Melissa Etheridge Says Sperm Donor David Crosby Taught Her About ‘Generosity’: ‘We’re Still Finding Kids… Out in the World’

Melissa Etheridge is forever thankful for the gift of life that late friend David Crosby bestowed on her and ex Julie Cypher when he agreed to be a sperm donor for the couple in the 1990s. In an interview with People to promote her new docuseries Melissa Etheridge: I’m Not Broken — which premieres on Paramount+ on July 9 — Etheridge, 63, says that in addition to being the biological dad to her daughter Bailey and late son Beckett, Crosby “really taught me about generosity.”

“The situation was special with my partner at the time because she had been adopted and she wanted her children to know who their biological father was,” Etheridge says of Cypher. “So we weren’t going to go to a sperm bank because she wanted them to know.” That led them to Crosby, who died in 2023 at 81 and seemed up for the task with no strings attached.

“To me, I didn’t want someone who wanted to be a father,” the singer said of Crosby, who was also a father to sons James and Django and daughters Erika and Donovan. “I didn’t want all of a sudden my children to have… ‘Oh, there’s dad.’ And who am I? That sort of thing”; Bailey is now 27 and Beckett died of an opioid overdose in 2020 at 21.

In fact, it was Crosby’s wife, Jan Dance, who suggested he help the couple out, and according to Etheridge, they weren’t the only ones who were subject to his generosity.

“They had just had help having their son and they appreciated that. They wanted to pay it forward,” Etheridge said. “We’re still finding kids from David Crosby out in the world. My daughter’s like, ‘I have another half-sister.’” The key, she said, was that Crosby was happy to donate sperm, but did not need to be a hands-on father to Etheridge’s kids, which is why the relationship worked.

“That’s what really made it clear for me, was that he was willing to say, ‘Yeah, I was the biological father,’” Etheridge said of Crosby. “And my kids call him bio dad, so he’s the biological father, but they didn’t need a relationship with him.”

When the Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash founder died Etheridge paid loving tribute to the rocker. “I am grieving the loss of my friend [and] Beckett and Bailey’s biological father, David,” she wrote at the time. “He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him, [son] Django, and [wife] Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”

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