What Happened Between Sharon Stone and Cher?
You’re reading Hung Up, the newsletter from Hunter Harris. This is The Tuesday Post, a weekly essay or interview or deep dive. If you like this kind of thing, you can subscribe here.
The celebrity memoir is a curious phenomenon to me, an exercise in image-making that is so often lame and unsuccessful at convincing anyone of anything. There are only two celebrity memoirs I have ever read or felt moved to read: Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography of Destiny's Child, which I read and did a book report on in the third grade, and Patti LaBelle’s memoir Don't Block the Blessings, which is unfortunately at the top of my list but currently out of print. (I also reviewed Rihanna’s book for the New York Times when it came out, but that book is less a memoir and more a glamorous photo dump.) I get the feeling that, with some exceptions, celebrity memoirs have become less dishy and more career-affirming or mythmaking. And that’s fine! That’s just not the kind of book I’m interested in reading. People are so rarely authorities on (or even good sources for) their own lives.
But there are few people I find more fascinating than Sharon Stone. I love women with second- and third- and fourth-acts, reclaiming and reinventing and reintroducing themselves. I also love women who hit that sweet spot I am always after: talking too much but always remaining mysterious. Sharon Vonne Stone does all of that. Her book, The Beauty of Living Twice, was an immediate purchase for me.
I love Sharon Stone in such a way that, out of nowhere and to no one in particular, I have this book in my hand and I sigh — or squeal — “Sharon!!!!!!” because she has just written something that simply no one else could say. “Sharon!!!!!!” meaning “Oh my God, girl, you cannot talk that way!” “Sharon!!!!!!” meaning “I am obsessed but also: fix it king Jesus!” I simply love Sharon Stone.
I am intrigued by really beautiful people. Not the Instagram beauty which is all about looking young and flat and consumable, but beauty-beauty, like being so beautiful it actually warps your sense of the world. Being so beautiful it makes you an authority on what beauty actually entails. Beauty that is vexing, beauty so profound it can manipulate — Alex Jung’s Vulture profile of Jude Law gets at this idea really wonderfully. Sharon Stone is great at talking about this, and she’s great at talking about everything else. When I profiled her for Town & Country last fall, she FaceTimed me out of the blue one afternoon because she urgently wanted to discuss three generations of her family history … and also Black Lives Matter, and the pandemic, and these flowers she picked up from the Obama White House and replanted at her house, and the red lipstick she likes to wear, and, by the way, don’t you think Kamala Harris would make an excellent president one day? I sat there on FaceTime for an hour — Sharon!!!!!!
Instead of re-treading big premieres or career highlights and lowlights The Beauty of Living Twice is more about the gulf between Sharon Stone the movie star and Sharon Stone the person (who, regularly, is pretty fascinating and a capable writer). She goes through her life with a lot of asides and gossip and as many observations about the way life happens as the way Hollywood happens. “The Beauty of Living Twice is a book about Sharon Stone’s life, which makes it a book about how women take on multiple personas when they become very famous, then struggle to keep them in order,” Jo Livingstone wrote for The New Republic. “When your image has a monetary value, she gradually argues, it will at times have interests that are at curiously precise odds with your own.”
But what I want to talk about today is this line in the book where Sharon Stone calls Cher ugly.
“Style is what you do with what’s wrong with you,” Stone writes in the chapter called “Style.” She gives some examples: “Barbra Streisand’s nose, Clark Gable’s ears, Danny DeVito’s size, Cher.” When I read this, I gasped: Sharon!!!!!! I reread it immediately. Did she … really just … do that? Did she really just call Cher ugly? Right there in print, on the 51st page of her memoir?
The next day I was in the bathroom doing my skincare regimen and I thought: “Oh no. I misread that. Sharon didn’t. She couldn’t have. Cher is beautiful. There’s no way!” I reread it again. I mean, it’s right there: Sharon Stone is making a list of famous flaws, and Cher’s name is on that list.
Famous Flaws, According to Sharon Stone:
Barbara Stresiand’s nose
Clark Gable’s ears
Danny DeVito’s size
Sharon!!!!!! Not Cher’s … something. Cher. Period. Is there any other way to read this? I am legitimately asking. I am looking for another read of this.
Meanwhile, Cher is in a tricky spot as of late; her usually-great Twitter posted a truly galaxy brain missive last week: "Was talking with Mom & She Said 'I Watched Trial Of Policeman Who Killed George Floyd, & Cried'. I Said 'Mom, I Know This Is Gonna Sound CRAZY, But.. I Kept Thinking .....Maybe If I'd Been There,...I Could've Helped." Cher deleted the tweet and apologized.
I don’t know where we land here. I personally find Cher nuts but also gorgeous. (Despite the best efforts of the Moonstruck industrial complex, I am still trying to get my hands on a link to re-watch Silkwood.) This one-liner about Cher gets at everything I love about Sharon Stone the movie star, Sharon Stone the writer, Sharon Stone the woman who FaceTimed me to introduce me to her dogs. She just lets it rip.
Something else about Sharon Stone:
Yet another thing about Sharon Stone:
When I was trying to find evidence of Sharon Stone having any friendship with Cher (or feud with Cher), I did come across this quote Sharon gave about Meryl Streep:
“Meryl looks like an unmade bed.” Sharon!!!!!! Unfortunately that link to Tatler magazine is broken, so this E! blog is the only evidence of this quotation.