TMZ has learned ... Melissa Etheridge has just filed legal documents with the court to formally end her relationship with Tammy Lynn Michaels.
Etheridge filed a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership in L.A. County Superior Court.
Etheridge and Michaels were registered as domestic partners in California. They had a commitment ceremony back in 2003. There were reports they tried to legally marry in 2008 -- during the time when same-sex marriages were permitted in CA -- but they missed the window.
In the docs, Etheridge cites "irreconcilable differences."
Etheridge is asking for joint custody of the couple's two children. Their twins were born in 2006, after Tammy was artificially inseminated by an anonymous donor.
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Ethridge's lawyer, Judy Bogen, is also asking the judge to reject any possible bid by Tammy to get financial support.
There are reports the couple split back in April.
Julie Cypher first met rock singer Melissa Etheridge in 1988 on the set of Melissa's first video for Bring Me Some Water. Julie was the assistant director of the video, and according to Melissa, she and Julie had immediate chemistry--the kind of chemistry which meant they would be more than friends. But there was a major problem: Julie was married at the time to actor Lou Diamond Phillips. Melissa, Julie, and Lou became friends but Julie and Melissa's growing romantic feelings for each other became impossible to ignore and the two women started having an affair. Julie had never been in a lesbian relationship before and remained conflicted about what to do about her marriage to Lou. Finally realizing that she had found true love with Melissa, Julie decided to end her marriage to Lou. They divorced in 1990, and Melissa and Julie began living with each other.
When they began living together, Melissa was still "in the closet" to the public. She was vague and evasive about her sexuality in interviews, but she and Julie had been "out" already to their family and friends. About three years into her relationship with Julie, Melissa went public in declaring her homosexuality. After coming out, Melissa's popularity grew even more when she released her album, Yes I Am. Julie and Melissa also became vocal activists in GLBT causes as well as media supporters of animal rights groups such as PETA. In January 1993, at the Triangle Ball GLBT event celebrating the inauguration of US President Bill Clinton, Melissa Etheridge announced "I'm proud to say I've been a lesbian all my life."
Melissa and Julie made headlines when they became the first lesbian celebrity couple to have children. Julie decided to do the childbearing, and for several years she and Melissa refused to publicly name who the biological father/sperm donor was. In 1997, Julie gave birth to a daughter named Bailey and a year later gave birth to a son named Beckett. In January 2000, Melissa revealed in a Rolling Stone article that David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills & Nash) was the father of her children with Julie.
Julie has been actively involved in music videos and films: she directed some of Melissa videos (including Ain't It Heavy), and Julie also co-starred in Melissa's All American Girl video as well as appeared in and directed the video for Melissa Etheridge's song Nowhere to Go. She was pregnant during the filming, though Melissa & Julie had not yet announced Julie's pregnacy to the media. Julie was also writer/producer of Piece Of My Heart, a film biography of the late Janis Joplin. Melissa was set to star as Janis in Piece Of My Heart but decided not to continue with the project so that she could focus on her music career.
While Melissa and Julie were a couple, Julie had an affair with singer K.D. Lang, with Melissa's knowledge. Melissa also said that Julie had an affair with at least one man while she and Melissa were a couple. Melissa and Julie announced their separation September 19, 2000. After the breakup, Julie began dating men and said publicly that she was never a lesbian. Long before Cypher shocked Etheridge with the alleged announcement, "Well, I'm just not gay" in a 1999 therapy session, the relationship had some serious foundation cracks. On September 22, Etheridge and Cypher announced that they would be buying houses with a shared backyard so that they can both remain involved parents.
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