Ellen DeGeneres and Portia take opposite sides in Melissa Etheridge’s custody battle

Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi
This is such an out there story that I think that it’s true, because it would require a very creative gossip monger to make it up. That’s not to say it’s necessarily accurate, just that if it’s made up that I’m giving props to the Enquirer’s Rick Egusquiza for this clever twist of a story.

You’ve probably heard about Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michael’s ongoing custody and partner support case. The latest developments, which you can read here, have Tammy asking for more than the $25k a month support she was getting. A lot of people find that amount outrageous and have called Tammy greedy, but at least one partner of a famous rich woman is on her side. The Enquirer reports that Porti de Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres’ wife, is siding with Tammy and thinks that Melissa is stiffing her on child support. Ellen of course sides with Melissa and feels that Tammy should be living fine on $25k a month. Ellen and Portia have been fighting so much about this, allegedly, that they’ve agreed to no longer bring up the topic. Uhoh, does this mean they’re having problems? (Like just about every other couple?)

Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi are at each other’s throats over their pal Melissa Etheridge’s ugly custody battle with her ex!

The talk-show host has sided with her longtime friend Melissa, sources say, while Portia sympathizes with the rocker’s ex, actress Tammy Lynn Micheals, who’s asked a judge to bump up her support payments.

“Ellen thinks Tammy is crazy and unrealistic for asking for more money,” a close source told The Enquirer. “Meanwhile, Portia thinks Melissa is being stingy with the mother of her kids. Portia feels that she can related to Tammy because she gave up her acting career for Melissa, and Portia pretty much did the same thing for Ellen.

The couple’s bickering escalated when Portia, 39, accused Ellen, 54, of not having any compassion for Tammy, said the source.

“Ellen fired back that there are plenty of divorced moms who get by on a lot less than Tammy does,” said the source. “The bottom line is that Ellen is sticking by Melissa, and Portia is rooting for Tammy. The two rarely fight, but this has completely divided them.

Emmy winner Ellen and Melissa, 50, are longtime friends…

For now, Ellen has called a truce, said the source, adding: “Ellen and Portia agreed to disagree and move on. They also made a pact- no more talk about their friends’ private lives if it affects their own relationship.”

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, May 7, 2012, author Rick Equsquiza]

I believe this. I can see Portia siding with Tammy because if we were talking about a straight married couple, especially in California, there would be no question about Tammy receiving half of Melissa’s income during their marriage along with substantial spousal and child support. Ellen, as the richer half of the couple, sees it differently of course. It’s her money, she earned it.

The Enquirer pointed me to this interview that Tammy Lynn Michaels recently did with AfterElton.com. It’s from a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t seen it yet. Tammy defends her blogging about her split, and she says she doesn’t regret sharing the detail that she was tipped off to Melissa’s cheating when a box of dildos intended for Melissa and her girlfriend got delivered to her by mistake. I still think Tammy Lynn is an a-hole, just like Melissa. This interview didn’t change my opinion of her. I don’t feel that way about Ellen and Portia at all and I hope if they ever split they’ll keep the details under wraps. Hopefully things are fine with them, though. They just bought Brad Pitt’s Malibu mansion earlier this year.

Ellen Degeneres and Portia

Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels

Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels

Ellen and Portia are shown on 1-5-11 at a Covergirl event. Melissa and Tammy are shown in 2007. Credit: WENN.com

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41 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres and Portia take opposite sides in Melissa Etheridge’s custody battle”

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  1. mln76 says:

    The only thing is Portia didn’t ‘give up her career’ for Ellen. She still works pretty steadily. I don’t see why NE would bother making up a story about them and I could see Portia identifying more with Tammy. I think Tammy is immature but Melissa is worse in this situation.

    • Maguita says:

      Touchy question:

      Why do some gay women feel the need to act like assholes when ending a marriage/long-term serious relationship?

      Melissa Ethridge, Jodie Foster, Chaz Bono (yes, he’s in the process of getting the tools to make him even a bigger asshole), Rosie O’Donnell, etc.

      They cheat on their wives like a man.
      They sneakily try for a cheap divorce like a man.
      And most disappointingly, they hold the threat of limited income in order to get what they want from the divorce, just like an assholistic man.

      Yeah, Tammy took Melissa’s shitty behavior publicly. She told the world that Melissa not only didn’t care that her children did not have enough money for food, and that their mother was struggling to pay the bills because her legally-binding partner had emptied all their joined accounts, in order to live freely her new found-love life with someone else. Good for her. She Took Melissa’s cheating ass to task, and forced her publicly to do what is right. What is legally binding when you enter a marriage.

      And may I remind Melissa that Tammy was there when she was struggling with cancer?

      Doesn’t Melissa’s actions remind you of one Michael C. Hall? An asshole.

      Where’s my Coffee?!!!!

      • mln76 says:

        agreed 110% it was so disappointing when Melissa E made a point to say they weren’t legally married so she shouldn’t have to support Tammy WTF a domestic partnership doesn’t count?

      • Lexi says:

        And don’t forget Martina Navratilova!

      • Maguita says:

        @Lexi, that was the one I was looking for! Thanks!

        Which makes me wonder, is loving a woman automatically gives you licence to act like a misogynist asshole? No matter your gender?

      • Flim says:

        Your question has a simple answer: assholes come in two differen flavors–male, and female.

      • Beatriz says:


      • D1 says:

        Why wouldn’t some gay women treat their partners badly? Gay women are humans, and humans often act like jerks during break-ups. Your question seems to assume that lesbians are, or should be, morally superior to heterosexuals.

        The real question is “in gay and straight relationships, why does the person with the most money, power, & social standing so often feel the need to act like an asshole when ending a marriage/long-term serious relationship?”

        This isn’t about gender or sexual preference.

      • Maguita says:

        @D1, because as women, having dealt with harassment and assholes most of our lives, you would think when in love with another woman who had to deal with the same shit as well, you would be treated with some kind of respect, even when a relationship ends.

        For centuries we have been made to be currency when entering marriage agreements. And whenever a man wanted out of a marriage, whatever legal or religious codes standing in his way, he was able to bend them, often with said legal and religious codes bending to accommodate him. While the woman is left with the shame of being dumped, often times, without means to take care of herself.

        You would think after all this time, a gay woman would not act like any self-serving asshole.

        And isn’t it why some women find comfort in lesbian lovers? Because they were tired of the shit they’ve had from past male partners, and would rather be in a loving relationship with someone who understands and supports them?

        But before you jump the gun, understand that I am not saying that for most women being gay is a choice, but rather for the women who can choose, they’d rather go for the safety of someone who understands, and is supposed to behave differently than any misogynist pig.

      • Karma says:

        Great question! And I’ve wondered the same for all the reasons you listed.

        Those ladies have lost some of their star power as a result.

      • Maguita says:

        @Karma, how very true! Many-many men with same assholistic behavior however, never lost THEIR star power!

        Meaning, however much your misogynist behavior, if you are a woman, at the end, you will still be punished as a woman, no matter your “manly” treatment of your ex-wife..?

      • D1 says:


        Let me rephrase your comment:

        Touchy question: Why are heterosexual women so mean to each other?

        Women have for centuries dealt with having their beauty, youth, sexual purity, & marital status be used as the primary determinants of their value as people.

        Heterosexual women were far more likely than heterosexual men to be shamed & policed for their sexual behavior. Being unmarried and/or childless was shameful & a mark of failure. They faced more consequences than men if they failed to conform to their society’s standard of beauty. “Good mothers” were held to a far higher standard than “good fathers”.

        So, according to your argument, women would never call fellow women sluts. They would never judge other women on whether they’ve been able to catch/keep a man, rip apart other women’s looks, cruelly comment on visible signs of aging in other women, or denigrate mothers with high-powered careers.

        Of course, many women & girls engage in all these behaviors quite often & quite enthusiastically. You see it constantly, each and every day, on this website alone.

        So, if women are demonstrably capable of perpetuating misogyny despite having been the target of misogyny themselves, I again have to ask you: why on Earth should lesbians be exceptions?

        They grew up in the same sexist society men & heterosexual women did – do you think that lesbians have some kind of special DNA that keeps them from internalizing their own society’s values?

  2. marybeth18 says:

    Portia was much more successful than Tammy was as an actress. Portia was a major character on two long running sitcoms (Ally McBeal and Arrested Development) as well as other shows that didn’t get a second season (Better Off Ted). I think Tammy was on one show that I didn’t see and then guest starred on an episode of The L Word.
    My point being that Portia probably came into her relationship with a lot more money than Tammy did. Not nearly as much as Ellen, and not nearly as much as Ellen has now, but Portia probably had a few million of her own.

  3. Dawn says:

    You know I think that this is off base. First of all as a couple they are really private people, oh yeah they drop each other’s name BUT they don’t put it out there for everyone to examine. And that’s a good thing. I like both of them (Portia and Ellen) and although they most likely have their opinions on this I don’t think either would air them publicly. At least I hope not.

  4. someone says:

    love Portia! I just rewatched all 3 seasons of Arrested Development on Netflix and she’s awesome on that show

    • michkabibbles says:

      you should watch better off ted. it’s available on netflix instant. she’s hilarious in it.

  5. T.C. says:

    Lost all respect for Melissa E. never knew all this back story. What a way to treat the mother of your children.

  6. annabelle says:


    i’m not buying this one. neither of these women strike me as the kind who would let another couples drama tinge their world in such a negative way. they seem to grounded and groovy.

    what do i know though, i’m just a fan.

  7. JustJen says:

    Have you never been cheated on? Honest question because when I read that interview, as the victim of a cheater, I sense very similar emotion to what I’ve been going through. She doesn’t come across as an a–hole, she just sounds like someone who’s been wronged, in many ways, by the person she put her faith and trust into.

    And I’m amazed that you don’t sympathize with someone who found out that their partner was cheating from their child. Seriously? Imagine that for a second. Melissa didn’t just violate TLM’s trust, she messed with her child.

    TLM can do just about anything in my book and I’d forgive.

  8. Justaposter says:

    I buy it.

    Melissa like Ellen makes more.

    Portia, famous in her own right, doesn’t have the “clout” as Ellen like Tammy.

    This will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.

    Haven’t there been whispers about Portia and Ellen not being ‘oh so happy’ floating around lately?

  9. mymy says:

    It’s a very complicated situation. You agree as a couple to marry(which should mean for life)One of people needs to be supported by monetary means. So that one of the persons can devote their time to the other person and the kids.You know have a family. Get pregnant,give birth. Hold down the fort when the other one goes off to work. Be the one that gets up in the night etc.You both agree this is what is right for your lifestyle etc.
    One of the people decides she wants someone else. Your kids are still small. You have not worked and you have been betrayed by the very person you gave everything up for.Now you have kids acting out because the family is no more. You need to spend more time with them helping them through it all.
    But it gets very hard when the other person who cheated just wants you to live a smaller life. while they continue on in the style they knew.
    One thing about expecting a stay at home mom to get over it and not ask for equal compensation according to the lifestyle you had. Is that no woman will feel safe being a stay at home mom. And this is what the powers that be want.It destroys the family or at least it keeps woman in the workforce And it gives the powers that be taxes.
    nonworking mother no taxes. Woman on average earn less than men because of the gaps in their working history. Lesson take only 6 weeks off when having children and get back in the workforce and give the government more tax money. My feelings are preservation of the family. Perhaps people will think twice before getting married if they realize they will have responsibilities if they decide to leave.Hitting Melissa in the purse is logical. The one thing is she did it before so Tammy should never have felt secure enough to start a family with her.And if this story is true then Portia better get some things in writing if she decides to get pregnant.

  10. lucy2 says:

    I kind of feel like NE just picked the most high profile lesbian couple to write about with this story and are just trying to draw non-existent parallels.

    And I agree with mln76, Portia did not give up her acting career, she’s had 3 series since they’ve been together and is going to be working on the new Arrested Development stuff soon (yippee! best show ever!).

  11. ella says:

    Funny, I thought this actually sounded like the most obvious piece of gossip anyone could make up, since there aren’t that many famous lesbian couples.

    “slow news day, hmmm… Melissa Etheridge going through a break up? Oh but OF COURSE that other lesbian couple must have an opinion about it. Let’s think of an angle… Oh, maybe they’ll even fight about it!”

    • Linney says:

      It’s lazy and kind of offensive, actually. NE could do better. I mean, they’ll never be good but they can do better than this.

    • Reece says:

      That’s my thought on this.

      Although I didn’t know all the details about ME. Wow so wrong!

  12. stinky says:

    (i thought i’d read that TLM was only getting $5k a month – not $25k)

  13. Zorbitor says:

    Till Debt do us part

  14. John Wayne Lives says:

    Melissa forever lost me as a fan. Way to be awesome M.E.

  15. JudyK says:

    Can’t believe Ellen’s transformation…I think, lesbian or straight, she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.

    • Sassy says:

      Ellen has had lots of very subtle “work” done, and it does look great. She has never looked this good.

  16. tia says:

    it is kind of crazy because from everything I read and from the lesbian couple friends I have they always have the strongest, healthiest relationships. I think there are always a couple of knuckleheads, but two women in a relationship make for successful, loving, understanding days and nights. However, just like any group there are couples who split up, this is just an example of that and of course you wish them the best. Portia and Ellen and veryyy much in love. I know friends who spend time with them. They wouldn’t let this make them fight to that extreme. Give me a break. They are too smart and strong for that… the press love to report on splits.. too funny…

  17. LeeLoo says:

    I feel for Tammy and I understand her strategy of wanting to hit Melissa in the purse strings. However, she needs to STFU. She can do so quietly without blogging to bringing too much attention to herself. That’s what is causing Tammy to come off badly. She doesn’t need to respond to every piece of negative press about this. She just needs to move on.

    As for Ellen and Portia. I can believe that this is true but 1) I don’t see Ellen and Portia having kids. I just don’t. 2) I can see where Portia is coming from in defending Tammy as she is less of the money maker in this relationship but I think Ellen would treat her way better and I sure don’t think Ellen would cheat on Portia. Didn’t Anne Heche cheat on Ellen?

    • Beatriz says:

      Didn’t Ellen and Portia cheat on their girlfriends when they hooked up? I remember reading somewhere that they were both involved with other people when they got together.

  18. Fue McCormick says:

    I think Ellen and Portia are such an adorable couple! I hope they last forever.

  19. Mr.F. says:

    I don’t think this story is true at all.
    Ellen and Melissa used to be very good friends, but haven’t been as friendly for years now. So I’m sure E&P don’t spend their time gossiping about them. If they did, they wouldn’t fall out over it.
    Also though they are the ones to earn less money in their relationships, I think it is insulting to compare Portia de Rossi to Tammy. She is the star of a new sitcom likely to be out later this year and has done well with her book/previous sitcoms etc.

  20. Cinderella says:

    If P & E did have a debate, it was probably playful banter around a table w/friends and a couple of bottles of wine.

    Team Tammy on this one.

  21. Lorif says:

    Sorry, I can’t stop looking at Portia’s weird face.

  22. skeptical says:

    Tammy should get whatever a straight woman in that position would get. Melisssa said she wanted equality.
    Equal rights = Equal responsibilities!

  23. Alisha says:

    Lets be perfectly clear.. The NE.. Lies about EVERYTHING!
    Ellen and Portia are fine… All smiles.. Hugs.. And just plain cuteness.. Nobody cares about M.E. & Tammy.

  24. LadyinSneakers says:

    I just don’t get why this is anybody’s business.

    The fact that people jump into someone else’s breakup makes it all the more difficult for those in the middle.

    However, I do agree that in general terms, a long term relationship – especially when kids are involved- should be considered equal to marriage, and that a break up between two people regardless of sexual orientation, should be treated equally.