Grammy-winning singer Melissa Etheridge and her partner, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels Etheridge, have split after nearly nine years together, People magazine reported.

“Melissa and Tammy Etheridge are saddened to announce that they are now separated,” Melissa's rep confirmed to the magazine.

The women confirmed their separation in a statement: “We ask for consideration and respect for our family as we go through this difficult period.”

The couple exchanged vows in Malibu, California in 2003.

Tammy Etheridge, 35, gave birth to twins in October 2006: son Miller and daughter Johnnie Rose.

Melissa Etheridge also has two children – Bailey, 13, and Beckett, 11 – from a previous relationship with Julie Cypher.

In an interview published today at gay website, the 48-year-old singer talked about her LGBT advocacy: “The best activism we can do every single day is just to be ourselves openly because that's where it starts: in your work, in your community and in your schools.”