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Melissa Etheridge receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Sept. 27, 2011. - Provided courtesy of OTRC

Melissa Etheridge, ex in legal battle, rocker talks musical with Linda Wallem

09/28/2011 by OnTheRedCarpet.com Staff

Melissa Etheridge's legal battle with ex-partner and "Popular" star Tammy Lynn Michaels is heating up.

The 50-year-old rock singer and Michaels, 37, were married between September 2003 and April 2010 and share custody of their 5-year-old twins, Johnnie Rose and Miller.

Michaels, 37, filed documents in late March that said she is unable to survive on monthly child and spousal support payments of about $23,000 that Etheridge grants her, adding that the sum is close to what the rocker would potentially pay in rent for the house she owns. She says Etheridge "improperly deducted certain amounts" since November 2010, according to the papers, posted on Yahoo.

She says that before they separated, she and Etheridge lived on about $128,000 and that she acted as a "stay-at-home mother" to the singer's older children, Bailey Jean, 15, and Beckett, 13.

Etheridge has not commented about Michaels' claims but filed legal documents on her own on Monday. TMZ says the rocker accuses her ex of burning one of their children with a cigarette accidentally. A hearing has been set for May 22.

Michaels played high school queen Nicole Julian on the 1990s show "Popular" and also starred on "The L Word" and "Committed." She has not acted on screen in more than five years. In her lawsuit, she says she has "limited income and virtually no savings" and "may also require extensive retraining before she is viable in the workforce."

Etheridge is currently linked to "Nurse Jackie" creator Linda Wallem, her friend of more than 10 years. The singer told Billboard earlier this month that the two are collaborating on a musical and that the show is halfway done. Etheridge once played St. Jimmy for a week in the Broadway show "American Idiot."

"I keep talking about it," she said. "I keep going, 'OK, after this album, I'll talk about it some more..' It needs to get done, but it's just me and Linda, and we have our day jobs that keep it really busy. But I want to do it right and make it be something that lasts."

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