Yeah, things got a bit messy after Melissa Etheridge announced she was separating from her wife of six years (and mother to their twins, Johnnie and Steven, 4), Tammy Lynn Michaels, in April. Michaels has not quit blogging about Melissa's alleged misdeeds, including leaving her without paying child support.
So of course, what Melissa thought of all this was on my mind when I caught up with the breast cancer survivor last week to discuss "I Run For Life," a live duet with American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox, which she recorded for Hard Rock International’s "Pinktober" campaign, benefiting the Breast Cancer Research foundation. Read on to hear what she had to say about the single — and being single! — and visit hardrock.com for more on the initiative. You can also buy the song here.
UsMagazine.com: Tell me why you decided to get involved and also to duet with Crystal Bowersox?
Melissa Etheridge: I was actually diagnosed with breast cancer in October six years ago, so every October is a little crazy for me. I realized that I would like to say something in October and I would like to be part of the breast cancer prevention world. I could do something every day if I wanted to, but I just picked one thing to hang my hat on. I like the Hard Rock and the Breast Cancer Research Fund because so much goes straight to the researchers, and I have a hard time with some of this big corporatizing of cancer, so I try to steer my hopes and funds to those that are just really on the front line doing the work.
US: And you're in remission?
ME: Yeah, remission, depends on what you want to call it. I'm kind of the crazy girl that has that look of cancer, which is a symptom of a life out of balance. Cancer was a gift, as far as I'm concerned, and I have been cancer-free since they took the cancer out of me, six years ago. So, yes I am perfectly fine.
US: Can you clarify how you consider it a gift? That's an interesting way to look at it.
ME: When I discovered my cancer, I really took a look inside myself and tried to figure out what cancer was. My understanding of the human body and health is that cells go bad when the body is too acidic, and an acidic body comes from being out of balance with your pH. That unbalance comes from diet, stress and acidic behaviors such as, smoking, drinking, and living on the edge. The cancer helped me focus and balance my life, and have less of an acidic lifestyle.
US: So did you totally stop drinking?
ME: I didn't totally stop drinking, I stopped drinking weekly. I didn't totally stop anything because that can also be a stressful behavior — to all of a sudden become a person who doesn't do anything. That doesn't help you. It's getting in tune with what you love and then understanding why you love it. But I don't NOT do anything.
US: So tell me about the song. Is the song particularly about your experience with breast cancer?
ME: It was one of the first songs I wrote after the whole experience. I realized that people were wanting to know my experience, they were looking to me, they did know that I was a famous person who had been through this. Ford asked me to write a song for their Race For The Cure, and I didn't want to just write a "Ford Race For the Cure song" So I decided, this is an opportunity for me to write about my experience, my fears, my hopes, my plans, and to really put that energy in it. That's what "I Run For Life" is.
US: So why Crystal, and how did that come to be?
ME: I don't watch American Idol but my kids love to, and I remember they stopped the tape one weekend and came in and said, "Mom, come look at this!" They showed Crystal's audition tape, and they said, "Is that your autograph on her guitar?" Then I said, "Indeed that is!" They were big fans of hers, so I got interested in Crystal, who was a lot like me. When I did Dancing With The Stars, I popped up and visited all the Idol finalists and I met her. I sort of kept in touch with her and we became friends. I just felt like I need to mentor her. This entertainment world can just chew people up and spit them out, and it's a very disposable five-minute business. I felt that she was a sincere singer/songwriter that had a dream and wanted to present her work to the world.
US: So being a survivor of breast cancer, have you spoken to other celebrity survivors, like Sheryl Crow? Have you made friends with them, and has there been a support group in that sense?
ME: Well, I wouldn't say we meet every month, but there's definitely a sorority, a sisterhood. You meet them because it's a unique experience that you go through. I definitely have talked to these women. I tend to be the one that they call, when something happens.
US: Yeah, they absolutely do. So what else is going on? I know you had the last album, which was so incredible. Can I just ask you what went into that?
ME: Well it's the same sort of journey, Fearless Love. Since my breast cancer, I've dedicated myself to be fearless, in my writing, performing and recording. I made a vow to myself, that I would create music that I love and that came from my heart. That's what Fearless Love is, and the songs come straight from my personal experience.
US: How is single life and being a single mom?
ME: I share custody of my twins. I love them, and when I have them it's incredible. But I'm fortunate to have lots of good help, and my big kids help all the time. So there are times when I have four kids in the house and I want to pull my hair out, but it's fine, I have no complaints. I'm certainly very, very happy.
US: Have you jumped into dating again?
ME: Have I jumped into dating? Suffice it to say, I am a very happy woman. Yes.
US: Tammy has been making a lot of accusations about you on her blog. Thoughts?
ME: Well, all is fair in love and war! A woman is always entitled to speak her mind, and that's the way she speaks her mind.
US: Is what she is saying true about you cutting her off from money?
ME: No, it's not. It's always one person's perspective, and one person's perspective through hurt and fear, and anger. You're going to get a pretty dark picture. We're working things out, how about that?
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