Diana Ross’ wild life – prison spell, tragic loss of ex and Cher row over Kiss frontman

Anyone who tuned in to the Platinum Party at the Palace earlier this month would have been in for a real treat, as they were able to watch one of the greatest performers still alive today: Diana Ross.

The singer is regarded as one of the most influential performers of all time. Her career goes back more than five decades, with the Supremes first bursting onto the scene in the 60s.

Such is her fame and stature, she was given the honour of closing the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee show ahead of the likes of current stars George Ezra and Mimi Webb and legendary acts like Elton John and Duran Duran.

The Motown performer, born in Detroit, has had a massive amount of success in her life, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

Arrest for DUI and short spell in jail

Ross spent 22 and a half hours in jail in the early 00s after being caught driving under the influence.

Tucson police had stopped Ross on December 30, 2002, for driving into oncoming traffic. Officers said they administered a breath test that showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 per cent, well above the state’s legal limit of 0.08 per cent.

Diana Ross performs onstage during Motown 60
Diana Ross performs onstage during Motown 60

Ross was allowed to phone into her case in New York, but was sentenced to 48 hours in jail, of which she served just under half.

She was released as a result of there being no female guard available for her stint in Greenwich jail. In all, she served 47 hours in the custody of Greenwich police over a three-day span.

Tragic loss of ex-husband

After a brief spell dating KISS singer Gene Simmons (more on that shortly), Ross married Norwegian businessman Arne Næss in 1985, who she would later describe as the “love of her life”.

They were married within a year of meeting. Having become stepmother to Arne’s three children, the duo had two sons together: Ross Arne, born in 1987 and Evan Olav, born in 1988.

Diana Ross and her late ex-husband Arne Naess
Diana Ross and her late ex-husband Arne Naess

However, things took a sour turn, and Ross divorced Arne in 2000. Sadly, the tragic tale doesn’t end there.

The Norwegian billionaire was hiking in South Africa in 2004 when he decided to take a turn for home after encountering thick mist on a mountain. He died as he tried to abseil down a cliff, with his ropes snapping.

Cher fallout

Ross wasn’t the only one to be in a relationship with Gene Simmons – it nearly cost her her friendship with Cher.

Both are American icons, both hit superstardom in the 60s, but in the 70s they had a similar taste in men, specifically the KISS member. It’s believed that Cher was with the rock star first in the latter half of the decade.

Simmons and Cher were living together in Malibu when he fell for Ross.

Diana Ross and Cher attend the Rock Music Awards in 1975 in Los Angeles, California.
Diana Ross and Cher attend the Rock Music Awards in 1975 in Los Angeles, California.

“One Christmas I asked [Cher] what I should buy her and she said, ‘Call my friend Diana Ross, she will tell you exactly what I like as she is my best friend’,” Simmons told the Mirror in 2015.

“So I called Diana up and we went shopping. Then our feelings for each other developed very fast and we started a relationship together. I guess thereafter Cher and Diana never spoke.”

The trio do appear to have patched things up in the decade since.

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