Melissa Etheridge's 4 Children: All About Bailey, Beckett, Johnnie and Steven

Melissa Etheridge welcomed her first child, Bailey, 1997

<p>CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty</p> Melissa Etheridge with her son Beckett and her daughter Bailey during her Walk of Fame ceremony on September 27, 201.


Melissa Etheridge with her son Beckett and her daughter Bailey during her Walk of Fame ceremony on September 27, 201.

Musician Melissa Etheridge has been a trailblazer throughout her career, not just for her signature blues-infused rock, but for her activism for gay rights and the way she’s raising her blended family.

She welcomed daughter Bailey Jean and son Beckett with ex Julie Cypher in the late '90s. In 2006, she and her then-partner Tammy Lynn Michaels had twins Johnnie Rose and Steven Miller. The singer has been married to wife Linda Wallem since 2014.

"My children are my priority," Etheridge told PEOPLE in 2017. “I love my children. They are four of the most amazing human beings on earth. I live a very blessed life.”

Etheridge lost her older son Beckett, then 21, to an opioid overdose in 2020. In 2023, she published a book, Talking to My Angels, about grappling with that loss and her struggle to “choose love” and move forward.

“I can look at my son’s death as a great loss, or I can look at it as his time here was a great time of living and learning,” she told PEOPLE in September 2023. “He’s taught me so much, and I find great comfort in him in the non-physical.”

“I’ve experienced enough that I knew I had always lived very truthfully, and I always told people what was going on with me, from coming out to cancer, and just really felt a great power in being upfront and open,” the musician added. “I knew that this was not an exception, that this was something I wanted to share with those who wanted to know just how I walked through my son’s death, and how I still, every day, keep a bright outlook. It’s not easy.”

Keep reading for everything to know about Melissa Etheridge's four children.

Bailey Jean Cypheridge, 27

<p>Bailey Cypheridge Instagram</p> Bailey Cypheridge.

Bailey Cypheridge Instagram

Bailey Cypheridge.

Melissa's first child, daughter Bailey was born on Feb. 10, 1997. She and her younger brother Beckett, born the next year, were both conceived with the help of musician David Crosby. After the kids were born, Etheridge, Cypher, Crosby and his wife Jan shared the story of the family’s journey in an issue of Rolling Stone and then on Larry King Live.

Cypher explained on Larry King Live that the two couples were vacationing in Hawaii when they created their family plan. "We stopped by the place they were staying, and we were hacking out on the back porch, and their 8-month-old son was there and sleeping on Jan's chest," she said. "We were talking about having children and how we were going to do it, and it just came out of Jan's mouth. She's the one that volunteered David. She said, 'What about David?' "

The two couples weren’t particularly close at the time, but grew closer through their unique family bond. "Melissa and Julie are good people," Crosby told Rolling Stone in 2000. "Nice set of values, they're funnier than s---, and they've got courage. All rare stuff. You could see that they were in love with each other."

Crosby — whom the kids called “Croz” — stayed in touch with Bailey and her brother, though he was not in a parenting role, until his death in January 2023. "He was always a really cool presence in my life, even if we never meant to have that kind of parent-child relationship. He was friends with my parents, he was their donor for me. I thought it was cool growing up, knowing who he was," Bailey told PEOPLE at the time.

<p>Bailey Cypheridge Instagram</p> Melissa Etheridge and Bailey Cypheridge.

Bailey Cypheridge Instagram

Melissa Etheridge and Bailey Cypheridge.

In May 2023, Bailey opened up to PEOPLE about living with the losses of her brother and biological father. "I try to listen for what their reaction might be in their head if I'm trying to make an important decision," she said, adding that "loss and grief are really hard."

"I don't think anyone has a clear-cut way to deal with it,” Bailey added. “I try to focus on the good memories, try to know that feeling that loss so deeply means that you loved something so deeply."

In 2023, Bailey appeared in the show Family Legacy, about people who grew up as the children of famous musicians. "As a kid, I knew I had two parents that loved me and wanted me, and that's a lot more than a lot of people can say," she told PEOPLE. "I actually remember, when I was in kindergarten, I was bragging about having two moms because I thought that was a good thing. I still think it's the coolest thing."

"As I grew up, it meant more to me how much my parents were trailblazers and how hard it must have been for them at the time. For my mom to stay true to herself and to stay out even when so many people were telling her she'd have a more successful career if you say in the closet," she added. "I think it's really brave that that was just never a question for my mom. It means a lot more to me, now, looking back as an adult because I'm also a queer adult, so I can look at that and think that they really led the way for so many people, including me."

She takes that inspiration into her career as well. After graduating from Columbia University and the London School of Business, according to her LinkedIn, Bailey works at GLAAD as a project lead.

Beckett Cypheridge

Melissa Etheridge and Beckett
Melissa Etheridge and Beckett

Etheridge's second child and first son, Beckett was born on Nov. 18, 1998. After his birth, Etheridge spoke to Parents about raising small children. "There's nothing like taking the responsibility or creating the responsibility of bringing a human being into this world and helping it in its first years," she said. "It doesn't matter the equation that gets you there or what you are to that person. It doesn't matter at all. It is the bond between you and the child."

In 2008, Etheridge talked to The Daily Beast about how she wasn’t able to adopt children because the state of California refused to allow adoptions to same-sex couples. "He, being 9 years old and very proud of his reading skills, read ‘Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry,’ ” she said. “He looked at me, very matter-of-factly and said, ‘Wow, that’s lame.’ "

In 2016, when he was 17, Beckett was training to become a professional snowboarder in Colorado when he broke his ankle and subsequently developed an addiction to the painkillers he was prescribed in recovery. "It gave him a whole lot of pain. It kept him from being a professional snowboarder," Etheridge told PEOPLE in 2021. "He was on that path, and he got lost then — because if he wasn't going to do that, what was he going to do?"

Eventually, he began using heroin and fentanyl. Etheridge got him into rehab, but he left at 18. "The drug abuse really turned him into someone I didn't know," she said. "He was quicker to anger or mistrust. He stole money from me. The last couple of weeks, he was paranoid, and all of a sudden he was involved with guns. It's sad because it's not who he was before that."

<p>Bailey Cypheridge Instagram</p> Beckett Cypheridge and Bailey Cypheridge.

Bailey Cypheridge Instagram

Beckett Cypheridge and Bailey Cypheridge.

On May 13, 2020, Beckett died from an opioid overdose at age 21. "Today I joined the hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction," Etheridge told PEOPLE in a statement at the time. "My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today. He will be missed by those who loved him, his family and friends.”

Two months after Beckett’s death, Etheridge spoke to Good Morning America about coping with the loss through music. "There's something about singing, something about opening the soul, it's got me through everything,” she said. “So many people throughout my life said, 'Your music got me through this, your music got me through that.' And I now am using my music to get me through this."

In response to his death, Etheridge started The Etheridge Foundation, which researches the causes and treatments of opioid addiction. "This is an epidemic. We lose over 150,000 people a year to opioid addiction," she said on Today with Hoda and Jenna in September 2020. "One thing that helped me heal was starting The Etheridge Foundation. We're just starting it and it's rolling out and it is a foundation to research alternatives. To get off of this track of pharmaceuticals for pain. It's research to understand addiction."

Johnnie Rose and Steven Miller Etheridge, 17

<p>Bailey Cypheridge Instagram</p> Johnnie Rose Etheridge and Steven Etheridge as young children.

Bailey Cypheridge Instagram

Johnnie Rose Etheridge and Steven Etheridge as young children.

Melissa welcomed fraternal twins Johnnie and Steven with then-partner Michaels on Oct. 17, 2006. Michaels carried the children, who were conceived through an anonymous donor.

When the twins were 11 months old, Etheridge talked to PEOPLE about their unique bond. “They have their own language, they are more content to be with each other,” she said. “With twins, it’s like you’re in their life.”

Still, Johnnie and Steven showed distinct personalities early on. “You can put the same thing in front of both of [the twins] and they will do completely different things,” she added. “He will see if he can break it, if he can throw it, and she is going to contemplate it, see how she can manipulate it.”

The twins' parents split in 2010, and Etheridge went on to wed her now-wife Wallem. While their childhood has been kept largely out of the spotlight, the twins have occasionally appeared on older sister Bailey's Instagram account.

"Very merry sisters," Bailey captioned of photo of her and Johnnie Rose vacationing in Hawaii in 2019.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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