Chaz Bono Reveals Dad’s Ironic Childhood Nickname For Him

Famed singer and politician Sonny Bono didn’t live to see his daughter, Chastity, go through a life-changing gender reassignment process and become the man we now know as Chaz, but ironically, from the time he was a young girl, Chaz’s father had a very telling nickname for his little one.

“He called me Fred,” Chaz told Jay Leno on Thursday’s (May 26) episode of The Tonight Show.

“We were in Palm Springs one weekend, and there was this toy store that I used to love to go to,” he recalled. “We were in there looking, I don’t know if it was mugs or key chains – stuff that had people’s name on them.

They never had my name, so my dad said, ‘Pick a name – what do you think of Fred?'” Bono explained.

“And I apparently really like it,” he added. “It stuck for quite some time.”

Sadly, Sonny Bono was killed in a 1998 skiing accident at age 62. He and Chaz’s mother, Cher, ended their marriage in 1975.

Chaz’s memoir, Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man, was released earlier this month. His gender reassignment journey is also documented on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Becoming Chaz.

Filed under: Celebrity Kids,Chaz Bono

Photo credit: The Tonight Show


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  1. Anonymous

    Sonny died in 1998, not 1988.

  2. Janna

    That documentary was heartbreaking. It’s sad to see that Cher just can’t come to terms with this, and can’t support Chaz. Can you imagine how hard it must be for ALL of them to cope with this situation?

    • SPerry

      I still haven’t seen the doc, but I’m sure it’s been difficult for both Chaz & Cher; especially with Cher being such a huge icon in the LGBT community. It’s like Lady Gaga having a child and then not being able to cope with his or her gender identity issues. Just more proof that no matter who you are or what you believe — parenting is tough!

  3. Cindy

    I don’t know what the nickname has to do with anything. I know what she’s trying to imply, but there is hardly a connection.

  4. Anonymous

    Lots of feminine women have real legal names that are usually considered men’s names. In fact, some names we consider girls started as boys’ names. A rose is still a rose, you know, no matter what the name. Chastity is still a woman, no matter how many hormones she takes. And I don’t think she has had gender reassignment surgery yet. Check your facts. I heard her say recently that she had not had the surgery, just taken hormone pills and had her breasts removed. Dr. Keith Ablow had a good article where he discusses the mental illness aspect of gender confusion, which is what we have here.

  5. antigoniem

    He kinda looks like Jonah Hill now.

  6. Anonymous

    I agree a name means nothing about ones sexuality my nice name is Charlyee and my co-worker name is Bobbie and I know many more females with “boy” names, none of them are questioning their sexuality.

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