Back in 2014, Linda Wallem became the first legal wife and third long term relationship to singer Melissa Etheridge. Here are 5 things that you need to know…
Melissa Etheridge and wife Linda Wallem – long time friends turned long time love
May 31, 2014 was the day that Melissa Etheridge wed her best friend Linda Wallem. This was the first official wedding for Melissa Etheridge, but the third ceremony that she had. Her previous 2 long-term relationships were both before the legalization of same-sex marriage and were, therefore, both commitment ceremonies. Melissa Etheridge’s first long-term, committed relationship lasted for 12 years and produced two, now adult, children. Her partner was Julie Cypher, a film director. Julie Cypher carried both of their children, and, months before they split, the couple revealed rock icon David Crosby had donated to help them sire their kids. The split appeared to be civil and remained as they co-parented together. Melissa Etheridge and Linda Wallem got married in the lily garden at their San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California. There were many celebrities present to watch as Etheridge and Wallem wed, with Etheridge wearing a grey suit, and Wallem dressed in a white, sparkly dress carrying a bouquet of purple and white flowers. Though there have not been many photos released of the ceremony, the photos that are out there show a beautiful and happy couple.
1 – Linda Wallem has the same birthday as her wife
Linda Wallem and Melissa Etheridge share the exact same birth date. They were both born on May 29, 1961. Linda Wallem was born in Madison Wisconsin while Etheridge was born in Leavenworth, KS. Two days before their wedding, they jointly celebrated their 53rd birthdays.
2 – Melissa Etheridge and Linda Wallem were friends for years before they started dating.
Linda Wallem and Melissa Etheridge began dating in 2010. That was just the next step in an already almost decade-long friendship. They had been close for 9 years previous, often referring to each other as best friends in that time period. Linda Wallem was even Melissa Etheridge’s “best woman” in the singer’s 2003 commitment ceremony to Tammy Lynn Michaels. Etheridge has talked openly about the fact that having a relationship with someone she was so close to platonically for so long made it interesting, to say the least. There is a comfort that already exists between the two. Linda Wallem may not have been her wife, but like Tammy Lynn Michaels, she was there to support Etheridge through breast cancer. Linda Wallem was also there as Etheridge and Michaels officially split in 2010, and helped to see Etheridge through the particularly nasty time. Linda Wallem helped support her future wife with the three year resulting custody battle Etheridge and Michaels waged over their twins that would eventually result in a settlement for joint custody. Melissa Etheridge has said that it was actually while Linda Wallem was helping her with her children after her initial separation with Tammy Lynn Michaels that the two friends became more. Wallem was right there to help her with the kids and life, and over that time period, the love they had as best friends grew to be romantic as well. Etheridge has said that while it is admittedly a different way to start a relationship it has also been truly beautiful.
“I’ve never been friends with someone for that long and then entered into a romantic relationship… This way, she already knows everything. She’s my friend and it’s really pretty amazing. I’m happier than I’ve ever, ever been.”
3 – Famous in her own right, Linda Wallem is a well-known Hollywood Producer/Actress/Writer
On screen, Wallem may be most known for a small role in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Throughout the 1990’s however, she became known more for her work behind the camera. She was particularly busy in the world of television. She worked and made appearances on “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Seinfeld,” “Cybil,” and “That 70s Show.” It wouldn’t be long that she would be just a producer or writer however. She made the jump to premium channel shows with HBO and “The Comeback” in 2005. She went on to be the creator of the Showtime smash hit “Nurse Jackie” starring Edie Falco in her first role after “The Sopranos.” Linda Wallem has mainly stuck to premium channels recently as she finds the sitcom lifestyle hard – though she stated she enjoyed her time on “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Seinfeld,” “Cybil,” and “That 70s Show.”
In 2012-2014, she came back to sitcom life with the short-lived “Whitney” and it didn’t seem to reignite her passion for the genre. It is a hard format to get used to, with a lot packed into a little time and not long periods to get story in. She has stated that she may be interested to branch out into cinematic ventures.
4 – Not a proponent of nepotism
Linda Wallem’s brother, Stephen Wallem, was on “Nurse Jackie” as a recurring character, Thor. Wallem did not give him any breaks though. He credits her only for getting him an initial audition. From there it was made clear that he was on his own to get further call backs or a part. Don’t let that fool you, however – the siblings are close. They are both gay and credit their support of each other and a supportive family to being out in the harsh world of public opinion for so long.
5 – Linda Wallem and Melissa Etheridge plan on collaborating together professionally as well
In another ironic twist of fate, back in 2004 in the early stages of their friendship, Linda Wallem and Melissa Etheridge began collaboration on a sitcom together. It was a take on Etheridge’s life and what may have happened if she had never become famous. The show was not too happen as there was a lot of back and forth between the duo and the networks, and then Etheridge got diagnosed with breast cancer. They got the last laugh however with their lifetime collaboration that they began that May day in 2014. Since then they have also revealed they are working on a project for Broadway that would be produced, created and written by Linda Wallem, and star Melissa Etheridge. If they work as diligently and lovingly on it as they have their relationship, it should be a beautiful show.
More to come
Three years into the marriage, they seem to be getting stronger. After a long foundation of friendship, one can only hope this A-list couple can give each other their long sought after happy endings.