- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
This story first appeared in the Feb. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
In the late 1960s, Geffen had entered the music publishing side of the business when, as singer-songwriter Laura Nyro‘s manager, he created a publishing company for her songs. That was his first big break as a businessman. He sold the company to CBS for $4.5 million in stock in 1969. Geffen got half, and that allowed him to form Asylum Records with a roster that would come to include Joni Mitchell and the Eagles.
It took only a year for him to sell Asylum for $7 million to Warner Communications, where he would head the merged Elektra/Asylum Records. He was now a certified music tycoon.
But it was his relationship with Cher that brought Geffen into the public eye. Although he would later come out as gay, in 1973 at age 30 he’d fallen in love with Cher, then 27, and they became a couple.
“I was the first person to share his bed and to share his life,” she says in Tom King‘s book about Geffen, The Operator. “People don’t believe that, or they don’t want to believe it, or they don’t understand how it could be. But we were really crazy about each other.” They would be together for two years.
Geffen’s first move was to free the singer from her onerous business arrangement with estranged husband Sonny Bono, under which she was required to work exclusively for Cher Enterprises, the company he controlled. Cher had no vote in decisions, even though she was the much bigger star. Geffen called the contract “slave labor.”
In short order, he had her quit The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. She separated from Bono and in time for the Grammys had a butterfly tattooed on her posterior to celebrate her emancipation.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day