Abstract It is known that the charged lepton masses obey to high precision an interesting empirical relation (Koide relation). In turn, the light neutrino masses cannot obey such a relation. We note that if neutrinos acquire their mass via the seesaw mechanism, the empirical mass relation could hold for the masses in the Dirac and/or heavy Majorana mass matrix. Examples for the phenomenological consequences are provided. We furthermore modify the mass relation for light neutrino masses including their Majorana phases, and show that it can be fulfilled in this case as well, with interesting predictions for neutrinoless double beta decay.