a writer and transgender advocate, has other issues that don’t only have to do with his physical appearance. His long-term partner, Jennifer Elia, is a recovering alcoholic and as expected, a sex change adds on more drama than the relationship may be able to handle.
As far as celebrity spawn goes, Chaz’s story is one of the most interesting. Sure Bobbi Kristina (Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston’s only child) went through a weird alleged drug and dranky-dranks obsession – hey, blame TMZ and the like for the footage – but she’s just a kid. Everyone goes through a dodgy phase when growing up. Besides, her parents weren’t exactly the best role models. Aside from who she’s dating, Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet’s baby Zoe Kravitz is just a cool model/muso – no drama. Just like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s kids, Jaden and Willow. Oh, but there’s still time for camera-worthy antics. And when they come, the reality TV fiends will be ready and waiting.
l Becoming Chaz premieres on TLC (Top TV Channel 453) on October 16 at 9pm.