Cher says she used to think of Michael Jackson as ''a great artist,'' but no more, since she's seen how he treats his kids. The 56-year-old singer/actress, promoting an upcoming concert special on NBC, told TV Guide, ''It's because of his children.''
Cher saw him backstage last year when they taped the ''American Bandstand'' 50th anniversary special. ''He had this child rolled up in a blanket, and I was thinking, 'What kind of life is this?''' she said. ''I cannot imagine putting my children through what he put his children through,'' said Cher, who used to trot out little Chastity at the end of the ''Sonny & Cher'' variety series. Then, she said, ''I saw the recent documentary on him, and I thought, 'This guy is nuts. He shouldn't have these children.'''
Last month, Cher released ''The Very Best of Cher,'' a hits collection spanning her 40-year career. Her ongoing ''Living Proof'' farewell tour continues; a November date in Miami was the source for April 8's NBC special. At least the currently blonde diva didn't criticize Jackson's apparent penchant for plastic surgery. ''I don't really care what he does to his face,'' she said. ''He could just erase it as far as I'm concerned.'' Um, maybe he already did.