Remembering Family

Melissa Etheridge Mourns The Loss Of Her Kids’ Sperm Donor Dad David Crosby

The "I'm the Only One" singer took to Instagram to honor the legendary Crosby, Stills & Nash musician, who passed away at the age of 81 on Jan. 18.

David Crosby and Melissa Etheridge during 1995 MTV Rock the Vote. Etheridge honored the late rocker,...
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Melissa Etheridge is remembering late rocker David Crosby not just for his legendary contribution to music, but for another legacy as well: being a sperm donor and giving Etheridge the gift of two children.

Etheridge took to Instagram on Friday to grieve the loss of Crosby, who passed away two days earlier at the age of 81 after a prolonged battle with an unnamed illness.

“I am grieving the loss of my friend, and Bailey’s and Beckett’s biological father, David,” Etheridge captioned a photo of her alongside the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash co-founder. “ He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him, [his son] Django, and [his wife] Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”

The “I’m the Only One” singer’s two elder children, Bailey, 25, and Beckett, who died from an opioid addiction at the age of 21 in 2020, were biologically fathered by Crosby. Etheridge and Crosby did not know each other super well when she and her partner at the time Julie Cypher were discussing family planning. The then-couple happened to be vacationing in Hawaii at the same time Crosby and his wife were, and things fell into place.

"I had not worked with him. I'd been on the same stage with him, had done some benefits, admired him greatly,” Etheridge said on Larry King Live in 2000, per People.

"We stopped by the place they were staying, and we were hacking out on the back porch, and their 8-month-old son was there and sleeping on Jan's chest," Cypher explained. "We were talking about having children and how we were going to do it, and it just came out of Jan's mouth. She's the one that volunteered David. She said, 'What about David?'"

"We hadn't been extremely close friends of Julie and Melissa's," Crosby told King at the time. "But I think by now, just from hanging out from them, you can see very clearly, very quickly who they are, and they're good people, and they made us feel that very quickly and very easily, and I liked them from the first time I met them."

Bailey was born in 1997 and Beckett was born in 1998, and it wasn’t until 2000 that Etheridge and Cypher, made their children’s biological father’s identity public. Crosby approved of the mothers’ decision to do so.

"They gave a very good reason for going public with it, and I agree with it completely," he told King. "Jan and I wanted to cooperate with Julie and Melissa and their wishes on this. And, you know, obviously, I am very proud of it."

Before talking to Crosby, Etheridge and Cypher had considered other famous friends as a sperm donor, including Brad Pitt. But Pitt’s plans to eventually have a family of his own deterred the two from going with him.

"I looked and I saw how badly he wanted children and I thought, 'I don't want to share this with someone who really, badly wants children because my children don't need another parent — they have two,'" Etheridge explained in an interview with Australia’s Studio 10 back in 2016.

"It's one of the reasons why David Crosby and his wife are so perfect — because they already had children," she said. "They were looking to do this as a gift."