What David Crosby Said About Fathering Melissa Etheridge’s Kids

David Crosby has died at the age of 81, it has been confirmed.

The musician, who was part of the original lineup of The Byrds and went on to form legendary band Crosby, Stills & Nash with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, died following a “long illness,” his family said in a statement.

Crosby was well known for his music but also made headlines in 2000 when opened up during an interview on Larry King Live about being a sperm donor for his friend and fellow musician Melissa Etheridge.

Newsweek has everything you need to know about Crosby fathering Etheridge’s children.

David Crosby and Melissa Etheridge
David Crosby, pictured at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California and Melissa Etheridge, pictured at the 2022 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Jon Kopaloff/Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

David Crosby and Melissa Etheridge’s Kids

Crosby acted as a sperm donor for Etheridge and her former partner Julie Cypher.

The star’s donation, via artificial insemination, gave the former couple their two children; daughter Bailey, now 25, and late son Beckett.

The news first broke in the February 2000 issue of Rolling Stone, but Crosby, Etheridge and Cypher, as well as Crosby’s wife Jan Dance, then appeared on television together for a joint interview to discuss their experience.

During the interview, which aired on Larry King Live, Crosby told the host: “I don’t really think that people should think this is such a big deal. Now I don’t mean by that that I am taking it lightly—anything but. I think it’s a great thing, but I think that people are probably making more out of it than they should.”

Melissa Etheridge and her children
Melissa Etheridge (2nd L) posing with her son Beckett (2nd R), daughter Bailey and mother Edna during her Walk of Fame ceremony held at the Hard Rock cafe in Hollywood on September 27, 2011. Etheridge raised her kids with former partner Julie Cypher but their biological dad is David Crosby.

In the interview the group also discussed how the situation began, revealing that it was actually Crosby’s wife who suggested that he donate the sperm.

Cypher said: “We stopped by the place [Crosby and Dance] were staying, and we were hacking out on the back porch, and their eight-month-old son was there and sleeping on Jan’s chest, and 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?”

Crosby added that the two couples didn’t even know each other that well at the time, saying: “We hadn’t been extremely close friends of Julie and Melissa’s, 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.”

Cypher and Etheridge, who welcomed daughter Bailey Jean Cypher in 1997 and son Beckett in 1998, announced their split in August 2000 after 12 years together.

The couple said they would continue to parent together and their family would “always remain intact.”

David Crosby with his wife and son
David Crosby pictured with his wife Jan and son Django arrive at the premiere of Columbia Picture’s “RV” at the Village Theater on April 23, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Beckett tragically died of causes related to opioid addiction in May 2020 when he was just 21. After news of Beckett’s death broke, Crosby responded to a tweet that claimed he “played no part” in Beckett’s life, simply saying: “Not true.”

Bailey has paid tribute to her biological father on Instagram following his death, thanking him for “the tunes, the dimples, and the love.”

Etheridge also has a daughter and son, fraternal twins who were conceived by an anonymous donor, with former partner Tammy Lynn Michaels. Michaels gave birth to the twins in 2006.

Crosby, meanwhile, had a son, James, and two daughters, Erika and Donovan, from previous relationships. He also shared son Django with his widow.

What Melissa Has Said About David’s Death

Following the news of Crosby’s death, Etheridge took to Instagram to mourn the biological father of her children.

She posted a picture of her and Crosby sitting on a couch together, Crosby with a guitar in hand.

In the emotional caption, Etheridge wrote: “I am grieving the loss of my friend, and Bailey’s and Beckett’s biological father, David. He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him, Django, and Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”

The caption refers to Crosby’s widow Dance, who confirmed her husband’s death in a statement, released to Variety, that read: “It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away. He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django.

“Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music. Peace, love, and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched.

“We will miss him dearly. At this time, we respectfully and kindly ask for privacy as we grieve and try to deal with our profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”

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