The 45-year-old "Come To My Window" singer's rep confirmed the news to People early this morning, which was soon followed by this joint statement: "We ask for consideration and respect for our family as we go through this difficult period."
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Whatever your stance on gay marriage, you would have to have a heart two sizes too small not to feel saddened at the demise of this relationship, which started out so hopeful and so full of love.
Said Melissa, "I met Tammy and I thought: This is a person that I want to get up in front of my family, my friends, my community, the world... that I'm completely committed... for better or worse."
And did it she did, exchanging vows with the L-Word actress (née Tammy Lynn Michaels) at Dick Clark's Pacific manse in 2003.
"Any doubts that I had in my childhood about finding happiness just kind of flew away that day, in that moment," said Tammy in the video below.
Tammy, now 35, gave birth to their twin children – son Miller and daughter Johnnie Rose – in 2006, a signal of hope after Etheridge's 2004 breast cancer diagnosis. She was also known to be a supportive step-mother to Etheride's other children, Bailey, 13, and Beckett, 11, from the singer's previous relationship with Julie Cypher.
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Here's Melissa talking about their relationship on Oprah some years ago.