After refusing to comment on years of public speculation, the Grammy-winning lesbian rocker and her partner, Julie Cypher, tell Rolling Stone magazine that music veteran David Crosby is the biological father of their two children.
"We just got so tired of this secret," Etheridge told the magazine. "It wears you out. And keeping this big secret goes against how we are choosing to live our lives--very openly."
The couple, their children, Crosby and his wife (who recommended the procedure) all appear on the magazine's cover this month.
"Maybe it's a good thing for a lot of straight families to see that this is not something strange," says Crosby, whom Etheridge selected for his Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-proven rock prowess (if not his doughy physique).
"He's musical, which means a lot to me," she says, shooting down paternity rumors ranging from Brad Pitt to Bruce Springsteen.
"No kitchen implements were involved," joked 35-year-old Cypher, who was once married to La Bamba star Lou Diamond Phillips. Cypher was inseminated with Crosby's sperm, she tells the magazine.
The couple have been together for nearly 10 years and have two children--Bailey, 3, and Beckett, 1--each borne by Cypher. They said they decided to go public because they were sick of questions and wanted to live an open life.
The multiplatinum-selling Etheridge, 38, came out in a big way at a gay ball as part of Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. Her last three albums, October's Breakdown, 1995's Your Little Secret and 1993's Yes I Am featured songs addressing her sexuality. Her big hits include "Like the Way I Do," "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One."
Crosby, who has four children of his own, was not present at either child's birth and assumes no parental duties, Etheridge reveals. He reteamed with Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young last fall for a new album in October and will be making the concert circuit this year.
The magazine hits newsstands Friday.