Melissa Etheridge’s settlement with Tammy Lynn: $23k/mo & 50% of royalties

In the Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels divorce battle, I’m not on any particular side. I followed their split closely, and I ended up concluding that both of them were unlikable. Melissa cheated on Tammy when she was home raising their twins, having given up her career to become a stay at home mom. Tammy aired their dirty laundry on the Internet, including some details about how Melissa had dildos delivered to her by mistake that were meant for her new lover. It was messy and ugly, and there were bad parenting allegations to follow. The last we heard in this story, Tammy was asking for more than the $23,000 a month in child and spousal support that Melissa was giving her under court order. It sounded greedy to many of you, although given Melissa’s massive income Tammy was legally entitled to ask for more.

Both parties have reached a settlement, according to TMZ. Tammy’s support will remain at $23k a month, and she’ll get half of all royalties from one of Melissa’s albums, written during the eight years they were together, The Awakening, as well as half the royalties from a bunch of other songs. They will share 50/50 custody of their five and a half year-old twins: daughter Johnnie Rose and son Miller Steven. Here’s more:

We’ve just obtained the settlement agreement between former domestic partners Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels, and get this … Tammy has a piece of Melissa’s music.

Under the agreement, Tammy gets 50% of the royalties from the album, The Awakening. Tammy also gets 50% from the songs, A Simple Love, All There Is, All We Can Really Do, An Unexpected Rain, California, God Is in the People, Heroes and Friends, Imagine That, I’ve Loved You Before, Map of the Stars, Message to Myself, Open Your Mind, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Universe Listened, Threesome, and What Happens Tomorrow.

As we previously reported, the settlement requires Melissa to pay Tammy $13,000 in monthly spousal support and $10,000 a month in child support. They have agreed to joint custody.

Melissa gets to keep some property in Springdale, Arizona and Hidden Hills, California. She also gets some property in Arkansas.

[From TMZ]

I tried to read Tammy Lynn’s blog to see what she would say about this, and it just made my head spin. There’s a long entry where she explains how great her career was before she hooked up with Melissa, and another where she writes a poem about making ends meet or something. She also explains the incident where she accidentally burned one of her kids with a cigarette, which Melissa revealed during the custody battle.

As for the royalties from Melissa’s music: will that amount to a lot of money? I mean, a lot of money for you and me, not for these people who can’t live on $23k a month. From what I understand of the music industry, they really gouge artists.

These photos are from 2002 – 2005. Credit: PRphotos

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

54 Responses to “Melissa Etheridge’s settlement with Tammy Lynn: $23k/mo & 50% of royalties”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. the original bellaluna says:

    Melissa’s been “tha biz” long enough that she’s probably not getting very gauged anymore.

    I find them both unlikable, which is really unfortunate, because I used to LOVE Melissa’s songs and Tammy was hysterical as that high school bitch on that one show.

    (I can’t read her blog either – it’s too confuzzling to my very literal, grammatical brain.)

    • LeeLoo says:

      I gave myself a migraine trying to read Tammy’s blog. I remember Tammy in that show, which one was it Freaks and Geeks? I can’t remember the name of it.

      I used to like Melissa and Tammy too. It seems all the celebrities I used to admire have become so unlikable. And all the newer actors and actresses suck.

      Btw, how’s the hand? I read that you injured it last night.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        No, it was another show. But I’m glad I’m not the only who remembers! 🙂

        It’s…broken, I think (no ins). And it’s my middle right finger, which seriously effecting my WPM and spelling! Plus, now that it’s all emcased in stuff, I’m always giving people the bird. (And what I wouldn’t give for a Vicoden or a Percocet right now!)

      • The.princess.leia says:

        Popular! I loved that show.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        Thank you, princess leia! I did too. (I was older than their target audience, I think, but I enjoyed it.)

      • LeeLoo says:

        That’s the one. There were so many high school shows around that time.

    • Maguita says:

      What is of note here are the 50% of royalties:

      It explains that Tammy had written most of Melissa’s notable songs and had a big hand in album process production. Which when you take it all in, delineates the fact that Melissa’s comeback after battling cancer (with Tammy’s constant support), is in a very big part owed to Tammy’s talent for song-writing!

      What bothered me at the time though, is how Melissa cut off Tammy completely of any financial support, as well as their children, disregarding their well-being.

      I believe Tammy had to wait quite a few months before getting Melissa to pay any support under legal obligations. Found it quite asinine of Melissa.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        I think that bothered all of us, Maguita. Especially those of us who’ve been in that position before.

      • holly hobby says:

        No what was disappointing was Melissa going to court to say that Tammy doesn’t get support because they weren’t “legally married.” I’m sorry but you can’t have it both ways. If you want marriage then you are going to have to go through the whole community process in a divorce – if that ever comes to pass.

      • claire says:

        I’m really shocked by that part. I didn’t realize Tammy was involved in the songwriting. I think Tammy has acted a big nuts, and I have no respect for the way Melissa treats the women in her life, but sounds like Tammy is finally getting the financial resolution she wanted, so good for her. Maybe now she can put all that stress behind her and get her sh*t together.

      • Maguita says:

        @bellaluna, hope the assholistic ex is out of the picture for good. And yes, whether rich or poor, the parent at home taking care of the kids seems to always get the shorter end of a retributive stick, with slow judicial reactive support to boot.

        Good point @holly hobby, by her own actions, Melissa did the GLBT cause for equal rights a great disservice, by denying her marital responsibility, for all intents and purposes, within a binding committed relationship.

        @Claire, I truly wish that Tammy comes on top in the long run for this one. Would rather not hear that she has truly lost it, and that over-verbiage was a fluke caused by heartbreak.

      • TexasTexasTexad says:

        Yes, she was cut off for a while.

        Tammy WAS a very good actress and hopefully she will be again.

        I would probably talk about dildos being delivered, too. It’s just too hurtful at that point. Children involved, have an ounce of integrity and separate before starting a new relationship.

  2. LeeLoo says:

    This whole situation made me realize that Melissa is a hypocrite. She’s long been a proponent for gay marriage but then when she leaves her partner she hides behind the fact the marriage was never legal as a reason to refuse to pay spousal support. She can’t have her cake and eat it too.

    I used to respect Melissa but not anymore. Not that I have a lot of respect for Tammy either. The only losers are the kids.

    • Ellie says:


      Thank you, I completely agree. Poor kids.

    • eileen says:

      So agree on this. Deal Mellisa! You get to marry, you get to deal with the ugliness of divorce and the consequenses for F’ing others while married.
      Yes Tammy is mental, but Melissa should have seperated legally or divorced her before stepping out of the marriage and hurting her children.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        Isn’t this Melissa’s MO though? I mean, didn’t she cheat on her previous kids’ mom, too? (That one dude’s ex-wife – he was in La Bamba & on an ep of SVU.)

        Seems to me she’s left a trail of children in her destructive wake.

      • LeeLoo says:

        Lou Diamond Phillips. I always liked that guy. And yes, I think she cheated on Julie with Tammy (don’t quote me on that part) although Melissa was able to keep it hush hush at the time. The messed up part is that Melissa and Tammy had lived next door to Julie for the longest time. I remember reading that part.

        Cheaters come in all shapes, sizes, genders and sexual orientation.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        Yes, LeeLoo – That was part of Melissa & Julie’s agreement, to live next door to each other!

  3. ruby says:

    Sorry to be so completely ignorant but which is which on the photos ? ?

  4. Amanda G says:

    I’m surprised Melissa even has that much money. Has she had a hit in the last 15 years?

  5. Rita says:

    While I used to enjoy Melissa’s music, I’ve no use for her now. She betrayed her relationship, her promise, and revealed she is little more than a self centered bitch.

    To behave as she has indicates to me that Melissa is void of most of the characteristics that make people worthwhile.

    • TXCinderella says:

      Melissa’s true color have risen to the surface. How could anyone treat their kids like that refusing to support them unless it was court ordered? I know people do it all the time because they think they are punishing the ex, but in reality it hurts the kids. People that do that are just scumbags.

    • Vicky says:


  6. Cinderella says:

    Tammy is going to have to go easy on her now. The less people like Melissa, the fewer records of hers they will buy.

    Gotta protect the bottom line, Tammy.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      ^THIS^ Time to retire that blog, Tammy, and stop tweeting. It’s not just YOUR bottom line, it’s your children’s too.

  7. DreamyK says:

    I wonder if Melissa regrets “accidentally” sending Tammy that Box of Dicks and hooking up with Tammy’s best friend.

    Tammy? Move on, girl. You’re pulling in a quarter of a million a year plus whatever the royalties are on Melissa’s dime. Go buy your own Box of Dicks and stop whining. No one of quality wants to date a shrew who lays peoples sh*t bare on the internet. Not attractive.

    • TXCinderella says:

      Yes Tammy, move on and realize that it’s all about the kids. Focus on their well-being and being a more positive person yourself. Don’t waste your time crying over trash.

    • Dap says:

      Yes, that was a passive-aggressive masterpiece

    • Sassy says:

      Help me with the logic on this, please. These are lesbian women who don’t like sex with men, yet they are purchasing male dildos for their own use for pleasure? Also, if you want to play grown up with marriage vows and children you have to also play by the divorce court rules, ladies.

  8. Julie says:

    that money sounds much but if she got cheated on she better make her pay big time.

  9. Jayna says:

    Both are no catch. Melissa self-absorbed, narcissistic. Tammy has a martyr complex and is a huge whiner. Those two being married with Melissa touring were a recipe for disaster. Calling home and listening to Tammy whine and complain and play the martyr is probably what sent self-absorbed, all-about-me Melissa on to the next woman.

  10. Liz says:

    Good, now maybe Tammy Lynn will shut the eff up and quit it with her “poems” and blogs.

  11. stinky says:

    i like it when folks who honor their libido over the promises they make & the and families they create get taken to the cleaners. is that wrong?-?

    • gg says:

      I just find it really sad when rich famous people go to lengths to have children, usually twins, and in the case of gay couples, have to go through a set of hoops to get a donor zygote, and then they stay together for a few measly more years, and then split.

      You’d think going through all this would make somebody think, “hm, do I really want to stay with my partner for the rest of these precious kids’ lives, really?” And then, I dunno, not cheat? Is that too much to ask for the sake of your very young children?????

  12. gg says:

    Writers don’t get gouged by anybody. Royalties are royalties, paid by her publishing company, not record label BS. This is worth a serious, and ongoing, chunk of change.

  13. Newtsgal says:

    $23,000+ a month!!!
    Heck, I could live off the interest alone.

  14. bored says:

    Yikes that blog is painful to read. 23000 is not as much as you think with the lifestyle those kids are no doubt used to. These people just have no class at all though. Everything out ni public like that.

  15. Aubra says:

    I didn’t know she wrote some songs! DAMN!!! Get money b*tch…GET MONEY! LMAO

  16. Mel says:

    Given the vast number of people have to live on 23k A YEAR or even less I just think they should both STFU and get on with their lives.

  17. dragonlady sakura says:

    Wah! Wah! I can’t live off $23k a month?! Bitch, please! I wish I even had that amount of money in my bank account. Regular folks working their butts off to pay the bills would laugh in these ladies faces.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      While I know that people all over the country struggle to live on that per year, you (nor I, frankly) have any concept of the whole “lifestyle to which they’ve been accustomed.” And in Cali, that’s a “thing.”

      So if the kids/spouse are used to drinking virgin penguin tears from diamond encrusted glasses, the chief earner is required to provide the same lifestyle for them.

      The amount of support is ridiculous, as is the lifestyle. To us normal folk, that is. 😉

      • milnem says:

        I live in Cali….23,000, is not even close to what the average person makes monthly. I make really good money and it is not close to that. I am sorry for Tammy’s pain, and I’m sure Melissa has hers as well, but that is really a lot of money. I think complaining to the public is in poor taste.
        Just Sayin

      • the original bellaluna says:

        milnem – That’s why I wrote what I wrote. I’m a SoCali transplant to NoCali, and I’d be hard-pressed to show you anyone (outside of the rich & famous) who makes that much per month. $3200 PER MONTH is good money in Cali!

        But my Mum is in family law, and you’d be SHOCKED at some of the sh!t people get.

  18. lucy2 says:

    I’m surprised by the royalties, but if Tammy was a part of the album, then it’s deserved. Though I can’t imagine it produces that much income.
    $23K a month should provide a very nice life and future for those kids. I hope Tammy uses it wisely, and stops airing the dirty laundry.

    • Mcflyer28 says:

      Actually it doesn’t really matter if Tammy was part of the album or not it was created while they were together and is considered joint earnings. Mellisa did her job outside the home while Tammy did her job in the home. It’s just like a divorce ruling and exactly as it should be. However, royalties generated on an album that old won’t be much even for common folks like us.

  19. Terri says:

    The show was “Popular”,

    $23,000 a month is $276,000 per year. Oh please let me suffer with that…

  20. mayamae says:

    I don’t have a horse in this race. I think Tammy should get what she would if Melissa was named John. True equality.

  21. MB says:

    Am I crazy or does Tammy look quite a bit like Kendra Wilkinson? They look like they could be sisters.

  22. ezra says:

    Hurray! So happy for Tammy!!
    Now pay up you selfish mean bitch!!!

  23. Mcflyer28 says:

    Advice to Tammy. Learn to live on a lot less than 23K and bank the rest. Mellissa’s money making days aren’t gonna last forever and went the funds run out so will the support. Do yourself, and your kids, a favor and put some cash back for everyone’s future- you won’t be sorry.

  24. Michelle says:

    If Tammy can’t make it on $23,000 a month, something is wrong with her. What is she bitching about? Claiming to be so broke. Bitch please.