Cher Turned Down Chance to Open Olympics Due to Russia's Anti-Gay Law

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-09_e0c74ef331.jpgFacebook.com/Cher -- Add Cher to the list of celebrities who aren't happy about Russia's current anti-gay law.  In fact, she says she turned down the chance to open the upcoming Winter Olympics in that country because of it. Speaking to the Canadian magazine Maclean's, Cher said, "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."

She added, "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."

Explaining why she's always been a strong supporter of gays and other marginalized individuals, Cher said it was because of the way she and her late ex-husband and musical partner Sonny Bono were treated when they first started out. "People hated Sonny and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different," she told Maclean's. "Sonny was always getting into fights...people would called him 'fag' and he’d get his nose broken only because we were dressing different...You can’t forget that."

In the same interview, Cher also discusses her impact on the theatrical female performers who've followed in her wake, such as Madonna and Lady Gaga.

"The business has changed so much. Who knows how she will evolve, but Gaga has an idea for herself and she follows it," says Cher. "Madonna was the same way. Madonna said and did what she wanted, whenever she wanted and she was ahead of the curve. Always. She had her ear to the ground more than anyone."

Speaking of Gaga, Cher was supposed to have duetted with her on her upcoming album Closer to the Truth, but Gaga wouldn't agree to the duet's release.  Speaking about that decision to Maclean's, Cher says, "She’s an artist and I respect that. I loved the song; I was disappointed but I got over it. The one that is out there [online] isn’t even the right version."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio