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Cher Said No to Performing at Olympics in Russia Due to Anti-Gay Law

Cher Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Count Cher among the entertainers not planning a trip to Russia anytime soon.

"I can't name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I'd like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. I immediately said no," the pop icon revealed in an interview with Canadian magazine Maclean's.

"I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there," she added. "He said the Russian people don't feel the way the government does."

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And that's the perspective that many of the athletes, politicians and celebrities who will be attached to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will probably be taking—but Cher wasn't appeased.

Asked if she related to people "on the fringes" because of personal experience, she said, "Absolutely."

"People hated [Sonny Bono] and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different," the now 67-year-old singer recalled. "Sonny was always getting into fights—people would called him 'f-g' and he'd get his nose broken—only because we were dressing different. And these were our street clothes! You can't forget that."

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Cher appreciates how times have changed, especially with regard to son Chaz.

"When Chaz first told me she was going to do it—pronoun problem, when he first told me—and the process started, I was so frightened," Cher said. "One time I called Chaz and he had forgot to change his voicemail and it was his old voice. It shook me a bit. These are small changes that as a mother you never forget. It is the last taboo. It used to be against the law. Thank God we've come so far."

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