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. They’ve known each other for over two decades, but that’s not to say they’re particularly close. So when Ellen tried to insinuate that she was “best friends” with Cher in 2018, 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. And sometimes she appears to get under the skin of certain celebrities.

A star who fans felt wasn’t impressed by Ellen’s kill-them-with-kindness style was Cher. She appeared on a special edition of the comedian’s show back in September 2018. But when the episode aired, there were a few oddly tense moments. These included Cher refuting Ellen’s claim that they were best friends and the singer calling the comedian a “b****” on more than one occasion.

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Cher is one of the biggest singing stars in the world and Ellen, until recently at least, was the reigning chat show queen. So it’s unsurprising that the pair have had various encounters over the years. And while most of their exchanges have been friendly, some have been uncomfortable to watch.

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 constant sunny disposition and her commitment to “be nice.” With that in mind, she’s been known as much for her likeability as for her efforts as a comic and talk show host.

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For a while, Ellen’s reputation for being nice appeared to be entirely deserved. In what looked like a testament to her likable demeanor, she counted a number of celebrities among her friends. These have included Friends star Jennifer Aniston, fellow talk show host Oprah Winfrey and the singer Pink.

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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, the comedian 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.”

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

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Aside from Ellen’s rumored feuds, the comedian has also experienced some awkward moments on her chat show in recent years. On one of these occasions, in 2012 the host repeatedly pried into Taylor Swift’s love life. In the end, Swift 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.”

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On another toe-curling show in 2019 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.”

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Ellen courted yet more controversy with her choice of associates in 2019. 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.

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But potentially the most damaging controversy that Ellen has faced up until now surfaced in the summer of 2020. It was then that ex-staff members from the Ellen show came forward in an article by BuzzFeed News. Referencing Ellen’s matra, one of them said, “That ‘be kind’ b******* only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show.”

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Ellen later apologized in response to the allegations made against her show. Not only that, 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.

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But Ellen’s former chat show guests who didn’t publicly rush to her defense included Cher. The pop superstar has appeared on Ellen on a number of occasions in the past. And in one exchange, the host went so far as to call the singer her “best friend.” Yet it seems that the sentiment is not reciprocated.

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The incident went down in a 2018 episode of Ellen. At the time, Cher had recently appeared in the Abba-themed musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She was also promoting her album Dancing Queen, which was due for release and featured tracks first made famous by the legendary Swedish pop group.

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Presumably as part of the promotional efforts for her new album, Cher appeared on a 60-minute episode of the Ellen show in the fall of 2018. The pair took part in a skit that saw them surprise two unwitting customers at a hair salon.

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The sketch – which is available to watch on YouTube – begins with two women sitting in a hair salon having their hair done by stylists. But the seemingly normal scene is soon interrupted as Cher and Ellen walk through the door. 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.

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After acquainting themselves with two of the customers and their stylists, Ellen announces that they’re going to take over doing the women’s hair. She then shows one of the women a book with some of Cher’s most outrageous looks from over the years, before both celebrities are let loose on the ladies’ locks.

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Given that this is the Ellen show, some amusing antics soon ensue. Ellen sprays a stylist’s spray in her mouth to determine its water before proceeding to spritz is all over her – and Cher’s – client. At first the pop star protests, but in the end she lets the comedian have her way. That being said, Cher does complain that “this is a nightmare.”

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

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This is where things become a little personal. Ellen asks the two women sitting in the salon and Cher 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.

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Later on in the skit, the two stars discuss their friendship. Cher asks, “Do you know how long I’ve known you?” After Ellen responds by saying, “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.

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Despite what was seemingly shaping up to be a sweet trip down memory lane, Ellen appears to rebuff 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.”

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As Cher asks some 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. This time the pop diva chooses to retaliate, picking up the bottle herself and spraying Ellen with it. The host responds by blowing the hair dryer at her adversary and a short duel ensues.

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After their scuffle, both women return to the clients to finish off their hair. Rather than supporting her 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 picks up the spray bottle and starts dousing Ellen, who again picks up her hairdryer.

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

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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 isn’t thrilled, though. She tells Ellen, “Of all the bad [impressions] I’ve heard of me, this is probably the worst.”

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Despite 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.”

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Following this remark, Ellen looks around the room for validation. She finds it from the woman in her chair, who agrees with her. But Cher isn’t impressed. She exclaims, “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.”

At this point it seems that Cher is tiring of Ellen’s jibes. She tells the comedian, “You’re such a b****.” But Ellen still doesn’t appear to sense her guest’s annoyance. As they turn to leave the salon together, she remarks, “I think we got closer… I feel like we’re best friends now.” But Cher doesn’t agree, simply telling her, “No, we’re not.”

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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.” In the game, both women had to give three relevant answers to a certain question in an allotted time frame. And it’s safe to say it made for enthralling viewing.

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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 right off the bat, answering “Adele, Pink.” But she stumbles for a third name and eventually says “and… not Madonna.”

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The Ellen audience appear to enjoy Cher’s candid answer as they erupt into laughter. But the host berates her guest, telling her, “OK, 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.”

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Later on in the game 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.

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Ellen explains that “chocolate doesn’t” turn her on, adding, “I just made that up so I’d win.” She then asked, “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.”

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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?” It’s only now that the singer understands what the comedian is getting at, and so she tries to backtrack, first exclaiming “No. No.”

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Trying to clarify, Cher 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?”

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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” and is if to end the matter once and for all, she proceeds to call Ellen a “b****” which the audience – and seemingly the host, too – find hilarious.

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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.”

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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 with Cher, at least it seemed she gave as good as she got.

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