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Larry King Live

Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher Discuss Family Matters

Aired January 20, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they've raised eyebrows and issues by revealing the father of their two children. An exclusive live interview with popular rock star Melissa Etheridge and her partner, filmmaker Julie Cypher. The biological father of their kids, rock legend David Crosby, is with us from Cleveland, along with his wife, Jan, and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Julie Cypher has given birth to two children. Bailey is a girl. She's 3 years old. Beckett is the boy. He's 1-year-old. The father, by sperm donation, was David Crosby, the star of Crosby, Stills, Gnash and Young. He's with us in Cleveland. Melissa Etheridge and Julie are partners. Let's go back a little.

How do you two meet?

MELISSA ETHERIDGE, MUSICIAN: We met working. I was doing my first video for my first song for my first album, back in 1988. She was assistant director. We met on the set.

KING: Was this an immediate thing, Julie?


KING: You liked each other right away?


KING: Now you had been married, right?

CYPHER: I had.

KING: So did you consider yourself bisexual?

CYPHER: I would have to, yes.

KING: So were you surprised -- was Melissa the first woman you were attracted to?

CYPHER: She was.

KING: What was that like?

CYPHER: A big surprise, like you said.

KING: Can you tell us what the feeling was like? I guess, you never thought of it, right?

CYPHER: It hadn't really occurred to me, so there was a lot of confusion when it first came around, but I followed my heart. And here we are 12 years later.

KING: So when you were married to another famous person, right -- Louis...

CYPHER: Louis -- Lou Diamond Phillips.

KING: Great star, great in "The King and I," right?


KING: When you were married to him, you never thought these kind of thoughts, you were happily married?

CYPHER: It hadn't really ever occurred to me, no.

KING: And didn't have any children with him?

CYPHER: No, we didn't.

KING: Melissa, were you always attracted to women?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, I would fall under the category of all my life, lifelong lesbian.

CYPHER: Do you remember your first feelings that way and how you dealt with it?

ETHERIDGE: You know, it's funny, you look back, when you finally say, oh, this is what I am, and you look back, and you go, oh yes, when I was 5, it was, you know, my kindergarten teacher, whatever, but the first time that it really, you know, came to my mind, I was 17.

KING: And how did you deal with is it?

ETHERIDGE: Well, I was in Kansas. I was in the Midwest. It was the late '70s.

KING: Unheard of?

ETHERIDGE: Unheard of. I didn't know about it. It was something -- I'm different. I feel OK, but I'm different, and I've got to get out of here. That's basically it.

KING: Did you tell your parents?

ETHERIDGE: I did. I did when I was about 19, yes.

KING: How did they handle it?

ETHERIDGE: They were wonderful. My parents were very supportive. Basically they said we don't understand it, don't know how to help you or not, but if you're happy, that's what we want. KING: You have brothers or sisters, Julie?

CYPHER: I have an older sister.

KING: Straight kind of sister.

CYPHER: That's right, the straight kind.


KING: I don't know any other way to put it. You know, it's a changing world.

Melissa, you have brothers and sisters?

ETHERIDGE: I have a sister, and she is the straight kind, too.

KING: OK. Did you have relationships before Julie?

ETHERIDGE: Sorry -- yes, quite a few.

KING: Quite a few?

ETHERIDGE: I mean, enough.

KING: Is Julie the love of your life?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, yes.

KING: No doubt about it?

ETHERIDGE: No doubt about it.

KING: And you've been together how long now?

ETHERIDGE: Eleven going on 12 years.

KING: Wow. And you call yourself partners. In fact, you made a statement today against this proposed California law to ban, right?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, I did, the no on Knight (ph). It's a serious issue, and I feel very seriously about that issue.

KING: California wants to ban it outright.

ETHERIDGE: Well, there is a representative in California who wants to -- who's putting a bill -- or putting a -- on the voting ballot about banning -- if anything should happen anywhere that says, hey, it's discriminatory to not allow these people the same rights as these do and to go and set us back 20 years of how far we've come.

KING: Do you feel, Julie, married?

CYPHER: I do, very much so.

KING: Now let's get to having a baby. I guess couples like this have to have someone else, right?

CYPHER: That's right.

KING: Who -- how did that decision come about? Who talked to who, and...

CYPHER: We'd been talking about it for a long time, how we wanted to do it, and we were on vacation, and Jan and David Crosby happened to be in Hawaii at the same time, and we got together...

KING: Were you friends with them?

CYPHER: We'd been -- we'd met them prior and had seen them at events and things. We weren't terribly close to them.

KING: You're a different kind of music, Melissa. You'd never worked with David Crosby, had you?

ETHERIDGE: I had not worked with him. I'd been on the same stage with him, had done some benefits, admired him greatly.

KING: So did, like, the four of you go out together -- lunch, dinner, whatever?

CYPHER: 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, 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?

KING: Were you shocked?

CYPHER: Yes I was. I hadn't thought about them. I hadn't -- we had just started the real serious -- maybe this is something we want to do.

KING: Let us now bring in Jan Crosby first. Jan is with David in Cleveland. Jan, why on Earth -- I guess everybody would ask this -- did you offer your husband? There ain't any other way to put it.

JAN CROSBY, DAVID CROSBY'S WIFE: I don't know the answer to that. It just fell out of my lips. You know, it could have something to do with I believe that human beings are, you know, called on to have beings come through them, and they were talking about this, and I had my, you know, 5-month-old son on my chest, and I saw a longing in them and a love, and I knew that it was deep and that it was pure and true.

KING: You hadn't known them a long time, right?

J. CROSBY: No. But I had been...

KING: Kind of like...

J. CROSBY: Pardon?

KING: Go ahead. I'm sorry. It's not like they were lifelong friends?

J. CROSBY: No. That was the oddest thing. It's really hard to describe it in words. It's just that I believe beings call us, and it fell out of my lips, and I trust that.

KING: Now, David, when it fell out of your wife's lips, what were your first thoughts?

DAVID CROSBY, MUSICIAN: You know, the truth is, you make a good point. We hadn't been extremely close friends of Julie and Melissa's, but if you -- 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.

KING: But were you shocked that your wife would offer this?

D. CROSBY: Actually, no. You know, I've said this before -- 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 -- I -- anything but. I think it's a great thing, but I think that people are probably making more out of it than they should.

KING: We're going to get into all of it. You're here for the hour, and we appreciate this. By the way, it broke in "Rolling Stone," is where all of this broke, Melissa's well-kept secret. There were so many rumors about who the father was.

And you knew, Jan, that it did not require David sleeping with Julie, right?

J. CROSBY: I did know that, yes.


KING: You would not have offered it had it included that part, right?

J. CROSBY: You know, there's no telling with me. I follow my heart.

KING: I can tell. You might have offered him out that way too, right?


J. CROSBY: No, this is truly what I believe. They are obviously in love. They're a lesbian couple. I believe that when humans love each other, that that's really the issue, and that these beings really wanted to come through them, and that the way to help them have that happen was to trust what our hearts were telling us, and my heart...

KING: Was telling you to trust?

J. CROSBY: Yes, trust. Trust was the whole thing. KING: There's ramifications from this obviously, and it certainly has extraordinary sidebar stories, and we'll get to all of that. They're our guests for the full hour. We'll also include your phone calls.

Don't go away.


KING: Here's the February 1 "Rolling Stone" cover that contains the headline "Exclusive Melissa's Secret," the secret of who the father was of the children. And there, these are photos from inside the magazine. And there you see the four of them. They're all four with us tonight. And there you see the partners, very happily, and other partners that we have with us in Cleveland.

And why did you choose to go -- who made the decision "Rolling Stone"? You, Melissa, being a music...

ETHERIDGE: I guess I did. And I know Yahn Winner (ph), the editor, owner and chief, whatever.

KING: You called him?

ETHERIDGE: I actually was at a function with him. We were in Washington, D.C. at the Concert of the Century and started talking to him, you know, about who the father was, and he was interested -- I -- it sort of popped up inside of me that maybe this was the way, because we had been talking about -- it was such a secret. We didn't like how big it had gotten, kind of out of hand, and that we did want to present it to the world, and maybe this would be a good way to do it.

KING: You agree, Julie? Did you ask David and Jan if it was all right?

CYPHER: Yes, we called him.

KING: Did you have any questions, David or Jan, about going to "Rolling Stone?"

D. CROSBY: No, they gave a very good reason for going public with it, and I agree with it completely. They'll probably tell you right now what it is, but I agreed with their reasoning.

KING: And the reason was? For the children?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, for the children and for our quality of life, actually. It had gotten...

KING: Stop asking already?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, stop asking.

KING: Why was Brad Pitt the one most frequently mentioned, do you know?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, that was my fault.

CYPHER: It was her fault.

ETHERIDGE: I made a joke once at the, I think it was the VH-1 Honors. He gave me an award at the -- the press backstage, someone said, "What's Brad Pitt to you?" I said "The father of my children." This was...

KING: You're kidding, over a joke...


KING: That's all?

ETHERIDGE: That's it; six, seven years ago, and it just lived from there.

KING: David, did you want it revealed earlier, when you would hear all of these rumors or the Brad Pitt idiocy.


KING: Did you want it revealed?

D. CROSBY: No, the Brad Pitt, the Tom Hanks, the -- you know, the truth is, I've wanted to go -- 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.

KING: now tell me a little about...

D. CROSBY: But it's not something that I ever would have , you know...

KING: It's their story?

D. CROSBY: It's really not up to me, you know.

KING: I agree.

D. CROSBY: And I want -- I just wanted to support their decision on it.

KING: When you do this, where do you go, to a sperm -- how do you...

D. CROSBY: Do you want to get technical? I don't think we should.

KING: I don't need a description. But where -- do you go to a building? Is there a place, a doctor? How is this done?

D. CROSBY: Larry, I can tell you, but I'd have to kill you.

KING: OK, then don't tell me, all right.

Meanwhile, let's say that you delivered a sperm and the sperm goes into you, right?


KING: OK. Why you and not you?

ETHERIDGE: Many reasons.

KING: Like?

ETHERIDGE: I was, for one, at the time when we decided to, I was still touring for my fifth album, and we saw that I would have a break after that, but I couldn't be pregnant while I was touring, didn't want to be. And it was a good time when she could be, and I could have a break, and we could have the child.

KING: Did you want her to have it?

CYPHER: No, not particularly. I always wanted to have children. I was eager for the experience, so.

KING: More than you?

CYPHER: I think I went through it about 10 years ago, and then got over it, and yes, yes.

KING: Do you think you went through it because you were bisexual, or didn't think you were gay?

CYPHER: I don't think I had anything to do with it whatsoever.

KING: No, just you wanted children?

CYPHER: Yes, and I wanted to bear her children. I wanted to have that feeling.

KING: Were you at all troubled -- I mean, it's obvious, it's been a major story, that David Crosby had addiction problems. Were you troubled that that would carry through to the child?

CYPHER: It's something that crossed our minds, but I don't think it was anything -- well obviously, it didn't stop us from it, because we decided that there were other qualities and characteristics that would pass through as well that were much more important.

KING: Did you check with a doctor?

CYPHER: Yes, we did a lot of research.

KING: And what did they say? I mean, did they say your child could be...


KING: A tendency to be alcoholic?

CYPHER: That is one strain of research and one theory of how it could be. And that could be possible.

KING: But?

CYPHER: Or it could not.

KING: David, did that concern you?

D. CROSBY: Not really. My parents weren't alcoholics and none of my children are, so you know -- I certainly was, you know, but...

KING: It's considered genealogical, though, isn't it?

D. CROSBY: Yes, there are people who feel very strongly that there is a marker for it, a gene marker, and it's quite possible that there is. You know what, it's been so long for me now; it's been 14 years that I've been straight that I have trouble, you know, being worried about it. I probably should, you know, but I don't think of myself that way that much.

KING: Jan, were you concerned at all in that regard?

J. CROSBY: Not at all.



KING: No fears that either Bailey and then Beckett would be?

J. CROSBY: No, no.

D. CROSBY: The truth is, Larry, the evidence in front of us was this little child Jango (ph), and he's...

KING: Your child.

D. CROSBY: Yes, he's like a poster that says, "Have children," you know, and I think all of us looked at that and felt, you know, this was good an evidence that we would be probably be lucky and the children would be great, and that's been borne out. The children are wonderful.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more. We will be including your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


KING: Even those who would doubt all of this would have to agree that David and Julie have beautiful children. Bailey is 3 years old and Beckett, the boy, is 1. Why a decision, Julie, to have another one? And there you see both of them. Why a decision after Bailey to have Beckett.

CYPHER: We always wanted to have more than one. ETHERIDGE: Absolutely. Siblings are important. We went right back to the drawing board.

KING: Is this it, two?

CYPHER: This is it for now.

KING: What do you mean for now?

CYPHER: This is it for now. We're really happy. We were raising them. Maybe there's more in the future. I mean...

KING: If you wanted a third, would you call on David again?

CYPHER: David, are you there?

KING: David, if they wanted a third...

CYPHER: Should we ask you now?

KING: ... would you do this thing...

D. CROSBY: I don't know.

KING: ... you couldn't describe again?

D. CROSBY: You know, I think that with the success record that they have got there, yes.

KING: You would. OK. And Jan, you'd approve again, right?

J. CROSBY: No question.


KING: Melissa, do you feel like the father...

ETHERIDGE: I didn't feel like a father at all.

KING: You didn't particularly want children, right?

ETHERIDGE: No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. I am saying particularly want to actually have them through my body. That's very different.

KING: All right. You had them through your body, and are you very motherly?


KING: You are?

CYPHER: As is Melissa.

ETHERIDGE: As am I, incredibly, yes.

CYPHER: I mean, you must know that bearing them doesn't have to do -- have anything to do with how you feel about them.

KING: Naturally.

ETHERIDGE: Right, yes.

CYPHER: Same thing.

KING: So both of you are mothers?

CYPHER: Right, we're both mothers.

KING: Do you at all feel a need, based on just the country you live in, for a manly influence in their lives?

CYPHER: Absolutely, but not because of the country we live in. Just because of...

KING: No, there is society, the ethics.

CYPHER: Yes. There's male and female.

ETHERIDGE: In the world.

CYPHER: It's two very different energies. It's important that children, adults, human beings experience both.

ETHERIDGE: Yes, for balance and equality. And we have men in our life, lots of men.


KING: Managers, uncles...

ETHERIDGE: Best friends.

CYPHER: Very close friends.

KING: Would you tell the children the full circumstances of all this as they become of age and understanding?

CYPHER: Yes, as they become of age and as they ask we will give them the information that they ask for. Bailey has already asked if she had a daddy, and we said, yes, you do.

KING: OK, will she -- does she know David?


CYPHER: Well, then her question...

KING: There have been pictures together.

ETHERIDGE: Yes, yes.

CYPHER: She said, well, who is it? And I said, you know our friend David with the funny mustache. And she said, yes. That's your daddy.

KING: What does she call you?

CYPHER: She calls me mamo.

KING: And what does she call Melissa?

ETHERIDGE: That's mama.


KING: And what does she call David?


CYPHER: David.

KING: David and Janice...

CYPHER: Or more importantly, Django's dad.


KING: They're friends, right?



KING: So she calls him Django's dad?


KING: All right, if something happens to you, is this David's children?

CYPHER: If something happens to me...

KING: Yes.

CYPHER: ... these are -- Melissa has adopted these children legally. These are Melissa's children.


KING: All legal?


KING: Something happened to both of you, God forbid, do they revert to David?


CYPHER: No, we have -- we have friends that we have talked to and selected then that are legally would become the guardians of these children.

KING: And David, that would be OK with you, if God forbid something happened to both of these -- you would not put a claim in to get these children?

D. CROSBY: I trust their judgment completely on it. This wasn't a gift given with any strings, Larry.

KING: Did you have to make known who the father was at all?

ETHERIDGE: Yes. At the very...

CYPHER: Well, we did, yes.

ETHERIDGE: ... at the adopt -- when I adopted.

KING: Yes, you have to adopt, they got to say...

ETHERIDGE: Yes, they -- he had -- there were papers that had to be signed, and at the time we were still keeping it very -- trying to keep it under wraps, and the judge who gave me the adoption had to know who the father was.

KING: We'll talk about public hullabaloo and how they react to it. We'll be taking your phone calls.

Tomorrow night, Denzel Washington, and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, and the judge who let him out, and the young man who helped get him out of prison -- all tomorrow night.

We'll be right back.


ETHERIDGE (singing): I would dial the numbers just to listen to your breath. And I would stand inside my hell and hold the hand of death. You don't know how far I would go to ease this precious ache. You don't know how much I ache, or how much I can take just to reach you. Just to reach you, to reach you.

Come to my window...


KING: David Crosby, you were quoted in "Rolling Stone" as saying you think everyone should understand this except maybe the Christian Coalition and the far right, but I always wanted to be on the Nixon's enemies list anyway. Do you feel you're making a statement here? Do you have any question? Don't you understand some of the ethicists who may question this?

D. CROSBY: You know, I understand that some people would question it. I don't think that they have a great deal of validity. I wasn't trying to make a statement and neither was Jan. We were doing exactly what we said, we were following our hearts. Our hearts told us that these were good people and this was a good thing to do. KING: Period?

D. CROSBY: We, of course -- you know, we're not stupid, you know. I know that there are people out there who are so square they have corners, and they're going to be pissed at me for, you know...

KING: Well, is it so square, let's say, Julie, is it square to say, you know, children should have a mother and a father. That's how -- you had a mother and a father.

CYPHER: Right.

KING: You had a mother and a father. You wouldn't be here without a mother and a father. That's the way we're reared and raised...

CYPHER: I don't call it square. I call it one viewpoint.

D. CROSBY: The truth is, Larry, that in this country there are as many people who don't have a mother and a father as there are who do, maybe more who don't. The...

KING: You mean the divorce rate?



D. CROSBY: Yes, the traditional American family is a little rare on the ground now, and it's getting redefined. I think Julie had some numbers that might surprise you.

KING: Julie, do you know?

CYPHER: It was something about only 25 percent today of households are man, woman, and child, a married couple with children.

KING: Yes, but if they are divorced, there's the father who comes to visit. There's custody. There's, you know...

CYPHER: That's still a single parent household if they're divorced, so a married couple living together with a child, only 25 percent of families today look like that, so what's the alternative lifestyle really?

KING: Do you see difficulty, Melissa, Bailey bringing friends home and friends saying, where's your daddy?


KING: And she is saying, I have two mothers.

ETHERIDGE: No, because the friends she is going to bring home, chances are one out of four of them might have a mommy and a daddy, and then there's the one where daddy is not there, and then there's the one where another daddy is there. I just don't see, especially as the future moves on, it being that.

KING: And Jan, what do you make of the uproar? And there has been some criticism of you for permitting this, in a sense.

J. CROSBY: I believe in love. I believe in love. I came from a house with a dad and a mom, and I wasn't necessarily treated well there. And I think loving parents of any gender, as long as they're human, are good parents, and that we should try and help all beings get here for those kind of people.

KING: Have you heard from people, Melissa and Julie, critical of you? Do people yell things out at you?

ETHERIDGE: No. Maybe it's the celebrity thing -- maybe it's I live in L.A. I have never experienced any negative feedback firsthand at all.

KING: We'll be right back. We'll take your phone calls for Melissa Etheridge, Julie Cypher, David Crosby and Jan Crosby, their first live television appearance. This broke in the February 1st issue of "Rolling Stone," and we'll include your phone calls after the break.

This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.


ETHERIDGE (singing): There's no wonder here. You might as well scream. They never woke up from the American dream. And they don't understand what they don't see, and they look through you, and they look past me. Oh, you and I dancing slow. We got nowhere to go.



KING: We're back with Melissa Etheridge, whose new CD, by the way, released late in 1999 by Island Def Jam, is titled "Breakdown." And there you see its very dramatic cover.

Also with us is Julie Cypher. She is Melissa's partner, filmmaker, who is currently writing and developing a film about the life of Janis Joplin.

In Cleveland is David Crosby. His new album is "Looking Forward" and his book is "Stand and Be Counted: The Dramatic Story of the Artists and Events That Changed America." And with him is Jan Crosby, his wife. And David has fathered the children of Melissa and Julie. Julie was the one who gave birth.

They do not discuss -- tell us the things you do not discuss.

CYPHER: We drew a circle around the last bastion, which is how I actually conceived as the part that we were going to keep private.

KING: So he donated the sperm, how you conceived the sperm, how it was administered...

CYPHER: Right.

KING: ... except you actually did not have physical sex, intercourse together to conceive this kid.

CYPHER: Absolutely not.

KING: OK. Was it a completely normal pregnancy in both cases?

CYPHER: Absolutely, yes.

KING: Was the obstetrician fully aware of how this was?


KING: Did he have to be aware or she have to be aware?

CYPHER: She didn't have to be, no.

KING: In other words, once the conception takes place, it's a nine-month...


KING: ... same pregnancy.

ETHERIDGE: Same. There's nothing different.

KING: The night of the birth...


KING: You're the expectant -- what?

ETHERIDGE: I'm the expectant partner.

KING: Father?

ETHERIDGE: I'm the partner.

KING: Were you there, Melissa?

ETHERIDGE: Oh, absolutely. Boy, was I there.

KING: Did you watch the child be born?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, I was...

KING: Both cases?

CYPHER: Both times.

ETHERIDGE: Right there.

CYPHER: Full-on partner helping me out. ETHERIDGE: Full on, breathing, doing -- doing the thing.

KING: Where was David?

CYPHER: Where was David? Ask him.

KING: David, where were you?

D. CROSBY: You know, I -- I'm not that closely involved with it.

KING: Did they call you at least?

D. CROSBY: They have been very sweet, Larry. They called and said, you know, David, Jan, here's what happened, here's the gift that kept on giving, and thank you. And they have been very sweet to us the whole time.

KING: When, Jan, did you first see your friends' baby?

J. CROSBY: I first saw Bailey on this wonderful tie-dye birth announcement. That was the first time. And I saw -- I saw David's eyes in her eyes. I saw the twinkle. And I -- and you could just see so much of Julie there too. And I mean, genetically, you couldn't find two finer people to, you know, like put some stuff together to make some more love happen.

I don't know what the big deal is.


KING: You're trying to figure out what -- I guess none of you can figure out why there's any kind of -- you would understand?

CYPHER: I can completely understand. It's not very traditional. And there are traditional views that would think that this is not the way to do it. So I understand that viewpoint, and it's OK to have that viewpoint. It's also OK for us to have ours.

KING: When you were pregnant, it was generally known that someone had -- I mean, did people stop you and say...

CYPHER: Who's the daddy?

KING: Who's the daddy?



KING: This was during the pregnancy, right?


ETHERIDGE: Yes, yes.

CYPHER: And we said we're keeping that to ourselves right now. KING: But you didn't even say it was artificial -- it was insemination of any kind. You didn't say there wasn't a physical act, et cetera? You said nothing?

We just didn't talk about it.

ETHERIDGE: Yes, we just didn't talk about it.

KING: Period.

ETHERIDGE: I believe.


KING: And there was no clue that it was David, right?

ETHERIDGE: No, there certainly was not, unless you were to look at a picture of him and look at a picture of our children. And then...

KING: So the shocking part was David's the father, right?


KING: Have you now bonded with your -- what do I call them -- with your children, David?

D. CROSBY: Well, you know, being the genetic dad, I -- I, you know, I'm really happy when I get a chance to see them. I'm very proud of them. But their parents are Melissa and Julie. And you know, you have to understand it's a very clear-cut thing. I...

KING: You're not their father.

D. CROSBY: I'm not their -- I'm not in their family. I was the genetic dad. And I am very proud of them. And the truth is, if they're, you know, someday proud of me from a distance, I think that would be totally wonderful. But when you see them with Melissa and Julie, you know who the family is. And I completely approve of it.

KING: One thing you could definitely be, David, is their personal Santa Claus.



KING: Let's take a call: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: I was wondering if Melissa and Julie would support their children if they decided to have a heterosexual relationship later in life. CYPHER: Of course. Of course.

ETHERIDGE: You know, odds are our children are straight. That's just the odds.

KING: Ma'am, what prompts the call? Why do you think they would not support them?

CALLER: Well, just curious.


ETHERIDGE: Actually, that's a question we get a lot.

KING: Really?

ETHERIDGE: Yes. And odds are our children are straight. I am actually more set to -- for Bailey to be dating boys and moving into that world and Beckett to be dating girls. I -- I wouldn't be surprised if they were gay. But odds are they're straight.

KING: You do not know why you're gay, do you?

ETHERIDGE: No, I do not.

KING: Anchorage, Alaska, hello.

CALLER: Hi, guys.



CALLER: Hey, listen, my question is I think what you guys are doing is great. I actually am totally for it. The only thing I do tend to think about right now is there was such a bad publicity in the past when Martina Navratilova and her lover had children involved. There was such a big breakup between that family unity that, you know, I tend to wonder, you know, not everybody stays together forever. And what kind of trauma is that going to cause on the children in that particular relationship?

KING: Fair question. Julie, what happens if you break up?

CYPHER: I think it's going to be the same trauma that children are going to experience if their parents break up and it's a straight couple.

KING: No difference.


CYPHER: Same kind of trauma.

ETHERIDGE: Same trauma. And yes, I wish in a perfect world that I didn't have to make my own personal relationship so public and that it's so out there. I wish that it wasn't that. But it has gone down this road and it has been.

KING: By the way, why didn't you have the second child?

ETHERIDGE: Why didn't I have the...

CYPHER: Because I was so good at it.

ETHERIDGE: Because she was so dang good, and I saw what it's like to have a child. Ow!

KING: And you said, not me.

ETHERIDGE: Actually there's a lot of reasons. I probably would not be able to bear a child at this point.


ETHERIDGE: So there's other medical reasons that we don't really need to get into.

KING: But you were tested?

ETHERIDGE: Yes. I mean, yes.

KING: What I mean is you must have thought about it.

ETHERIDGE: I did think about it.

KING: She's had one. Even it up.

ETHERIDGE: But she does it really, really well. And I have no problem -- these children are my children. I have no problem with that.

KING: Back with more phone calls on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


ETHERIDGE (singing): I want to come over (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'm the one. You told me you love me. That's all I believe. I want to come over. It's a need I can't explain: To see you again. I want to come over.



KING: We're back. We go to Columbus, Georgia -- hello?



CALLER: I was calling to say that I was in support for what Julie and Melissa have done, and hooray for David and Jan for stepping up. My question is, when the children get older, and they decide they want a relationship with David, how are you going to handle that, and will you support one?

KING: Good question.

CYPHER: Yes, positively. They can have any sort of relationship with David that they want to have. I would encourage it.

KING: So if they want to meet with him, be with him, call him dad?


ETHERIDGE: Whatever they wish.

KING: And, David, what would you wish?

D. CROSBY: Oh, I'd be really happy with it. I have obviously seen the kids a number of times, and they're great kids. You can't not love them. They're wonderful.

KING: It looks that way, yes, obviously.

Greenville, South Carolina, hello?

CALLER: Hi. I just wanted to let you know, Melissa and Julie, as a lesbian couple, we really support what you're doing. And my question is, are you concerned about my discrimination your children might face as they go through school? And if so, how will you handle it?

ETHERIDGE: Absolutely. I know that my children will be different, and not only a lesbian couple, but a celebrity lesbian couple, and hopefully at that time, we'll still be wealthy, you know, but just the different things that will make them different, and I think we have to deal with each situation as it happens. I believe that if we fill our children with love and self-respect, that they can handle -- that they will be able to handle with our help whatever comes in, whatever sort of hate or misunderstanding comes in.

KING: Anything you'd add?

CYPHER: Ditto. Nothing.

KING: Are you worried?

CYPHER: No, not at all, no. Not at all.

KING: Indianapolis, hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is for everybody except Jan, because it seems that Jan is really the only one who -- when she talks about love -- don't you think that if we just love each other and these children that everything else will fall in place?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. CALLER: I mean, you know, that's all. Whether -- and, you know, I'm part of the 25 percent that has, you know, the picket fence, the husband, the two kids.

ETHERIDGE: Right on.

CALLER: And you know what, as long as you love these kids, everything else falls in place.

KING: What do you think ma'am, though, of what might be called traditional values, traditional upbringing, a family concept?

CALLER: I think in the year 2000, we need to make our own traditions. We're not -- because of things like corporate America, we don't even have any roots anymore. So if these people can form their own roots and love these children unconditionally, it doesn't matter. You know, if we were all blind, you'd be surprised who we'd all end up with.


ETHERIDGE: Give me her number. I want her number.

KING: How about -- how about religious America?

CALLER: I think that we all should have our own God. It's our own personal relationship. It doesn't matter if you are -- what religion, what nationality. I think people need to pick up -- and I'm not pushing the bible; please don't think I am. But love is the most used word in the bible.



CALLER: And so isn't that what God wants us to do? I don't think the world gets it.

KING: Yes, there is some would say, Jan -- I'm sorry, Julie, love between a man and a woman, that's traditional love.

ETHERIDGE: That is a view point.

CYPHER: Yes, that's a viewpoint. That is one viewpoint.

KING: OK, Columbia, South Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Hi, Melissa and Julie.


CALLER: Hi. First off, I just want to say, I wish the media would really back off you guys and just let you do what you're going to do. You know, you're doing a great job. Lay off.

Do you think that after all of this has come out now, do you think that it's going to end here, or do you think that it's just going to be constant?

CYPHER: I think it'll probably die down after a while, but keep in mind, that we have chosen to be here and chosen to do the things we've done just so we can step up and let people take a look at...

KING: Who you are.

CYPHER: ... who we are.

ETHERIDGE: And what we have done. And answer the questions. There are so many questions. Answer them with you, answer them on another show, on this and that, answer it for a time to where maybe it seeps out there, and then for the rest of our lives, after a month or so, it's known, and we can go on.

KING: Since nothing is rosy all the time, what's been the most difficult thing for the two of you?

CYPHER: Sleep. I want sleep, Larry.

ETHERIDGE: Don't you know? I mean, sleep as in children waking up -- you know?

KING: I know.

ETHERIDGE: Come on, I know.

CYPHER: Sleep.

ETHERIDGE: That's all, normal parenting issues.

KING: Norfolk, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hello. How are you doing, Julie and Melissa?


CALLER: Hi. Listen, I just have one -- I don't have a problem with what you're doing, and I think that the media is just blowing it way out of proportion. I mean, you guys are entitled to live your lives the way you want. And it's nice that you're going to be able to give them all of the material things they'll ever need. But the biggest thing is these children will have an abundance of love. To that I am assured. I applaud you for your efforts.

But my question is, is there any remote possibility that David's liver disease of any kind could possibly be inherited by these children?

KING: We asked that earlier, and the answer is you don't know, right?

CYPHER: No, David's liver troubles were -- well, I can't speak -- David should probably answer.

KING: Did you have a liver transplant, David? D. CROSBY: I had a liver transplant, and the cause of my liver problems cannot be transmitted to genetic...

KING: Cannot?


D. CROSBY: Down the chain to a child. We knew that from Jango before we made this decision.

KING: We'll take a break and with be back with more on LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


ETHERIDGE (singing): Something's got to get somewhere, forcing circles in the squares. She keeps pushing. She's an all-American girl.



KING: Balboa, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I'm a straight woman. I'm a schoolteacher. And I'm just letting you know, your children have what most children in this country do not have, and that is two loving, supportive parents. I think you're setting a great example of tolerance and open- mindedness, and I applaud you.

CYPHER: Thank you.

ETHERIDGE: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, do you think that this would be the same kind of situation for two gay men? I mean, obviously, it wouldn't be, but how much more difficult do you think it would be for two gay men?

KING: Could two gay men adopt a child?

CYPHER: Yes, they can.

ETHERIDGE: In some places, in some states, no.

CYPHER: It's not something we know a lot about.

KING: Supposing the sister of one of them gave birth as a favor for them?

ETHERIDGE: I mean, this happens all the time. I mean, this is going on in our gay community all the time.

KING: David, are you shocked to learn -- and I am, so I'll pass it on to you -- that most of the calls we're getting tonight -- and I don't know how reflective that is -- are favorable to this?

D. CROSBY: No, I'm not surprised. I think that you're going to find that most people feel exactly what several of your callers have felt, which is that what's important is the love. It's not the gender of the parents; it's that the kids are loved. Kids live on love the way flowers live on water, and if you give them a whole lot of love, they flourish, and that's really the key thing here.

KING: Jan, are you surprised?

J. CROSBY: I'm not surprised, Larry. I'm delighted. I am delighted, because you know, for me, the word "family" represents the human being race. That's what family represents to me. I don't, in my heart, compartmentalize things the way that tradition has shown us to do. There are things about tradition that I do love, and that are in my heart, a very natural feeling, but the minute I feel like something is mandated as a way you have to do something, I feel like I have been put in a box I didn't choose to go in.

KING: Are you surprised, Melissa? A little?

ETHERIDGE: A little maybe, but like you asked me before, I have been out in the public. I have been in -- I have toured every state...

KING: Nobody's picketed you?

ETHERIDGE: And no -- only in my home of Kansas, there's a guy there who...

KING: Pickets you?

ETHERIDGE: ... pickets me.

KING: Are you surprised? Not surprised?

CYPHER: I am delighted, but I am not -- I am surprised, Larry, actually.

ETHERIDGE: Come on, Jules.

KING: I am surprised.

CYPHER: The heck with it, yes, I am.

KING: Maybe you just give off such affection that, you know, it's very hard to be negative...

CYPHER: Scream at us?

KING: Yell at -- yes, I can hardly yell at you.

ETHERIDGE: Well, because some -- I don't know. I think maybe -- maybe we live in fear of something that somebody...

KING: That isn't there? ETHERIDGE: Yes, that isn't there.

CYPHER: That's nice.

KING: Back with our remaining moments on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


ETHERIDGE (singing): I know what you're thinking, baby. I used to be just like you. When she's not looking, baby, one sugar ain't enough for you. But you, your taking out your loans, you're burying your bones.



KING: Have other couples, Melissa or Julie, asked you for advice in this? Are you starting to hear from other women who are partners who maybe want to do the same thing?

CYPHER: We have gotten lots of feedback, I don't know about advice.

ETHERIDGE: Not much advice, no.

KING: What would you say?

CYPHER: What would we say?

KING: Yes.

ETHERIDGE: Love, love, Love.

KING: Would you say, should you know the father?

CYPHER: Oh, that's a personal opinion. That's something...

KING: Yes, what is your personal opinion?

CYPHER: I wanted to know who the father was. I wanted my children...

KING: You wouldn't want it from a sperm bank, number 6432?

CYPHER: No, no.

ETHERIDGE: Some people do.


KING: Yes.


ETHERIDGE: But it wasn't our situation.

KING: And Jan, would you recommend to a couple who has friends, donate your husband?

J. CROSBY: Absolutely, absolutely.

KING: I guess...

J. CROSBY: You know, I do have some friends who are men who are gay who do have a struggle, a much bigger struggle. They have to find a surrogate. They have to find trust in every single aspect of the road that you have to go down. They often can do it because they're determined with their love to do this. And I just wanted to say, go. Do it. Help people.

D. CROSBY: The thing is, truthfully, I think that homosexuals, both lesbians and homosexual men, have far more obstacles, you know, placed in their way, in their path, you know, to parenthood, than there should be. And unless we get, you know, too sweet with this whole conversation, homophobia is still alive and well in the United States.

KING: Sure.

D. CROSBY: There's plenty of people out to there who are fully disapproving of it, and, you know, think that they have all the right to be. And...

KING: The only question with it, David, is, did you make a decision to be heterosexual?

D. CROSBY: You know, I never really thought about it. I just...


Did you make a decision to be homosexual, Melissa?


KING: No. You didn't make the decision, so if we didn't make the decision how -- why are you blamed for it?

ETHERIDGE: Yes. That's very deep.

CYPHER: Good point.

D. CROSBY: Thank you, Larry.


KING: Did you make any -- did you make a decision to have liver disease? No.

CYPHER: Right.

KING: You know, so to be angry... CYPHER: Beautifully put.

KING: ... at you for liver disease -- so it's very hard to explain this anger, and it has to come from a biblical standpoint, I guess.

ETHERIDGE: Fear, misunderstanding, yes, a lot of fear.

KING: Of course, why would people who preach love, hate?

CYPHER: Right.

ETHERIDGE: For loving -- people for loving. People who preach love hate people who love.

KING: Well, and some caller asked this, and it is fair -- do you worry, Julie, that while the calls tonight didn't reflect it, your children are going to grow up in an atmosphere of some discord?

CYPHER: That's right. They may. That's why we're preparing them the best we can to be loving, secure individuals that can take care of themselves.

ETHERIDGE: I also live in hope that my children's children, maybe their children, I don't know, somewhere in there...

KING: Another generation?

ETHERIDGE: ... they will say -- yes, they will say, isn't it funny that, you know, mom and mamo, or whoever they call us by then, that they had trouble back then? Isn't it funny it was such a big deal? Isn't that weird?

KING: You optimistic, Jan?

J. CROSBY: Very, very optimistic, yes, absolutely.

KING: Based on tonight, you have every reason to be.

Are you, David?

D. CROSBY: Yes. I still am silly enough to believe in the innate goodness of human beings, and I think in the long run, we're, you know, love is going to win.

KING: I thank you all very much. Melissa Etheridge, her new album is "Breakdown." Julie Cypher is Melissa's partner, and they are the parents of Bailey who is three, and Beckett, who is one. David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, he was the sperm giver who became -- who fathered these children. And his wife, Jan Crosby...

J. CROSBY: Hi, Django.

KING: ... who came up with the idea. And David Crosby's book is "Stand and Be Counted," and his new album is "Looking Forward." Tomorrow night the extraordinary story, you have seen it everywhere, about "Hurricane" Carter in jail for a murder he did not commit. Well, tomorrow night you'll not only meet him, but the brilliant actor who plays him and lots of other people associated with that trial and case. Denzel Washington, "Hurricane" Carter, and others.

Stay tuned for CNN NEWSSTAND. They are going to look at Silicon Valley.

Thanks for joining us. For all of our guests, good-night.



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