In an interview with Parade, gay icon Cher says Chaz Bono is still her “girl.”

The 41-year-old Bono, who was born Chastity Bono to gay idol Cher and the late entertainer-politician Sonny Bono, announced last June that he was eight months into gender reassignment.

He's previously said that he was “miserable” pretending to be a girl and that he “wasted” years worrying about transitioning.

In the interview, Cher, who stars opposite Christina Aguilera in the upcoming film Burlesque, said she admired Bono for his courage and inner strength.

“When Chaz first told me about wanting a sex change, I had a really hard time with it. We talked about the transgender thing intermittently for years. She was unhappy. Plus, she was doing drugs. I believe that once she stopped doing drugs, she would have a much better life and put the transgender idea on the back burner,” Cher said, referring to Bono's former Oxycontin addiction.

“It's hard 'cause she's still my girl. But she has an inner strength and she's a courageous person – she believes what she believes.”

In an earlier interview with fashion glossy Vanity Fair, Cher called Bono“a very smart girl – boy!”