Melissa Etheridge, Linda Wallem: Coincidental Couple, or Calculated?

Linda Wallem, Melissa Etheridge's new love, is a longtime friend of the couple.

Jan. 20, 2011 — -- It's a love triangle worthy of at least one throaty ballad.

Rock singer Melissa Etheridge, 49, has found new love with Linda Wallem, also 49, an actress, writer and producer. A source close to the couple confirmed to that Melissa Etheridge and Wallem are dating and said, "They're very happy. They've been best friends for a very long time."

Melissa Etheridge's ex-wife doesn't want to hear it. Tammy Etheridge, 36, also an actress, eviscerated her former partner on Tuesday, posting a poem about their 2010 breakup and the singer's penchant for sex toys on her blog.

"i moved out november 23rd 2009," she wrote. "she said it would help//i was convinced it would//too and i trusted there was//no one else//i didn't know//there was someone moving in//as i was moving out."

Tammy Etheridge wrote that she found out she'd been replaced after receiving a box of bedroom accessories meant for Melissa Etheridge: "i called her//'i have your new d***s on my kitchen counter?'"

According to Tammy Etheridge, she didn't find out her 7-year-long marriage was over until she heard her estranged wife's latest album, "Fearless Love:" "one never even said one was breaking up with me//one only says things in song and string."

But ultimately, she offered Melissa Etheridge and Wallem "blessings and blessings and blessings and blessings and golden rainbows and more blessings." Their relationship appears to be on good terms offline as well: a representative for Melissa Etheridge confirmed to that the two share custody of their 4-year-old twins, to whom Tammy Etheridge gave birth in 2006. (Tammy Etheridge did not immediately respond to's requests for comment, nor did Wallem.)

On to the next one: Who is the new woman in Melissa Etheridge's life? A Hollywood implant by way of the Midwest, she's best known as a co-creator of "Nurse Jackie," Showtime's dark comedy about a self-medicating emergency room nurse (Edie Falco). "Seinfeld" fans may remember her as Hildy, the waitress who refused to serve Elaine a big salad in a 1994 episode. Wallem also played a waitress in 1993's "Sleepless in Seattle."

After meeting years ago, Wallem and Melissa Etheridge became fast friends. According to People magazine, Wallem played best man at Melissa and Tammy Etheridge's 2003 wedding. Months before Tammy Etheridge moved out, Wallem was singing her pal's praises.

"Melissa invited me to the studio last weekend. She's doing her new album, and it's going to be so f***ing amazing," Wallem told the blog in July 2009. "This music is gonna blow people away. The new album is gonna be remarkable."

Melissa Etheridge in Love Triangle

Wallem also revealed that she wanted Melissa and Tammy Etheridge's family -- their twins and Melissa Etheridge's two children from a previous partnership.

"She and Tammy have these twins now. I have to say, I live vicariously through them because I don't have kids, and they are the most amazing mothers, the most amazing family I know," Wallem said. "The kids are just so loved and so magical. I always tease Melissa, 'You know, you have four kids now!' and she says, 'I know! I don't know how this happened!' She's like the sister I never had."

In the same interview, Wallem said that she wrote a sitcom for Melissa Etheridge before the singer's 2004 breast cancer diagnosis. She also said she was working to get Melissa Etheridge on Broadway. (Melissa Etheridge is slated to appear in Green Day's Broadway musical, "American Idiot," from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6.)

Maybe the writing was on the wall; maybe they never meant for this to happen at all. Regardless, Wallem's ridden through potentially rocky relationships before: she and her "Nurse Jackie" writing partner, Liz Brixius, used to date.

"We were girlfriends, we broke up, but we stayed together writing and it's a perfect partnership," Wallem told AfterEllen. "It can be tricky, but we worked it out."

Perhaps she and the Etheridges can do the same.