Guess who's 51 today?

Melissa Etheridge, writer and performer of such favorites as "Ain't It Heavy," "Bring Me Some Water" and "Come to My Window"! Beloved foremost as a rocker, Etheridge has used her fame to support a variety of causes, earning her acclaim as an activist as well. Etheridge, who publicly came out of the closet in the early 90s, proved that "being both an out lesbian and a successful musician was possible."

Etheridge is just as passionate about her other causes as she is about LGBTQ issues -- she has spoken out in support of medical marijuana and she wrote the theme for Al Gore's documentary on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," wining her an Oscar to boot.

Despite these triumphs, the musician's life out of the spotlight has had its fair share of heartache and disappointment. She survived a bout with breast cancer and performed at the Grammys soon after, bravely bearing her bald head. Recently, she's been in the news for her on-going custody battle with ex-wife Tammy Lynn Michaels after their 2010 divorce; the pair are parents to twins Johnnie Rose and Miller Steven, now 5. Etheridge and Michaels reached a settlement agreement in late May, ending their years-long feud.

Etheridge is living proof that "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"... and leads to some great rock music. Check out the slideshow below for photos of Etheridge, plus live performances of some of her most popular anthems.

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  • Melissa Etheridge Honored On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

    Melissa Etheridge attends the ceremony honoring her with the 2450th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

  • Melissa Etheridge Walk Of Fame Fan Event

  • Melissa Etheridge

  • 'Come To My Window' (live)

  • Etheridge Joins The Cast Of 'American Idiot' On Broadway

  • Etheridge At The Breast Cancer Awareness Symposium

    Melissa Etheridge, <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6994469/ns/dateline_nbc/t/melissa-etheridges-brave-comeback/#.T7_g1HlYsho" target="_hplink">a breast cancer survivor herself</a>, performs at a Breast Cancer Awareness Symposium.

  • 'I'm The Only One' (1993)

  • Etheridge Performs In Times Square

    Melissa Etheridge performs in concert.

  • Melissa Etheridge In Concert

  • Etheridge At The 2009 American Music Awards

  • Melissa Etheridge On 'Million Dollar Quartet'

    An interview with Melissa Etheridge during her short rehearsal with the cast of <a href="http://www.milliondollarquartetlive.com/" target="_hplink">"Million Dollar Quartet."</a>

  • Melissa Etheridge

  • Melissa Etheridge

  • Etheridge Performs At The Democratic National Convention

  • 'I Want To Come Over' (live)

  • Melissa Etheridge Performs At The Nobel Peace Prize Concert

    Melissa Etheridge performs at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in honour of Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

  • Melissa Etheridge At The Live Earth Concert

  • Melissa Etheridge

  • 'Bring Me Some Water' (live)

  • Melissa Etheridge With Partner Tammy Lynn Michaels

    The couple <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20148266,00.html" target="_hplink">was married in 2003</a>, and divorced seven years later. They recently <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/05/melissa-etheridge-tammy-lynn-michaels-resolve-custody-battle/" target="_hplink">resolved a heated custody battle over their five-year-old twins</a>.

  • Melissa Etheridge & Tammy Lynn Michaels - InStyle Weddings Special

    Melissa & Tammy Lynn Etheridge featured on InStyle's Wedding Special in 2003.

  • Showbiz Tonight: Melissa's Split Gets Ugly

  • 79th Annual Academy Awards

    Melissa Etheridge wins for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song for 'An Inconvenient Truth' during the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

  • 79th Annual Academy Awards

  • 'Piece Of My Heart' (live)

  • Glamour Magazine Salutes 'The 2005 Women Of The Year'

    Melissa Etheridge speaks after accepting 'The Accidental Activist' award during the 16th Annual Glamour Magazine "Women of the Year" awards.

  • 'Get Tied To The Cause' Cancer Benefit

    Melissa Etheridge accepts the Linda Mancuso Spirit of Life award at the 'Get Tied To The Cause' Cancer Benefit in her honor.

  • 'Like The Way I Do' (live)

  • The 47th Annual Grammy Awards

    Melissa Etheridge arrives to the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.

  • Melissa Etheridge Inducted Into Hollywood Rock Walk

    Melissa Etheridge autographs a guitar prior to the ceremony inducting her into the Hollywood Rock Walk.

  • You've Got Melissa Etheridge on Eating Healthy

    In this edition of You've Got, Melissa Etheridge talks about the importance of eating healthy and locally grown food.

  • Dream Foundation Concert

    Melissa Etheridge performed live at the 'Friends of the Dream Foundation', a tribute to Jan and David Crosby.

  • Dream Foundation Concert

  • Melissa Etheridge At The Democratic National Convention

    Melissa Etheridge greets the crowd after performing 'America the Beautiful' during the evening session of the Democratic National Convention (DNC).