Cher has won a lawsuit against Mary Bono, the widow of Sonny Bono, stemming from a dispute over Sonny & Cher royalties.

Sonny & Cher were one of the most popular duos in America during the ‘60s and ‘70s, scoring famous hits like “Baby Don’t Go,” “The Beat Goes On” and “I Got You Babe,” while also becoming television stars. The musicians were married from 1964 to 1975, but their career deteriorated right around the time of their divorce.

Cher went on to a hugely successful solo career while Sonny transitioned to politics. He married Mary, his third wife, in 1986, and died 12 years later in a skiing accident.

Why Did Cher Sue Sonny Bono's Widow?

According to Billboard, Cher and Sonny agreed in their divorce proceedings on a 50/50 split of the publishing revenues from material they had recorded together. Cher continued to receive her share of royalty payments from Sonny’s estate after his death, however in 2016 Mary invoked a “termination right” in an effort to gain full control of Sonny’s intellectual property. In 2021, Cher stopped receiving royalty payments from the estate all together, at which point she filed her lawsuit.

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In the recent ruling, Judge John A. Kronstadt determined that federal termination rules would not nullify Sonny and Cher’s divorce settlement. As such, Cher has the “contractual right to receive financial compensation” for material from the Sonny & Cher music catalog. The singer -- who will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later this year -- is reportedly owed more than $400,000 in past royalties that have accrued since the lawsuit began.

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