After Ellen Said She Was Best Friends With Cher, The Singer Brutally Shut Her Down

It turns out that talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and the singer Cher go way back. You’d think, like most people who’ve known each other for over two decades, they’d probably count themselves as more than mere acquaintances by now. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, given how incredibly awkward their interviews are to watch, it would seem they’re not particularly close at all. This was all but confirmed when, in 2018, Ellen tried to insinuate that she was “best friends” with Cher, and the latter clapped back in the most savage way.

Anyone who’s watched an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be familiar with the host’s interviewing style. She seems to lure guests in with her friendly demeanor and gentle teasing before asking the most intimate of questions. Sometimes, though, she appears to get under the skin of certain celebrities. And Cher was one of them.

In fact, when Cher appeared on a special edition of the comedian’s show back in September 2018, fans felt the singer was less than impressed by Ellen’s kill-them-with-kindness style. Certainly, when the episode aired, there were a few oddly tense moments for all to see. Not only did Cher refute Ellen’s claim that they were best friends, but the singer even used a pretty rude word to address the comedian on more than one occasion. So what exactly did the host do to provoke such a strong response?

The pair have, unsurprisingly, had various encounters over the years. After all, Cher is one of the biggest singing stars in the world and Ellen, until recently at least, was the reigning chat show queen. Although most of their exchanges have been friendly, there have also been some pretty frosty moments between the two.

And this is in spite of the fact that, throughout her career, Ellen has cultivated an image for herself as the so-called “Queen of Kindness.” She’s earned millions of fans thanks to her seemingly constantly sunny disposition and her commitment to “be nice.” In fact, she’s probably known as much for her likability as for her efforts as a comic and talk show host.

ADVERTISEMENT

For a while, Ellen’s notoriety for being nice appeared to be entirely deserved. In an apparent testament to her likable demeanor, she counted a number of celebrities among her friends. And it’s not like these were people with bad reputations themselves: Friends star Jennifer Aniston, fellow talk show host Oprah Winfrey and the singer Pink have all had apparently sociable relationships with the comedian.

But in recent years, Ellen’s reputation for being eternally likable has started to wane. In her 2018 Netflix special Relatable she even hinted that perhaps she isn’t always the pleasant personality her fans imagine her to be. In a sketch from the stand-up show, she jokes, “A few years ago I started ending my show by saying, ‘Be kind to one another.’ But here’s the downside: I can never do anything unkind.” Tell that to Cher.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it wasn’t just the self-deprecating jokes that hinted that there was much more to Ellen’s personality than simply being nice. You see, comedian Kathy Griffin intimated in her 2016 Celebrity Run-Ins memoir that the talk show host possesses “a mean streak.” And Griffin is just one of a number of celebrities who’ve been rumored to have less than warm relations with Ellen.

Aside from the supposed feuds, Ellen has also experienced some awkward moments on her chat show in recent years. In 2012, for instance, the host repeatedly pried into Taylor Swift’s love life. Swift, clearly frustrated by this point, eventually said, “This makes me feel so bad about myself! Every time I come up here you put, like, a different dude up there on the screen.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And there was another toe-curling show in 2019, when Ellen took her guest Dakota Johnson to task for not inviting her to a recent birthday celebration. But according to the actress, that wasn’t the whole story. She retorted, “Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen. You were invited.” Johnson later reiterated, “I did invite you, and you didn’t come.” So, Cher isn’t the only one to have fought back.

Then, in 2019, Ellen’s choice of associates gave people pause for thought. In January of that year, the LGBT advocate invited Kevin Hart onto her show and pleaded for him to be rehired as the Oscars host. He’d stepped down from the post weeks earlier after homophobic statements he’d previously made came under scrutiny. Then, in October, she was also seen socializing with George W. Bush – who had an adversarial attitude to the LGBTQ community during his time as president – at a football game.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, potentially the most damaging controversy that Ellen has faced up until now surfaced in the summer of 2020. Despite what had come before, many fans were stunned when they heard what ex-staff members from the Ellen show had to say in an article by BuzzFeed News. Referencing Ellen’s mantra, one of them said, “That ‘be kind’ [stuff] only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show.”

Later that summer, Ellen apologized in response to the allegations made against her show. But a number of the comedian’s famous friends also spoke out in her defense. Among the celebrities to offer support to Ellen amid the controversy were singer Katy Perry, actor Ashton Kutcher and comedian Jay Leno, all of whom had appeared on her show. So, you know, maybe Ellen’s not all bad. She certainly rubbed Cher up the wrong way, though…

ADVERTISEMENT

In fact, Cher was one former chat show guest who didn’t publicly rush to Ellen’s defense. Although, to be fair, despite the fact that the pop superstar has appeared on the show on a number of occasions in the past, the comedian probably wasn’t expecting Cher’s support.

After all, in one exchange when the host went so far as to call the singer her “best friend,” it was abundantly clear that the sentiment was not reciprocated. So, when did all this drama unfold? In a 2018 episode of Ellen. At the time, Cher had recently starred in the Abba-themed musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. But she was also promoting her album Dancing Queen, which featured tracks first made famous by the legendary Swedish pop group.

ADVERTISEMENT

Presumably as part of the promotional efforts for the new album, which was due for release, Cher appeared on a 60-minute episode of the Ellen show in the fall of 2018. And for a pre-recorded segment, the pair took part in a skit that saw them surprise unwitting customers at a hair salon.

The sketch begins with two women sitting in said salon having their hair done by stylists. But the seemingly normal scene is soon interrupted as Cher and Ellen walk through the door. Understandably, the women in the beauty parlor shriek as they realize they’ve been joined by two megastars. And things are about to become much crazier.

ADVERTISEMENT

After acquainting themselves with the customers and their stylists, Ellen announces that she and Cher are going to take over doing the women’s hair. But it won’t just be any old hairstyle; no, no, no. It’s going to be one of Cher’s hairstyles. In fact, Ellen shows one customer a book with some of the singer’s most outrageous looks from over the years, before both celebrities are let loose on the ladies’ locks.

Given that this is the Ellen show, some amusing antics soon ensue. First off, Ellen squirts a stylist’s spray into her own mouth to determine that it’s water before proceeding to spritz it all over both clients. At first Cher protests, but in the end she lets the comedian have her way. That being said, the singer does complain that “this is a nightmare.”

ADVERTISEMENT

As the sketch continues, Cher starts drying her client’s hair and tries to ignore Ellen’s attempt to mess with her efforts. In the end, the singer resorts to blasting the host with a blow-dryer, which causes Ellen to return to her own station. The comedian then remembers that salons are known for “girl talk” and so she attempts to get some gossip on the go.

And this is where things get a little personal. Because Ellen decides it’s somehow appropriate to ask Cher and the customers if they’ve “slept with a girl.” All of them respond in the negative, leading the comedian to say, “It’s just me?” To that, Cher replies, “I’ve flirted, does that count?” But her question goes unanswered…

ADVERTISEMENT

Later on in the skit, the two stars discuss their own relationship. Cher asks, “Do you know how long I’ve known you?” After Ellen responds with, “How long?” the singer tells her, “Since the first, your first thing, your first show,” referring to the comedian’s sitcom Ellen, which ran from 1994 until 1998.

But instead of taking a sweet trip down memory lane, Ellen seemingly rebuffs Cher by telling her, “See, it’s amazing you remember that.” And things definitely become tense when the host tries to make the singer comb her client’s hair using a fork. Cher refuses, telling Ellen, “You’re an idiot and I’m not doing it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

As Cher asks the on-looking stylists where they keep a comb, Ellen once again picks up the water spray and spritzes her co-star’s client’s hair. But this time the pop diva isn’t taking it lying down. Instead, she chooses to retaliate, picking up the bottle herself and spraying Ellen with it. A short duel then ensues when the host responds by directing the blow-dryer towards her adversary. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

After their scuffle, both women return to the clients to finish off their hair. Rather than supporting her supposed friend, though, Ellen takes the opportunity to tear down Cher’s efforts. She tells her, “Seriously, that is the worst… you really went into the right business.” At first the singer looks bemused, but she soon draws her spray bottle and starts dousing Ellen, who again takes aim with her blow-dryer.

ADVERTISEMENT

The battling women then drop their “weapons” and return to their clients. This time, though, they play around with some wigs, with Ellen trying one on. Cher uses the opportunity to throw some shade the chat show host’s way. When Ellen reveals that she has a “little, tiny head,” the singer wonders out loud, “And what goes inside that tiny head?”

But Ellen isn’t going to let Cher have the last laugh. Wearing a mullet wig, the comedian starts to impersonate the singer, belting out her 1989 hit “If I Could Turn Back Time.” And while some believe that imitation is the best form of flattery, Cher clearly isn’t thrilled. She tells Ellen, “Of all the bad [impressions] I’ve heard of me, this is probably the worst.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet despite of – or perhaps, because of – Cher’s apparent discomfort, Ellen continues with her impression before querying the lyric, “If I could reach the stars, I’d give ’em all to you.” She informs the pop legend, “If you could reach a star, you can’t really give them to someone. They would be hot. You know what I mean? That doesn’t really make sense.”

Following this remark, Ellen looks around the room for validation. Her client agrees with her, eventually. But Cher is not impressed. She exclaims to the woman in the chair, “What do you mean, ‘Yes?’ You don’t know her.” The lady points out that she’s familiar with Ellen from TV, much to the host’s delight, who adds, “They know me better than they know you.”

ADVERTISEMENT

By now, though, Cher is tiring of Ellen’s jibes. She tells the comedian, “You’re such a b****.” But Ellen either doesn’t sense her guest’s annoyance, or she simply doesn’t care. And as they turn to leave the salon together, the host remarks, “I think we got closer… I feel like we’re best friends now.” Cher’s response? “No, we’re not.”

And that wasn’t the only time that Ellen seemed to get on the wrong side of Cher. In another clip, also from September 2018, the pair are seen playing “5 Second Rule.” The rules of the game are simple: both women had to give three answers to a certain question in an allotted time frame. It’s safe to say, it made for enthralling viewing.

ADVERTISEMENT

In one round of the game, Cher is asked to “name three celebrities [she’d] want to do a duet with.” After a slight pause, the singer names two potential collaborators: “Adele, Pink.” But she stumbles for a third name and eventually says “and… not Madonna.” Ouch.

The Ellen audience appear to enjoy Cher’s candid answer, though, as they erupt into laughter. But the host berates her guest, telling her, “Okay, Miss Negative.” And she also takes the opportunity to remind Cher of the rules of the game. She tells her, “He said who you’d want to. It’s not who you wouldn’t want to.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Later, Ellen is asked to name “three things that turn [her] on.” With some deliberation in between, the host eventually answers, “Music, sweetness and chocolate.” And while her responses seem reasonable enough, she later admits that not all of them were entirely truthful.

It turns out that apparently “chocolate doesn’t” turn her on, Ellen explains before adding, “I just made that up so I’d win.” She then asks, “Does chocolate turn anybody on?” Responding to the host’s question, Cher raised her hand while saying of the supposed aphrodisiac, “I love it. I don’t get it much but I love chocolate and cake.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clearly intrigued by Cher’s admission, Ellen decides to press the point further with her guest. She asks, “You eat chocolate and, you’re like, you’re in the mood?” Only now does the singer understand what the comedian is getting at, and so she tries to backtrack.

First exclaiming “No. No,” Cher then continues, “I don’t get to have chocolate… I mean, look, I’m working on my body and I just…” However, before she finishes that thought, the singer admits she does still eat the sweet treat. She tells Ellen, “I have chocolate, I’m lying.” But the host won’t drop her line of questioning, asking, “And then it turns you on?”

ADVERTISEMENT

In response, Cher cries, “No, it doesn’t turn me on” but Ellen interrupts, telling the star, “You just said it did.” The singer then clarifies, “I didn’t mean it in that way.” Finally, perhaps in hope of putting an end to the matter, she proceeds to once again call Ellen a “b****,” which the audience – and seemingly the host, too – find hilarious.

The apparent frostiness between Ellen and Cher didn’t go unnoticed by viewers, either. Commenting on a clip of the game that was posted on the TheEllenShow YouTube channel in 2018, a user wrote, “I can’t tell if Cher and Ellen actually like each other.” Another added, “That was the weirdest, most passive-aggressive, uncomfortable to watch segment that I have ever seen on Ellen.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Although Ellen seemed to rub Cher up the wrong way a few times on her show, it’s still unclear if there is any genuine animosity between the pair. Part of Ellen’s act, after all, is to gently tease her guests to provoke a reaction. But at least Cher gave as good as she got. In fact, the talk show host has, believe it or not, been known to provoke even stronger reactions from some of her guests.

As we saw earlier, several celebrities have pushed back against Ellen’s antics. But there are those who get emotional for a whole different reason. For instance, when Gwen Stefani appeared on the talk show in 2018, she probably expected plenty of laughs. Instead, by the end of her interview, Stefani found herself in tears thanks to Ellen’s words.

ADVERTISEMENT

Music has practically always been a part of Stefani’s life. As the future star grew up in Anaheim, California, her parents introduced her to the works of folk hero Bob Dylan and country legend Emmylou Harris. Then later, her older brother Eric played her British 2 Tone tunes that blended ska music with punk.

And it was Eric who would give Stefani her chance to become a musical superstar. In 1986 he started putting together his own ska group called No Doubt, and he invited his little sister to be a backing singer in the band. Stefani therefore began her career as a performer somewhat out of the spotlight.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tragedy befell No Doubt in 1987, however, when the band’s co-founder and lead singer, John Spence, killed himself shortly before they were due to perform a gig for music executives. Then, when trumpeter and replacement lead singer Alan Meade later left the band, Stefani subsequently stepped into the role of vocalist.

By the early ’90s, No Doubt had a deal with Interscope Records as well as an energetic following across Southern California. But their eponymous debut sold poorly, and their first tour didn’t attract a big audience, either. At the time, grunge was the dominant style, in sharp contrast to No Doubt’s ska-inspired sound.

ADVERTISEMENT

And while No Doubt’s second album, The Beacon Street Collection, sold three times as many copies as their debut, it still didn’t give them their breakthrough. When the band’s third record, Tragic Kingdom, was released in 1995, however, it proved to be a turning point in their trajectory.

Some of the songs most commonly associated with Gwen Stefani come from Tragic Kingdom, including “Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak.” Much of the music was inspired by Stefani’s relationship and subsequent break-up with Tony Kanal, a British-American guitar player who just so happened to be No Doubt’s bassist.

ADVERTISEMENT

And Tragic Kingdom brought No Doubt huge commercial success as well as a handful of industry accolades. In 1997 they were nominated for two Grammys: Best Rock Album and Best New Artist. The following year, moreover, “Don’t Speak” won two nominations of its own in the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group and Song of the Year categories.

Along with her rise to fame, Stefani had also found love again. She first met Gavin Rossdale, frontman for the band Bush, when No Doubt performed on the same bill in 1995. And just as she had in the past, Stefani let her relationship’s trials and tribulations inspire her songwriting – this time on No Doubt’s fourth album, Return of Saturn, which came out in 2000.

ADVERTISEMENT

No Doubt’s greatest success was yet to come, though. In 2001 they released Rock Steady, an album infused with reggae and dancehall sounds, thus veering from their signature style. And the album contained the band’s most successful singles ever in the U.S. – including “Underneath It All,” which made it into the Billboard Hot 100’s top three.

Once again, No Doubt received Grammy nods for Rock Steady’s hit singles. “Hey Baby” won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 2003, and “Underneath It All” was given the same award a year later. In addition, Stefani shared a 2002 Grammy with rapper Eve for their collaboration “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And following the release of Rock Steady, Stefani experienced some landmark events in her personal life, too. Seven years after she met Rossdale, the pair said “I do” at St. Paul’s, a church in London, in September 2002. A couple of weeks later, they had a second wedding in LA.

Then, finally, Stefani was ready to venture out on her own – musically speaking, anyway. In November 2004 she released her first solo album, titled Love. Angel. Music. Baby. And once again, her songs provided a glimpse into her state of mind. “What You Waiting For?” dealt with Stefani’s decision to embark on a solo career and her plans to start a family, for instance.

ADVERTISEMENT

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. gave Stefani her first number-one song in “Hollaback Girl,” a brass-laden anthem released in 2005. At the time, it was also the only track ever to have sold more than one million downloads in the U.S. It seemed that Stefani could do no wrong.

Meanwhile, Stefani began to build a family with Rossdale, as the pair welcomed the first of their three sons, Kingston James McGregor, on May 26, 2006. A second solo album capped off an exciting year for Stefani. And although The Sweet Escape was given a lukewarm critical reception, its title track was nominated for a Grammy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Eventually, Stefani and Rossdale would welcome two more baby boys: Zuma Nesta Rock in August 2008 and Apollo Bowie Flynn, who arrived in February 2014. Stefani also worked on her third solo record as well as another album with No Doubt following the band’s 11-year hiatus.

In the midst of all her success, Stefani picked up a few famous friends, too. One of them was talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who on a December 2018 episode of her show discussed how she’d heard one of Stefani’s biggest songs before the rest of the world – and in a rather strange place, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

The track was called “Used to Love You,” a song released just after Stefani had gone through huge heartbreak. You see, in August of 2015 she and her husband announced their split. Rossdale had allegedly had an affair with Mindy Mann, the couple’s Australian nanny.

At the same time, Stefani and Rossdale said in a statement to Access Hollywood, “While the two of us have come to the mutual decision that we will no longer be partners in marriage, we remain partners in parenthood and are committed to jointly raising our three sons in a happy and healthy environment.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Three years after the split, Stefani appeared on The Ellen Show, and there the pair discussed the song that Stefani had shared with the talk show host in her bathroom, of all places. “It was a memorable moment,” DeGeneres recalled of being allowed to hear the audio.

Meanwhile, Stefani had her own feelings about the emotional experiences that she and DeGeneres had shared over the years. “You know what? I will always be so grateful for those conversations with you. Let’s get serious here for a second… I’ll always remember that moment,” the singer said.

ADVERTISEMENT

And the talk show host seemingly took Stefani’s words to heart. Indeed, DeGeneres quickly became serious and heartfelt in what she said to the singer. “Gwen, you know, she deserves everything she has. She deserves this love,” DeGeneres claimed to everyone watching.

“She deserves the life that she has and the career, because she went through a lot,” DeGeneres continued. With that praise, Stefani simply couldn’t contain her own emotions. “Now I’m crying on TV!” the singer exclaimed, perhaps worrying about her makeup.

ADVERTISEMENT

Still, DeGeneres continued with her ode to the Grammy winner. “I mean it. I love you, and I hated to see what you were going through, and you didn’t deserve it,” DeGeneres said. Stefani replied, “You’re making me cry,” to which DeGeneres eventually responded by handing her a tissue.

Then DeGeneres resumed with her normal humorous interviewing approach – but not before delivering one final touching thought. “That’s why I love her so much, because she doesn’t even understand how great [she is],” the talk show host said of the singing sensation on her couch.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fortunately, though, things had more than turned around for Stefani. In the wake of her divorce, in March 2016 the singer had released her third solo record, This Is What the Truth Feels Like. She also came back to the screen as a coach on TV show The Voice.

And through The Voice, Stefani encountered country music star and fellow coach Blake Shelton. When they first met, both she and Shelton were married, but by the end of summer 2015 both had split from their respective significant others. Was this the beginning of something beautiful?

ADVERTISEMENT

Yes, from there, Stefani and Shelton’s friendship quickly became flirtatious. In October 2015 they appeared together on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and viewers noted just how palpable their chemistry was. And a month later, it was confirmed that they were indeed dating.

Stefani admitted to Ryan Seacrest in November 2015 that she and Shelton had found common ground because they had both been in the midst of their respective divorces. “To be super honest, it is kind of crazy we both went through the same thing at the same time,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

And nearly two years after that interview, Stefani and Shelton were still going strong. In October 2017 fellow Voice coach and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine even told Howard Stern that the pair were “so in love it’s disgusting.” Levine added, “I have a pretty unique perspective on it, and it’s real, man.”

By December of 2017 Stefani and Shelton were collaborating both romantically and creatively in public. Furthermore, they duetted on the title song of Stefani’s fourth solo release – a festive holiday-themed album called You Make It Feel Like Christmas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, a love as strong as Stefani and Shelton’s started to bring up a big question for the couple: would they tie the knot? They faced marriage rumors less than a year into their courtship, in fact, and none other than DeGeneres helped fuel the mounting speculation that the couple would wed.

In fact, during the same interview in which DeGeneres’ kind words brought Stefani to tears, the talk show host attempted to trick the singer into admitting that she was set to marry Shelton, too. “So, Blake told me that y’all are engaged now,” DeGeneres said naughtily.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No, he didn’t. No, we’re not,” Stefani retorted. But DeGeneres wouldn’t stop her ruse. “He told me you’re engaged. So let’s talk about that,” the host replied. As Stefani laughed, she asked – possibly in a bid to evade answering any questions on the topic – “What are you talking about?

Stefani then cleared things up once and for all – or so she thought. “We’re not. We’re not engaged, and we’re not married. And he’s my boyfriend still,” she said emphatically of her partner. DeGeneres’ cheeky reply was purely to ask, “When will you get married?”

ADVERTISEMENT

The answer to that question remained unclear. Nevertheless, in an Instagram post on Christmas Day 2018, Stefani referred to Shelton as her boyfriend when she shared that he had touchingly “recorded [a] song that [she had written]… and put it on his Christmas record.

At the same time, Stefani’s career was once again flourishing. After leaving The Voice, she went on to take up a residency at the Zappos Theater in Las Vegas, where she was due to perform for a 46-date stretch from 2018 through to late 2019.

ADVERTISEMENT

The show, according to a July 2018 Orange County Register report, “chronicles the story of the now [49]-year-old’s life – for better and for worse – thus far.” And, for Stefani, that alone made the whole process “rewarding” and doubtless cathartic for her at this stage.

Such an accomplishment had also given Stefani pause to reflect on all that she had achieved since she had joined No Doubt in 1986. “Life just goes by so fast. You have this career where it doesn’t feel like work, but you work hard and the passion is driving you,” she reminisced.

ADVERTISEMENT

And all of that culminated in a Vegas residency, which Stefani said felt “very ‘end’ for me in a lot of ways, like chapter-wise.” But she also knew that she “still [had] all of this information to share with people,” which likely means it’s nowhere near the end of her career. And no matter what happens, she “feel[s] super proud” of all she has accomplished – just the way her friend Ellen DeGeneres seems to be, in fact.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT