Tammy Lynn Michaels has not had a regular television gig since she was one of the stars of the NBC sitcom Committed in 2005.
She blames her ex of nine years, Melissa Etheridge, who she faces next month in a legal showdown over child support and custody of their two children.
'[Melissa] wouldn't take off from her music stuff to allow me to do TV or movies,' Michaels says in an interview posted Monday (16 April) on AfterEllen.com. '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.'
Michaels, 37, came to fame as one of the stars of Popular, a one-hour comedy from Glee creator Ryan Murphy that ran from 1999 to 2001. She also had three-episode guest stints on That 80s Show and The L Word.
Michaels claims that Etheridge makes $178,000 per month and is asking for an increase in the $23,000 per month that she currently receives. She says in the interview that she was making $100,000 per month while on the sitcom Committed which was canceled in 2005 after less than one season and would have steadily made more as the years went on.
In 2006, Michaels gave birth to twins - daughter Johnnie Rose and son Miller Steven - and did not seek further acting work.
'When we were together, there were a lot of things said and shared between us. And a lot of things were promised,' Michaels says of she and Etheridge. 'I'm standing here saying: 'You wanted to fight for gay rights; you wanted everything to be fair. You wanted to stand up for all of us? Because now I'm an 'us,' the gays that wanted to have gay rights and equality and not look like dip s--ts.'
Michaels is one of the stars of the film Untold which is currently in production - her first acting role since 2005, according to the Internet Movie Database.
She is asked in the interview if she is going to 'get back into acting.'
Michaels replies: 'Is acting going to get back into me? Let's see. The problem is, there are a lot of 30-something actresses out there who are having kids who would really really like to play that 30-something mom. And I'm not as famous or as thin as them. People would prefer if I dropped 15 or 20 pounds. If I can't be 105 pounds, I'm going to lose out.'
While their split has been very public and very bitter, Michaels says she and Etheridge can still be very cordial when they are dealing with their kids.
'Melissa and I have a great face-to-face, direct relationship when it comes to the kids,' she says. 'We both want what we think is best.'
The former couple even went on a miniature golf and dinner outing with their kids for a recent birthday.
'They had a ball, and we had a ball,' Michaels says. 'They were goofing with each other and we were goofing with each other. And that's their reality.'