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.