Melissa Etheridge Shares Why She Decided to Open Up About Son's Death and Addiction
By Liz Calvario
Melissa Etheridge is using her own tragedy in hopes it will help other families. The singer-songwriter's 21-year-old son, Beckett, died in May after a fatal overdose amid a years-long struggle with opioid addiction. In a new interview with Tamron Hall on Friday, Etheridge explained why she decided to open up about her son's death and addiction.
"I wanted to share it, but I knew that this was his life and I didn’t want to draw any attention to him," the music legend said on the Tamron Hall Show. "But when he passed away, it became something, I knew once I announced it, it would be in the world."
"I have always walked my path openly and I make mistakes," she continued. "I’m up and down, but I do the best I can and maybe showing the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers how to, not understand, but how to walk and live with shame and guilt and the stigma that opioid addiction can bring into a family, if we can put it out in front and go, ‘Wow, this is a really big problem and there aren’t any easy answers. And let’s all come together and put some light on this.'"
The two also touched on Beckett and his older sister Bailey’s biological father and sperm donor, David Crosby, and if Etheridge worried that the musician's personal struggles with addiction would affect her children. Crosby previously battled drug and alcohol addictions.
"I didn’t want to blame genetics. I know we have predispositions," she replied. "My oldest daughter who’s about two years older than Beckett, is extremely successful, graduated from Columbia University, going to, getting her Master’s at the London School of Economics. So the genes are there, but the choices then are the individual’s to make and Beckett just, kind of, made the choices that made it harder and harder for him."
It's been nearly four months since Beckett died, and the "I'm the Only One" singer continues to express her grief and heal through her music. Amid the coronavirus pandemic and concerts being canceled, she built an in-home studio and performs virtually for her fans give days a week.
"Knowing that maybe there’s one person out there who’s confused or needing something and they get something from what we’re doing, that makes it all worthwhile," she noted of her virtual concerts.