Tammy Lynn Michaels says she has a newfound respect for Melissa Etheridge's former partner after her break up with the rocker.

Last April, Etheridge split from Michaels, her partner of 9 years. In separate filings to end their California domestic partnership, each claim “irreconcilable differences.” Etheridge is asking the court for joint custody of the couple's twin 5-year-old children, son Miller and daughter Johnnie Rose. Michaels, who gave birth to the twins, says she wants full custody of the children with visitation rights for Etheridge.

The separation has turned messy. One recent TMZ.com headline read: MELISSA ETHERIDGE'S EX-GF I Can't Live On $23,000 a Month!”

In an interview with lesbian entertainment website AfterEllen.com, Michaels explained her request for $177,000 in child support, saying she “gave up $100,000 a month” to stay at home.

Etheridge “wouldn't take off from her music stuff to allow me to do TV or movies,” Michaels said. “She implored me to be home. I hate to think, 'Oh, I gave up my career,' because you know what? That would subtract from how much it meant to raise the kids.”

And Michaels described Etheridge as the Titanic.

When asked if she had a relationship with Etheridge's previous partner, Julie Cypher, Michaels said no, then added that she had “respect for [Cypher] in a way that I didn't understand I would. I feel like we both survived the Titanic. We're just in different lifeboats.”