Saluting David Crosby, Melissa Etheridge thanks him for being her kids’ biological dad

A woman and a man stand together and smile
Melissa Etheridge and David Crosby in Los Angeles in 2000. Crosby was the sperm donor who helped Etheridge and then-partner Julie Cypher have two kids.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

David Crosby gave fellow musician Melissa Etheridge “the gift of family,” the latter wrote in a Thursday tribute to the Crosby, Stills & Nash legend.

The “Come to My Window” singer-songwriter joined the droves of celebrities who publicly mourned the death of the 81-year-old rocker. But for Etheridge, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was more than a contemporary and friend, he was also the man who fathered two of her children through artificial insemination.

David Crosby was a lifelong hippie whose music with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young defined an era.

Jan. 19, 2023

“I am grieving the loss of my friend, and Bailey’s and Beckett’s biological father, David,” the Oscar-winning “I Need to Wake Up” singer wrote on Instagram, sharing a grainy photo of her watching Crosby play guitar.


“He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him, [his son] Django, and [his wife] Jan,” she added. “His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”

After a splashy reveal in a 2000 issue of Rolling Stone, Etheridge and Crosby confirmed in a subsequent “Larry King Live” interview that he was indeed the sperm donor for her kids with then-partner, filmmaker Julie Cypher. Calling in to the CNN show with Cypher and his wife, musician Jan Dance, Crosby said that he was “very proud” that they came to that agreement.

“You know, the truth is ... We hadn’t been extremely close friends of Julie and Melissa’s,” Crosby told King. “But if you — I think by now, just from hanging out [with] them — you can see very clearly, very quickly who they are, and they’re good people, and they made us feel that very quickly and very easily, and I liked them from the first time I met them.”

From his pioneering folk-rock with the Byrds to his hippie classics with Crosby, Still & Nash (and Young), David Crosby was a pivotal figure in rock’s history.

Jan. 19, 2023

In fact, Dance is the one who suggested that Crosby help them start a family. She volunteered him to be the biological father while they were all vacationing in Hawaii.

“It just fell out of my lips ...,” Dance said at the time. “I saw a longing in them and a love, and I knew that it was deep and that it was pure and true.”

Asked by King if he was shocked that his wife offered him up, Crosby said no.

“You know, I’ve said this before — I don’t really think that people should think this is such a big deal. Now I don’t mean by that that I am taking it lightly — I — anything but. I think it’s a great thing, but I think that people are probably making more out of it than they should,” Crosby said.


Graham Nash and Stephen Stills were among those in the music world paying tribute to David Crosby after news of the singer’s death.

Jan. 19, 2023

In her 2001 biography, “The Truth Is ... My Life in Love and Music,” Etheridge also confirmed rumors that actor Brad Pitt and musician Jackson Browne were considered to father the women’s children. The “I’m the Only One” singer has said that she and Cypher decided against Pitt, who had been their good friend, because he had badly wanted children of his own at the time and they were not looking for an additional parent for their kids.

Crosby also had son James Raymond Crosby and daughters Erika Keller Crosby and Donovan Crosby from relationships that pre-dated his relationship with Dance, whom he married in 1987.

“It’s one of the reasons why David Crosby and his wife are so perfect — because they already had children,” Etheridge said in a 2016 interview with “Today.” “They were looking to do this as a gift.”

Cypher gave birth to their daughter Bailey in 1997 and son Beckett in 1998. Bailey is now 24; Beckett died in 2020 at age 21 following an opioid addiction.

Bailey Etheridge also saluted her biological father on Thursday, posting on Instagram: “Rest easy Croz. Thank you for the tunes, the dimples, and the love.”

Etheridge and Cypher ended their decade-long relationship in 2000. According to Etheridge’s book, Cypher — who left husband Lou Diamond Phillips to be with Etheridge and later had an affair with singer k.d. lang — dropped a bombshell about their relationship during a 1999 therapy session: “She said, ‘You know, I’ve tried and I’ve tried these last couple of years, and I’m just not gay.’ Ten years and two children later seemed like a bizarre time to make that discovery,” Etheridge wrote.


Etheridge also has twins with ex-partner Tammy Lynn Michaels, who gave birth in 2006. The couple split in 2010.