OK! Interview: Melissa Etheridge


Oct. 3 2008, Published 2:00 p.m. ET

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Melissa Etheridge can't wait for Christmas to arrive. So much so, she's released a new Christmas album two-and-a-half months before the big holiday!

OK! caught up with the Grammy winner, who's married to Tammy Lynn Michaels, (the couple has four children) at Hard Rock's Pinktober Launch Event at the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios in L.A. Melissa says it's her kids who revived the spirit of Christmas for her family.

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"Having them become adults and realize that a lot of the things I believe and feel come in direct conflict with the fundamentals of a lot of this stuff that Christmas is based on, I was kind of like, 'Aw, doggonit.' But I still celebrate it for my kids because it's Christmas, even though it would seem out of context."

It was also her children who inspired her to make A New Thought for Christmas, her new Christmas album that dropped Sept. 30.

"I decided last year as I was listening to Christmas music I was thinking, 'Why, this time of year, for thousands of years, we've been celebrating at this time of year because of the solstice, the sun, when the days are the shortest and the nights are the longest, it's a wonderful thing...And I feel like we've lost that, so I wanted to make a Christmas album for everybody else."

Melissa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at the age of 43, famously took the stage — minus a head of hair — at the 2005 Grammys. The singer tells OK! that it was around this time that she decided the time was right to go public with her fight.

Melissa Etheridge
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"It was when I did the Grammys, which was my first step back into it and that was pretty intense, but I knew I needed to take that opportunity when it came and I knew it was the right thing to do," she says.

The singer went through chemotherapy, which she describes as being "painful," and it was during that time that she re-evaluated her lifestyle, specifically her diet.

"When you realize that we're the spirit that's in our bodies and our bodies are like the vehicles that take us around, you realize that you have to take care of that body," she tells OK!. "I mean, I love french fries, yet I know there are certain oils that you can cook potatoes in that are less healthy for you, that create an imbalance."

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She continues, "I have days when I say, 'I'm going to have five chocolate chip cookies today.' I'll have a salad every day but every week I have a cheat day. And, I never look at it as weight. Weight isn't a factor in nutritional health."

Melissa just celebrated her fifth wedding anniversary to Tammy Lynn Michaels. Of marriage, Etheridge says, "Tammy, she's the greatest mom in the world, and my children are the most awesome children ever," she gushes. "That's probably the best, thing about being married you know they're there no matter what and you can go through things like cancer and she's right there with me."

Melissa adds, "I used to always be afraid that I was going to make a mistake, but you do, you make mistakes and you just have to trust that you do it from love, you do the best you can and that's the right thing."

By Jennifer Birn


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