Cher feared she was losing her son Chaz when he came out as lesbian and later, as transgender.

The 72-year-old icon - who is an outspoken activist for the LGBTQ community - has admitted she was left searching for answers when Chaz initially discussed the issues of sexuality and gender identity with her.

Speaking about Chaz - whose father was Sonny Bono, Cher's first husband - she explained: ''This is what I think, and this is what I would hope: I would hope that, look, I didn't go through it that easily. Both times.

''When I found out Chaz was gay, I didn't go through it that easily; when I found out Chaz was [transitioning] ... except we talked about it a lot, actually.

''But then Chaz didn't mention it anymore, so I kind of forgot. And what I think is, there's such a fear of losing the child you love, and what will replace that child.''

The chart-topping star admitted she worried she would be losing her child and the person she'd loved for so long.

Cher - who also has a 42-year-old son called Elijah with her second husband, Gregg Allman - told Pride Source: ''I think it's about the fear, mostly. I felt, who will this new person be?

''Because I know who the person is now, but who will the new person be and how will it work and will I have lost somebody?

''And then I thought of something else: I thought, my god, if I woke up tomorrow and I was a man, I would be gouging my eyes out. And so I know that if that's what you feel then that must be so painful that it doesn't make any difference what anyone else feels or what anyone else thinks.

''Chaz is so happy now and we get along better than ever.''