Rock star Melissa Etheridge is not holding back in regard to protecting her friend, Brad Pitt, as he goes through one of the most trying times of his life – his insanely publicized divorce from wife Angelina Jolie. She let it all hang out during an interview with Andy Cohen on his Sirius XM radio show Andy Cohen Live Monday.
Having been through public break-ups herself, twice involving children, Etheridge said, “It breaks my heart that anyone would take something as personal as your marriage and your relationship and your rights to your children and do it as purposefully as I see it’s being done…There’s a way to be. I’ve gone through family courts. I’ve been twice around this block, and I know it really well, and I know when there’s some forethought to just how mean [you can be] and just how you’re going to put disinformation out there first.”
Etheridge split from her wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, in 2010. They currently share custody of twins – Miller and Johnny, now nine years old. Prior to their relationship, Etheridge was partnered for 12 years with filmmaker Julie Cypher, who left then-husband Lou Diamond Phillips to be with the rocker. They had two children, a daughter named Bailey, now 19, and a son named Beckett, now 17. Etheridge is now remarried to Nurse Jackie creator Linda Wallem. Guests in attendance at their 2014 Montecito, California ranch wedding included celebrities Jane Lynch, Chelsea Handler, Rosie O’Donnell, Whitney Cummings, Peter Facinelli, and Sia.
According to TMZ, Etheridge was ordered to pay Michaels $13,000 a month in spousal support and $10,000 a month in child support. Etheridge was also ordered to pay Michaels 50% of the royalties collected from her album The Awakening.
Pitt has been accused of abusing his children, smoking too much weed and having anger issues. The former power couple have six children together – Maddox, 15, Pax, 12, Zahara, 11, Shilo, 10, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8.Etheridge called the abuse allegation “completely unfounded” and “heartbreaking.”
It’s been over a decade since Etheridge and Pitt talked. Etheridge was at one time so close to Pitt and his first wife Jennifer Aniston that she actually sang at their wedding.
“I really hope that he reaches back out because there are a lot of us who haven’t seen him in 10 years,” Etheridge said. “And it was hard then. We all lost a friend.”
The singer referenced Jolie’s previous marriage to Billy Bob Thornton and what she called “nasty” behavior when the two eventual lovebirds met. Billy Bob was at the time engaged to Etheridge’s friend – actress Laura Dern.
“I was around when Angelina was not doing nice things with Billy Bob to Laura Dern,” Etheridge said. “I went through that on a personal level, and then to know the side of Jennifer [Aniston] and Brad…I helped Laura move out of her house with Billy Bob – I, like, broke into their home to get their stuff out because it was so nasty.”
Etheridge has long held a tenuous relationship with Jolie. The Grammy winner shared her thoughts in 2013 shortly after Jolie revealed she’d had a preventative double mastectomy. Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor herself, did not feel the motion to be as inspiring as it was played out in the press.
“I have to say, I feel a little differently,” she said at the time. “I have that gene mutation, too, and it’s not something I would believe in for myself. I wouldn’t call it the brave choice. I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer.”