Cher, Chastity Bono

Cher said she would support her daughter's decision to undergo a sex change, but admits she doesn't fully understand.

It was the first time Cher talked about the transition since Chaz (né Chastity) Bono's publicist announced last week the musician and author had started the process earlier this year.

"Chaz is embarking on a difficult journey, but one that I will support," Cher told People. "I respect the courage it takes to go through this transition in the glare of public scrutiny, and although I may not understand, I will strive to be understanding.

"The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child," she adds.

In the book Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families, Bono recalls how Cher "went ballistic" when she came out at age 18. But Cher ultimately became an advocate for the LGBT community.

Sonny Bono and his daughter were estranged when he died. His widow, U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack, 47, is supportive of Chaz Bono.

"Chaz has always been a loving and important part of our family who has supported us all through thick and thin," she told People. "This is a very difficult decision that Chaz has fully vetted, and over the past decade, has discussed the matter thoroughly and consulted therapists and medical experts. As he moves forward, I will be there to support him and love him every step of the way."