Tina and Cher each say that after relying on a partner for years, becoming an independent woman was a learning experience. "Neither one of us was ever on a plane by ourselves," Cher says. "I didn't know how to make out a check. I met Sonny when I was 16." Living in the spotlight didn't help, she says. "I made so many stupid mistakes. ... It's hard because you make all your mistakes in front of thousands of people."
Tina says she embraced her new life after leaving Ike, even though she was still learning how to be on her own. "I released myself," she says. "I wasn't intimidated by not knowing. I simply said, 'No, I don't know that.' I was okay with not hiding from it."
Due to their huge success, both women owed money after their divorces. Cher says she owed Sonny $2 million when their marriage ended. "Sonny and I had all of these contracts that amounted to something like $6 [million] or $7 million," she says. "The judge said, 'A contract is a contract, and if you pull out of it, then you have to pay him the amount that he would have made.'" Cher says she took on her first gig at Caesars Palace to pay off that debt.
"I had lawsuits from cancellations," Tina says. "With every venue that I played, I was served with papers for about a year or so. ... I just kept working because I was healthy and I was happy. I just paid my way out of the whole thing."