© Robin L Marshall | FilmMagic

In a legal showdown that’s been dragging on for years, music icon Cher has finally come out on top against her late ex-husband’s widow, Mary Bono. The courtroom clash centered around the rights to the iconic tunes Cher co-wrote with her former musical partner and husband, Sonny Bono, back in their 1960s heyday.

Cher and Sonny topped the charts with hits like “I Got You Babe” during their decade together as musical and romantic partners in the 1960s-70s. Their 1978 divorce settled that future royalties from songs like “The Beat Goes On” would be split evenly. But things took a turn when Mary Bono, who succeeded Sonny in Congress, tried to change the terms.

Invoking copyright law in 2016, Mary argued she now owned Sonny’s share of the publishing rights. This froze Cher out of over $418k in royalties, leading her to file a lawsuit citing their long-standing agreement. In court, Cher’s team claimed Mary had no right to impact the divorce deal.

Federal judge John Kronstadt seemed to agree, noting in February that contractual rights trumped termination clauses. This week, he cemented that view by ruling fully in Cher’s favor. Neither she nor Mary have commented on the decision yet, but it’s a triumph for Cher that ensures the money keeps coming in from their timeless hits.

Of course, Cher hardly needs the cash these days. Following her split from Bono, she’s had a massively lucrative solo career with albums, tours, a Vegas residency and an Oscar for 1987’s “Moonstruck.” Her latest seasonal offering “Christmas” just gave her a Billboard #1 – making her the only artist with a chart-topper in each of the past 7 decades.

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