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Melissa Etheridge Shares She Used to Chat with Other Musicians About Being Gay Before They Came Out

Melissa Etheridge Shares She Used to Chat with Other Musicians About Being Gay Before They Came Out

"That's a very personal thing," the Grammy winner said on the Friday episode of 'Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?'

Melissa Etheridge opened up to Chris Wallace about supporting other musicians in the LGBTQ+ community after she came out.

"Sometimes it was just nice for someone to talk to them about it," said Etheridge, 62, about other musicians opening up to her about their sexuality before they came out publicly.

On the latest episode of the CNN talk show Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, Etheridge shared how she spoke to other musicians of the LGBTQ+ who were wrestling with sharing their identity.

“Some of them, were basically just apologizing to me saying, ‘OK, you know I'm gay, but I can't come out.’”

“And I'm like, I don't have a judgment on your coming [out]. That's a very personal thing, especially professionally, and I never did,” shared the Grammy winner.

<p>Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?/CNN</p> Melissa Etheridge on Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?

Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?/CNN

Melissa Etheridge on Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?

“But sometimes it was just nice for someone to talk to them about it. And it just feels so much better to be who you are,” continued Etheridge. “And then the ones that did come out, you know, it was like, look, this is about your own personal health.”

The award-winning singer and GLAAD winner explained how she shared her concern for her fellow musicians' mental state. “You can't put album sales or movie sales in front of your own personal health. And ultimately, that's what it comes down to is how you can live.”

Related: Melissa Etheridge Looks Back on Emotional Memories with Late Son Beckett: 'Sweet, Sensitive Soul'

<p>Erika Goldring/Getty Images</p> Melissa Etheridge performs during 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Melissa Etheridge performs during 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The musician shared with Wallace, 76, that after she released her track “I'm the Only One” — which also became her biggest hit and peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995 — she came out as a lesbian to audiences in 1993.

The Yes I Am track caused bated breath amongst her management and people around her. “I think everyone kind of held their breath a little bit. They believed in the album — but it was a rough ride there for a while,” confessed the singer.

Related: Bailey Cypheridge Tells PEOPLE What It's Like Growing Up on the Road with Melissa Etheridge (Exclusive)

<p>Bruce Glikas/WireImage</p> Melissa Etheridge performs in September 2023 in New York City

Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Melissa Etheridge performs in September 2023 in New York City

The singer-songwriter made headlines when she came out at the Triangle Ball, which was part of President Bill Clinton's inaugural celebration on Jan. 20, 1993.

Etheridge is married to wife Linda Wallem, whom she wed in May 2014.

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Related: Melissa Etheridge on Late Son: I Have a 'Small Amount of Peace Knowing He's Not in Pain Anymore'

In March 2023, Etheridge recalled on SPIN and FIRE's video series Free Speech + Other Dirty Words that during a meeting before the Yes I Am release, she was asked “What are we going to do about the gay thing?”

“And I was like, 'What do you mean?' I'm not going to pretend I'm something else," she said. She also assured the label that she wasn't going to "go off and find a guy to take pictures with and pretend like he's my boyfriend."

"I'm going to be me," Etheridge said.

The "It Will Be Me" singer then said that she was told it was fine so long as she didn't "flag-wave."

"That was of course before we had a rainbow flag... but four years later I was flag-waving," she said.

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