In 1997, Anne Heche was an up-and-coming 28-year-old actress with the world at her feet.
But long before Heche died Friday at 53 after a spectacular car crash a week earlier, the success she was on the verge of achieving slowly unraveled. It began with her romance with Ellen DeGeneres.
“In 1997, I met Ellen DeGeneres at the Vanity Fair party and that was the night that changed my life forever,” Heche said years later, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.
She started learning immediately what the costs could be. In the Page Six interview, she said she’s been told by 20th Century Fox executives not to bring DeGeneres to the premiere of her movie “Volcano,” but did so anyhow.
The late Anne Heche (1969-2022) in “Donnie Brasco” (1997). pic.twitter.com/be2vfDmvoK
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“I took Ellen to the premiere and I was ushered out by security before the movie even ended and was told I was not allowed to go to my own after-party for fear they would get pictures of me with a woman,” she told Page Six.
Being part of a couple with DeGeneres, Heche said, effectively ended her career in Hollywood.
“I was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres for three-and-a-half years and the stigma attached to that relationship was so bad that I was fired from my multimillion-dollar picture deal and I did not work in a studio picture for 10 years,” she said.
Heche and DeGeneres were together for three years before they broke up.
DeGeneres blamed Heche, telling the Los Angeles Times in September 2021, “She walked out the door and I haven’t spoken to her since. I don’t have the answers. I would love to have them myself.”
“I broke up with her because her goal was to have a lot of money. Mine was to find love, and hers was, ‘I want $60 billion.’ Good, good luck; our forks are never going to meet,” Heche said, according to the website.
She suggested in an April 2021 TikTok video that DeGeneres controlled her, according to the New York Post, publishing a 1998 photo of the two together and writing, “Why do I look like a hippie? It’s because Ellen didn’t want me to dress sexy.”
Whatever the dynamics, it led to Heche one night driving into the desert after taking the drug ecstasy, the Post reported. She went to a stranger’s door for help, and later told responding police that, “God was going to take everyone back to heaven in a spaceship.”
She spent a few hours in a psychiatric ward before being released.
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“I believed I was from that world. I believed I was from another planet. I think I was insane.”
In the book, she describes memories of her father, a choir director in a Baptist church, sexually abusing her, according to ABC.
The 21st century brought heterosexual relationships and children to Heche, but no major roles.
Heche dated actor Thomas Jane from 2019 to earlier this year, according to the New York Post, until that relationship failed.
At the end, as Heche lingered in a coma, DeGeneres was asked about how Heche was doing, according to the U.K. Daily Mail, and replied:
“We’re not in touch with each other, so I wouldn’t know.
“I don’t want anyone to be hurt.”
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