Crosby, who died Wednesday at the age of 81 following a long illness, was the sperm donor father of two of Etheridge’s four children.
“I will forever be grateful to him, [son] Django, and [wife} Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come,” Etheridge, an Oscar and Grammy winner, wrote in a touching tribute on Instagram with a photo of the two of them. “A true treasure,” she added.
The rock legend of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was the sperm donor for Etheridge’s daughter Bailey Jean Cypher (born in 1997) and son Beckett Cypher (1998) with her former partner, filmmaker Julie Cypher.
Etheridge and Cypher kept the identity of the children’s biological father secret for years. The couple revealed his identity in a tell-all 2000 interview with Rolling Stone.
Etheridge said she and Cypher met up with friends Crosby and his wife, Jan, during a vacation in Hawaii, and the subject of children came up. Etheridge and Cypher talked of their desire to have children with a sperm donor. “And Jan said, ‘What about David?’” Etheridge told the magazine.
It “came from her, which was the best, most perfect way,” Etheridge recalled. It was important Crosby was “musical,” and that he had “his own life ... his own family,” she said.
Crosby said he didn’t hesitate.
“Melissa and Julie are good people,” he told Rolling Stone. “Nice set of values, they’re funnier than shit, and they’ve got courage. All rare stuff. You could see that they were in love with each other.”
Beckett died in 2020 at the age of 21. His death was due to opioid addiction, Etheridge said in a statement at the time.
Etheridge and partner Tammy Lynn Michaels also have 16-year-old twins, son Miller Steven and daughter Johnnie Rose Etheridge.
Legendary rocker Neil Young also paid tribute on Saturday to his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate.
“David is gone, but his music lives on. The soul of CSNY, David’s voice and energy were at the heart of our band,” he said in a statement on his website.
“His great songs stood for what we believed in, and it was always fun and exciting when we got to play together,” he added. “My heart goes out to Jan and Django, his wife and son. Lots of love to you. Thanks David for your spirit and songs, Love you man. I remember the best times! neil.”