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By Kat Giantis
It's turning out to be a really bad week for romance. Larry King and wife No. 7? Kaput. Mel Gibson and the Russian singer who gave birth to his eighth child? Dunzo. Now comes word of another split, this time from a couple we were really pulling for. Seems it's the end of the line for Melissa and Tammy Etheridge after nine years and two children together.
"Melissa and Tammy Etheridge are saddened to announce that they are now separated," the singer's rep tells People magazine, with the exes adding, "We ask for consideration and respect for our family as we go through this difficult period."
Melissa, 48, and Tammy, 35, tied the knot in a legally non-binding ceremony in September 2003, exchanging vows barefoot under an arch of flowers at the Malibu home of Dick Clark in front of such big names as Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
After the rocker and the actress slipped platinum and diamond rings on each other's fingers, they were pronounced "beloved brides."
"We are so grateful for the blessings from our friends and family as we commence our vows," they said at the time, "and begin the rest of our lives together."
Tammy, who was known as Tammy Lynn Michaels when she starred on "Popular" (she also appeared on "The L Word" and "Committed"), gave birth to the couple's twins in 2006, a boy, Miller, and a girl, Johnnie Rose, via an anonymous sperm donor.
They joined Melissa's two children from her previous relationship with Julie Cypher, daughter Bailey Jean, 13, and son Beckett, 11, who were conceived with a little help from David Crosby.
In 2004, Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she has credited Tammy with helping her get through the battle, which left her bald from the chemotherapy.
"When I got home from my surgery, in the bedroom, there was a beautiful flower arrangement. And all it said was, 'In sickness and in health.' You know, and she meant it," the singer recalled to "Dateline." "There were days upon days where I couldn't make a sound. Where she would tell me she loved me, and I couldn't even tell her that back. And she would say, 'I know you love me. And I love you.'"
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The pair had been planning to legally retie the knot but missed the window with the passing of California's gay marriage-banning Prop. 8 in 2008.
Melissa condemned the decision, railing that she no longer knew what to call Tammy: "So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now."
Rumblings of trouble began a couple months ago after Tammy posted some poetry on her blog that led to speculation that cracks were forming in the relationship. Among the verses: "if you give and give and give and take care of someone until plenty spill-eth over-th/ then why should your partner give any more? you've given enough for both?" and "i walk around/half of what i used to be/maybe less."
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