The Ballad of Melissa Etheridge & Tammy Lynn Marches On

We generally stay away from gossip here, but this is The ETH we’re talking about here and look — there is some seriously crazy shit going down with Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels.

First, let’s backtrack. News of Tammy & Melissa’s break up hit the web back in April — we can thank Melissa for that.

Over the next two months, Tammy occasionally ripped open her heart and let the feelings pour freely on her blog, hollywood farmgirl, often scolding Melissa for leaving Tammy & the 5 year-old twins pretty much broke-ass broke.

Now, the dyke drama has taken a new turn: People Magazine says Melissa is in a committed relationship with a new woman, OK. But here’s the thing: the woman is Nurse Jackie writer/producer, Linda Wallem, aka Melissa Etheridge’s best friend of seven years. Right. So she’s been around like all this time. In fact, Wallem acted as her “best man” at their 2003 wedding.

Let’s pause for a WTF and some hollywood farmgirl processing of this news:

i moved out november 23rd 2009
she said it would help
i was convinced it would
too and i trusted there was
no one else
i didn’t know
there was someone moving in
as i was moving out

three weeks later a box of new toys
was delivered and her assistant brought
it to my rental house as a mistake

i opened it and that’s when i felt something was up

i called her
“i have your new dicks on my kitchen counter?”

one thing by one thing
i slowly felt things were not
as they were being represented

one never even said one was breaking up with me
one only says things in song and string

and then i listened to the album
and i understood
oh you don’t want to work it out
oh you already have someone in the wings
oh you already have pined for another
oh you are done here

oh i have become another one of your exes
oh i have become an album many albums
starting with lucky
which is why you can’t find that tattoo on my body anymore

Linda Wallem (right) with Nurse Jackie star, Edie Falco

Tammy goes on to vent over People’s “scoop” of Melissa and Linda as a “new couple” since according to Tammy, the relationship has been going on for nearly a year.

but i have had some time to let it digest, rip my stomach apart,
digest some more, and i think i’m in a better spot now.
sometimes reality takes a moment to settle in. you know, like if
you were standing in the pitch black, and suddenly you threw
on some intense 1500W bulbs around you?? you’d need to quint
and adjust and maybe be blind for a minute? okay. maybe vomit up
your stomach until you have a brand new lining, but hey, who
doesn’t do that when their world turns upside down? :-)

so. you know. people magazine tries to get things right. they try to
clean things up for the famous folk- their sources are usually the publicist
for the celebrity. i’m here to clarify. well… i want to clarify without
dealing with getting sued for SLANDER (and paying someone), which would include
me saying that the two were involved while I was living there (it is still my house, by the way).
and i haven’t gone just that far yet.

since april of 09? mmm…. one of my little sweet peas told me otherwise much
earlier than that, Pooper magazine.they should have shut the bedroom door.

So what did we learn? In a nutshell, this relationship has been going on for nearly a year and Tammy was blindsided when her assistant accidentally delivered Melissa’s new dildos to Tammy’s rental house…. really Papi?

Weirdly enough, she later goes on to actually praise Nurse Jackie in general, specifically Linda’s writing/producing partner, Liz Brixus — who just so happens to also be Linda Wallem’s ex.

While Tammy suggests that Melissa was seeing Linda Wallem behind her back, she also adds that she has since “found someone myself” and “most importantly to me: the kids are alright.”

Speaking of the kids, Wallem apparently ‘lives vicariously’ through Melissa and Tammy’s family — “I have to say, I live vicariously through them because I don’t have kids, and they are the most amazing mothers, the most amazing family I know. The kids are just so loved and so magical. I always tease Melissa, ‘You know, you have four kids now!’ and she says, ‘I know! I don’t know how this happened!’ She’s like the sister I never had.”

That quote actually doesn’t make sense but hell, what does.

FYI, there’s been an Etheridge / Nurse Jackie connection for a while now as her song “Nervous” played throughout the second season finale of the [f*ing amazing] Edie Falco series.

Riese’s Special Comment:

Hi. As a the Very Important Editor in Chief, I was just reading this article so that I could press the “publish” button and I had so many feelings that now I am writing them right here. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE. Seriously. Breakups are PRIVATE. I used to think “dyke drama” was an unfair stereotype, but g-ddamn if there wasn’t one thing I learned in 2010…




… it’s that heartbreak makes grown women act like fucking asshats, even if they’re public figures. It doesn’t have to, though — some people are totally able to breakup without any public displays of overblown emotion. Nothing is ever accomplished by sharing the private, painful details of a dissolved relationship with the proletariats, whether that be magazine readers or facebook friends. Aren’t you glad we AREN’T in high school anymore and don’t HAVE to tell everybody everything? Relationships are complicated things and nobody knows what goes on really besides the two people involved. In conclusion, I’m on Team Tammy. WTF Eth. WTF. Okay back to Jess.



So, how do you feel about all of this? Are you busy deleting the Breakdown album off your iPod in disgust? Are you Team Tammy? Is Team Etheridge even an option at this point?

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 240 articles for us.


  1. “suddenly you threw/on some intense 1500W bulbs”

    What in the hell Lite-Brite version of Home Depot is she shopping at?

  2. Well. “WTF, Eth” indeed. This gives me a number of feelings. Chief among them is “Damn, those poor kids.” No child ever comes out of a divorce (or non-legal/official equivalent) completely unscathed, and I can’t see how the extremely public nature of this one does anything but make it even more impossible for their parents to shield them from the worst of it (if they’re trying).

    I just wish this wasn’t happening so publicly. But since The Eth and her new woman are all over the media anyway, I don’t blame Tammy for using social media to get her feelings out there. Team Tammy all the way. I really hope she gets some good acting roles soon. Nicole Julian is still a legend among my friends.

  3. i’ve spent a good part of today feeling sad/angry/hurt/confused about my recent breakup and subsequent “being replaced”. Then I read this story and said, “well shit, maybe i shouldn’t complain; at least i wasn’t accidentally delivered a box of their new dildos, and the whole effing world doesn’t know about the situation.” Sigh. Dyke drama indeed. The first time she and I broke up, over a year ago, I went crazy with the fb updates and drama. This year I’ve kept it under control for the most part. But fuck, those emotions can be a killer. And seeing your ex with someone new, man, that shit just hurts. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have the whole world be privy to the whole mess. At least my seeing my ex with her new lady is confined to seeing that damn fb profile pic of the two of them all cozy together. bleh. Currently thankful that I’m not opening People magazine and reading about my own heartbreak.

  4. I personally am not happy until I see some lezbos screaming in the bar parking lot, about to rip some weave out.

  5. Blarg. Sad. Breakups are shitty. As much as I wanna be Team Tammy (and I am in spirit), I doubt Melissa just GOT OVER her wife and co-mother of her kids. I mean, how she went about it was completely and totally wrong, but you don’t just stop caring about someone.

  6. I tried to stay out of this. I really did. But with The Eth’s track record and the pile-up of insane that she’s leaving in her wake, I’m just thinking she seems to be the common denominator here. So, yeah. Not so much with her anymore.

    Also, did Liz leave Nurse Jackie? Linda and she can’t possibly be co-running that show after all this, right? That would just be too mature and professional and where’s all the drama in that?!

    • Why do you think Liz Brixus left Nurse Jackie? I think she’s just friends with Tammy, not together-together.

      • Ohhhh. I thought Liz and Linda were an item? And now they’re broken up and I just wasn’t sure if they were still working together, in post-breakup mode? But I could be completely off base. It wouldn’t be the first time.

          • Oh. Well then. Good for them. They are better people than I. Because when my ex approached me about working together post-breakup, my head nearly exploded from the terrible-ness of that idea. But that’s another story.

  7. Team Mary Cherry, that’s where it’s really at!
    “Let’s get one thing straight China girl. The only thing exquisite at this school is my ass!”

  8. I briefly allowed myself to be excited about Ethridge appearing in American Idiot, and then I scrolled further down my google reader and saw Tammy’s post and was like “oh right, she’s a doucheface.” and then I ranted to my boss about it.

  9. I’m on Team Riese’s Special Comment. Because like, the whole time I was reading Tammy’s blog stuff I was thinking: a) I hate it when people blog like that. Sentence structure and punctuation, okay? and b) omg Tammy, girl, I know it hurts but why this?

    Either way, bad moves Melissa. Uncool.

  10. I think it is positive that the whole world knows about this. I don’t care if Eth doesn’t like it. Hell of a woman (I don’t blame her for being in love with someone else, I blame her for the way she treated Tammy). And if Tammy is keeping a public blog, then maybe she wants us to know?

    Anyway, I hope this can be a lesson towards rationality. For all the lesbowz.

    Haha, like that’s ever gonna happen.


  11. I started out Team Tammy but now I’m just Team Kids. The adults need to get their shit together for the kids.

    • This. While my ardor for Melissa cooled years ago, I’ve always been loyal. Tammy’s blog is an annoying piece of personal venting, and sure, Melissa could have handled any and all of her relationships better. And yes, breakups suck and are private things. But the kids. Think of the kids, people. Everyone sucks when they overlook the kids. So yeah, Team Kids.

    • THIS. I’ve experienced mama lesbian drama and it can get really ugly especially for the kids, because the mama lesbians (at least mine) have the tendency to go at each others throats. So, one mama is telling you “She treated me like shit,” and you don’t know what the other mama is saying because you aren’t even allowed to see her now. So, no one ever takes in to account how the kid is feeling. IMO kids should always come first when their mom/moms, dad/dads, mom/dad/ break up.
      Teams Kids.
      (BTW, I think both of them could have handled this better. However, in my eyes Melissa is literally a giant dick right now)

      • Also, she makes her assistant handle her dildos? She couldn’t take any time out of her busy schedule of being an ass to pick up her own dildos?

  12. I just want to know what happened to the assistant who delivered the box of dildos to the wrong place. That has to be like the biggest FML moment ever. There should be a movie about her.

    • Can you imagine their next job interview?

      “So, I see you were previously working as a personal assistant to Melissa Etheridge, can you tell me about your reason for dismissal?”

      “Oh, umm, yeah. I was fired for delivering a box of dildos to her ex-wife when they were supposed to be for her and her new gf… Nbd.”

      /instantaneous end of interview.

    • ohgrlpls–she’s working in the Valley asking if you want fries with that…

      (but can you imagine explaining to the next potential employer why the Eth fired your ass?)

  13. I think the real blame should be placed on all those silly dykes that have been giving Melissa so much money all these years. Melissa appears to believe that she is entitled to use people any way she pleases and then throw them away like a ruptured condom….. including her children. Most of us would be more prudent at Melissa’s age because it’s hard to attract cute chicks without $$$$ and DAMN, but Tammy is HELLA cuter than that new future ex-wife. Team Tammy…. all the way. Melissa’s hypocritical “Speak True” sounds pretty hollow when I think about her new dildos on her baby mama’s kitchen counter. I’m thinking that the dildo delivery was no “mistake.”

  14. If Melissa comes out and declares her undying love for ANY other human being, large or small animal, and/or purple dildo, I will personally hunt her down and puke on her myself. Her intense but superficial emotions are not anything I’m interested in any longer. And anybody that gets within spitting distance of her certainly deserves what they get.

  15. ok, how does one “accidently” have a box of new sex toys delivered to their ex?

    It would take a rare clusterf*ck of coincidences for that to happen by mistake.

    I get the feeling there’s been a concerted effort from Team Melissa to wind Tammy up like a spinning top. Being an actress who obviously has a lot of feelings at the best of times, they know she will take to her blog to get her side across and (to the untrained eye), appear to be the ‘CRAZED’ ex.

    What a shame. Tammy is clearly loyal, devoting much of her 20’s to Melissa and parenting, putting aside her career to care for M when she was sick and birth twins. TWINS.

    Tammy’s still young in comparison to Melissa, and I feel like these antics of Melissa’s are a desperate attempt by a former Queen Bee celesbian to stay relevant in the community and in the tabloids. It must be hard when your celesbian heart-throb status is waining. yeah, I said it.

    Tammy should drop the Etheridge name pronto and stop wasting anymore time on this break-up. I hope she can find an acting job that gives her enough time with the twins.. she needs to find her own star again.

  16. Hell, when my relationship broke up, even I didn’t (and still don’t) know what the fuck was/is going on.
    It’s been the most intense agony I’ve felt short of when I lost one of my parents. In some ways, at times, it’s even felt a little worse.

    That said, I’ve made a huge fucking point not to cause problems in public or private, for that matter. At times it’s been extremely horrible feeling like I’ve had to suck down and swallow pounds of shit at a time and take it with a smile, but I learned who I can vent to, and what I can do as a substitute during those times when it’s killing me to keep my mouth shut.

    Dignity, yo. Sometimes, it’s the only thing ya got, dig?

  17. Remember how “Lacey” wouldn’t stop giving out flyers of Shane on the first season of TLW, and how Shane wouldn’t enter a room without making a girl cry?

    This story is basically a real life article of Shane and Lacey’s relationship 10 years later, if they had married and had twins together.

  18. I have loved melissa forever, but I am seeing now that she has a pattern….it sucks. I will always love her music, but I really do not like the kind of woman this is making her out to be.
    Team Tammy here.

  19. Imagine if its true what Tammy said about one of her kids telling her, and they should’ve shut the bedroom door!, like WTF. What did that poor kid see and how much???. If it was anyone else, Children’s Services would be knocking!!. Poor kids…

  20. Eventually we all find out the truth, and sadly Melissa’s colors are showing. Melissa has the power and the people to make Tammy feel irrational, stupid. But we can read between the lines. Tammy may feel powerless, and the only way to let people know is by blogging. I love Melissa’s music, but I’ve lost respect for her now. Does she not remember who was there for her when she was riddled in cancer? I understand you fall out of love, but she should have given Tammy the respect to break up with her properly before sleeping with this Linda woman.

  21. I came out the year Lucky was released. Found every CD she ever made. I have to tell you her music speaks to my soul. It’s like there is always a song, a lyric, that is meant for me. I also have to say that at first when I heard of the breakup I was still feeling “Team Melissa”. But then I read about her dating Linda. I remember hearing Melissa mention her at the Palm Springs concert. Then I read Tammy’s blog. Ya, it is a bit hard to read at times, but then I got a whole different viewpoint. One that helps explain the hurt that Tammy had expressed in previous months. There are definately two sides to every story. As a bonefied rock star Meliisa has the means of “producing” a breakup that puts her in the best light. Their breakup is certainly no one’s business. But there are breakups in Hollywood that don’t garner the attention. That’s becasue the parties are resolved to be “adult” during the trying time. They both deserve to be happy. There had to be a better way tp break up..But loves makes us a bit nutty at times, sometimes a bit irrational. MAybe that’s what happened to Melissa. Who knows. I just know that although I so want to be on Melissa’s side…I’m leaning more towards Team Tammy.

  22. Yes, I have been busy deleting all my Etheridge’s music from my iPod!! I admit it. :))) I am Team Tammy, I can’t help it.

  23. Melissa Etheridge can’t play, can’t dance, can’t sing, so who would waste their time caring what the hell she says, or does. Bottom line, She has 2 types of rhythms, slow and less slow, 2 kinds of songs, bad and less bad. Her band is sorry, her producer is a loser, and is the brilliance behind such talent like Ashley Simpson. Melissa Etheridge is one of the worst concerts Ive seen, right up there with the Indigo Girls, and R.E.M. Awful

    On the gossip drama, anyone that’s dumb enough to get involved with her, deserves her. Lets hope she retires soon.
    Talk about more relevant issues. Maybe welfare will step in for the safety of her children.

    • I’m confused, Amy. How do you REALLY feel about Melissa? I like your emotion and intensity. Speak True, girlfriend! You certainly are entitled to your opinion.

  24. Ok, so people are human and we all have a path to walk to get to where we are going…..Melissa & Tammy obviously have things they are going to have to “grow through”

    I am EXTREEEEEMLY disappointed that (and especially if this has been going on for a while) Melissa is “poster child” for the “Say I Do Mr President” campaign. I mean let’s face it as women we have to work twice as hard to get half the pay in the work force, I think it just goes to say that as the LGBT community we are going to have to be twice as squeaky clean to get half the rights. Fighting for equality to marry who we want and then spitting in the face of that “right” is going to get us NO WHERE! The right wing majority will use this example and any others they can get their hands on to say that we don’t *really* want to be married/monogamous.
    Jus’ sayin’

Comments are closed.