"He was such a good friend of mine," Etheridge said of Pitt. "And yet, I looked and I saw how badly he wanted children and I thought, 'I don't want to share this with someone who really, badly wants children because my children don't need another parent, they have two."
"Of course my teenagers are like, 'I could have had Brad Pitt [as my biological dad]!" she added. "My son said, 'I could have been amazingly handsome.'"
Etheridge and Cypher, who split in 2000 after several years of dating, share 19-year-old daughter Bailey and 17-year-old son Beckett. The singer is also mom to 9-year-old twins Johnnie and Miller with ex-partner Tammy Lynn Michaels via an anonymous sperm donor.
"We've just got so tired of this secret," Etheridge told Rolling Stone in a 2000 cover story revealing Crosby's identity. "It wears you out. And keeping this big secret goes against how we are choosing to live our lives: very openly."
"For one, he's musical, which means a lot to me, you know, and I admire his work," she explained of choosing Crosby. "And he has his own life, has his own family."
Crosby is father to four other children, including a son whose mother placed him for adoption. Pitt, meanwhile, is dad to six children, Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox, with wife Angelina Jolie.