Dancing with the Stars Wiki
Chaz Bono
Chaz Bono S13
Celebrity Profile
Birth Date 4 March 1969 (1969-03-04) (age 55)
Hometown Los Angeles, California
Known For Transgender activist & author

Dancing with the Stars 13

Partner(s) Lacey Schwimmer
Placement 7th
Highest Score 21 (Paso Doble, Samba)
Lowest Score 17 (Cha-Cha-Cha, Quickstep
Average Score 18.8

Chaz Salvatore Bono is a celebrity from Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars.

Early Life[]

Bono was born in Los Angeles, California, the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono of the pop duo Sonny & Cher, stars of a TV variety show in which the young child often appeared. Bono was named Chastity Sun Bono after the film Chastity, which was produced by Sonny and in which Cher (in her first solo role in a feature film) played a bisexual woman.

Bono came out to both parents as a lesbian at age eighteen. In Family Outing, Bono wrote that, "as a child, I always felt there was something different about me. I'd look at other girls my age and feel perplexed by their obvious interest in the latest fashion, which boy in class was the cutest, and who looked the most like cover girl Christie Brinkley. When I was thirteen, I finally found a name for exactly how I was different. I realized I was gay."


Bono began a short music career in 1988 with the band Ceremony, which released one album, Hang Out Your Poetry, in 1993. The band featured Bono on vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Other members were Steve March Tormé (backup vocals), Heidi Shink a.k.a. Chance, Pete McRae, Steve Bauman, Louis Ruiz, and Bryn Mathieu. All but one of the band's songs were written or co-written by Bono, Shink, and Mark Hudson. They used no synthesizers or digital effects on the album; Shink noted, "We turned our back on technology. [ ... ] It's reminiscent of the 60s, but more a tip of the hat than emulating it. We took the music we love and rejuvenated it, made it 90s." Critical reception of the album was lukewarm, with Roch Parisien of Allmusic describing Hang Out Your Poetry as a mildly psychedelic take on early 1990s pop, "pleasant, accessible, well-produced ear-candy that's ultimately toothless".

The songs "Could've Been Love" and "Ready for Love" were released as singles from the album. Sonny and Cher also recorded backing vocals for the track "Livin' It Up" on the album.

LGBT Activism[]

In April 1995, Bono came out as a lesbian in an interview with The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian magazine. The 1998 book Family Outing detailed how Bono's coming out "catapulted me into a political role that has transformed my life, providing me with affirmation as a lesbian, as a woman, and as an individual." In the same book, Bono reported that Cher, who was both a gay icon and an ally of LGBT communities, was quite uncomfortable with the news at first and "went ballistic" before coming to terms with it: "By August 1996, one year after I came out publicly, my mother had progressed so far that she agreed to 'come out' herself on the cover of The Advocate as the proud mother of a lesbian daughter." Cher has since become an outspoken LGBT rights activist.

Bono's paternal relationship became strained after Sonny became a Republican Congressman from California. The differences in their political views separated them, and the two had not spoken for more than a year at the time of Sonny's fatal skiing accident in January 1998.

Bono worked as a writer at large for The Advocate. As a social activist, Bono became a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, promoted National Coming Out Day, campaigned for the reelection of Bill Clinton for US President, campaigned against the Defense of Marriage Act, and served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Bono was a team captain for Celebrity Fit Club 3 (2006) and was supported by girlfriend Jennifer Elia, who orchestrated exercise and training sessions.

In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting; in the video, Bono and others told the stories of the people killed there.


In mid-2008, Bono began undergoing a physical and social transition from female to male. This was confirmed in June 2009 by his publicist, who identified Bono's preferred name as Chaz Bono and said, "It is Chaz' hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his coming out did." GLAAD and the Empowering Spirits Foundation were quick to offer praise and support for the announcement. Bono's legal transition was completed 6 May 2010, when a California court granted his request for a gender and name change. Bono made Becoming Chaz, a documentary film about his transition that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The Oprah Winfrey Network acquired the rights to the documentary and debuted it 10 May 2011.

Dancing with the Stars 13[]

In September 2011, he became a competitor in the 13th season of the US version of Dancing with the Stars, paired with professional ballroom dancer Lacey Schwimmer. The duo was eliminated 25 October 2011. This was the first time an openly transgender man starred on a major network television show for something unrelated to being transgender.


Week # Dance/Song Judges' Scores Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"Dancing in the Street" 6 5 6 Safe
2 Quickstep/"Love Is All Around" 6 5 6 Safe
3 Rumba/"Laugh at Me" 6 6 6 Safe
4 Paso Doble/"Theme from Rocky" 7 7 7 Safe
5 Samba/"Get Down on It" 7 7 7 Safe
6 Tango/"The Phantom of the Opera"
Group Broadway Dance/Big Spender & Money Money


  • He is the first transgender person to appear in Dancing with the Stars.
    • Although he is the first contestant to have a partner born the same sex, in season 30, JoJo Siwa would be partnered with Jenna Johnson, both the same sex during their participation.
  • His mother, Cher, was a guest judge in Season 17.
    • Both the seasons where he participated and Cher was a judge would have the same top three professional dancers, Karina, Cheryl, and Derek.
  • His birth name in 1969 was Chastity Sun Bono.