SINGER Cher has turned down the offer to open the 2013 Winter Olympics in Russia over the country’s anti-gay laws.
In an interview with Canadian news magazine Macleans the singer explained her decision.
"I can't name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I'd like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. I immediately said no.
"I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there. He said the Russian people don't feel the way the government does."
The 'Believe' singer said herself and former husband Sonny were treated badly at the beginning of their career because they were different.
"People hated Sonny and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different. Sonny was always getting into fights - people would called him 'fag' and he'd get his nose broken - only because we were dressing different.
“And these were our street clothes! You can't forget that. We tried getting on TV but the backlash against the networks was so bad, they wouldn't invite us back."
The iconic singer also spoke about son Chaz, who underwent a sex change operation.
“When Chaz first told me she was going to do it - pronoun problem, when he first told me - and the process started, I was so frightened.
"One time I called Chaz and he had forgot to change his voicemail and it was his old voice. It shook me a bit.
"These are small changes that as a mother you never forget. It is the last taboo. It used to be against the law. Thank God we've come so far."