Melissa Etheridge Says She 'Didn't Want to Blame Genetics' After Son Beckett's Fatal Overdose
"I know we have predispositions," the musician said. Her children Beckett and Bailey were born from a sperm donation from David Crosby, who battled addiction
Speaking on the Tamron Hall Show, the singer spoke about how her children's sperm donor David Crosby's battle with drug and alcohol addiction may have contributed to Beckett's opioid addiction and subsequent death.
"I didn't want to blame genetics. I know we have predispositions," the 59-year-old said on the show. "My oldest daughter [Bailey Jean] who's about two years older than Beckett, is extremely successful, graduated from Columbia University, 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," she continued.
Also on the show, the "I'm the Only One" singer talked about the difficulties of helping someone suffering from addiction.
"It's a very difficult thing to see someone in that hole and you can't go pull them out," she said. "They have to climb out or not."
She also opened up about making her son's death from opioids public and how, at first, she "didn't want to draw attention to him."
"I have always walked my path openly and I make mistakes," she said. "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.'"
On Today with Hoda and Jenna earlier this month, Etheridge revealed how staying close as a family has helped her cope with the loss. (Along with Beckett and Bailey, she also shares 13-year-old twins Johnnie and Miller with ex-wife Tammy Lynn Michales. She's currently married to Linda Wallem.)
RELATED: Jessica Simpson Reveals in Brave New Memoir & Talks About Her Battle with Addiction
"Our family is very, very close, and the strength comes from the love from the rest of us," she said on the show. "I'm not alone in this nation of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction. It was a long journey."
"Of course we miss him," she added, "but my wife and my three other children, we come together and we know he's here in spirit. We do what we love and we love each other and come together, and you just do it one day at a time."
In August, Etheridge told Rolling Stone about dealing with the guilt associated with her son's passing.
"There will always be that that place in my heart and my soul that that has a little bit of 'Oh, what could I have done? And is it my fault he ended this way?' and all that sort of thing," she said. "And it just gets smaller and smaller, because it doesn't serve me anymore, and where he is now, he certainly doesn't want me to take that on."
The star has also started The Etheridge Foundation to help support research into the causes and effects of opioid addiction.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.