Anne Heche

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Anne Celeste Heche May 25, 1969 – August 11, 2022) was an American actress, known for her roles in a variety of genres in film, television, and theater, receiving numerous accolades, including a National Board of Review Award and multiple Emmy Awards.

Heche's professional acting career began on the soap opera Another World (1987–1991) portraying the twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love, for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991. Her acting profile rose during the first half of the 1990s, gaining particular attention for her co-starring role in the independent film Walking and Talking (1996) and for her standout supporting role in the crime drama Donnie Brasco (1997). Further high-profile roles followed in 1997, including VolcanoI Know What You Did Last Summer, and Wag the Dog. In 1998, Heche further rose to prominence with her leading role in the romantic comedy Six Days, Seven Nights opposite Harrison Ford. Also in 1998, she starred in Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot remake of Psycho.

From 1999 to 2001, Heche took fewer acting roles and concentrated on directing projects, most notably a segment of the HBO anthology film If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000). Her acting roles from the 2000s onward focused on independent films, TV series, and some stage roles. In 2004, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway revival of the play Twentieth Century and a Primetime Emmy Award for the television film Gracie's Choice, also starring in an acclaimed supporting role in the supernatural drama Birth. Other film roles included Cedar Rapids (2011), Catfight (2016), and My Friend Dahmer (2017). Heche also starred in a number of dramatic television series, including Men in Trees (2006–2008) and Hung (2009–2011). In 2020, she appeared as a contestant in the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars.

Events in Heche's personal life often upstaged her acting career. From 1997 to 2000, she was in a high-profile same-sex relationship with comedian Ellen DeGeneres, sometimes described as "the first gay supercouple". Immediately following her split with DeGeneres in 2000, she had a highly publicized nervous breakdown in which she appeared at a rural ranch house outside of Fresno, California claiming to be an entity named "Celestia" who would take humanity to heaven in a spaceship. In 2001, she published a memoir titled Call Me Crazy that alleged extensive childhood sexual abuse by her father.

On August 5, 2022, Heche was critically injured when her car crashed into a house at high speed. She died in a Los Angeles hospital on August 11, 2022.

Early life

Heche was born on May 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest of five children of Nancy Heche (née Prickett) and Donald Joe Heche. Her parents were fundamentalist Christians and the family was raised in a deeply religious environment. At the same time, her father led an unstable lifestyle, prone to frequent get-rich-quick schemes, though also with a real gift for music that led to jobs as a choir director in several churches. Heche noted in her memoir that her family changed denominations several times depending on which church Don Heche found work in. Because of Don Heche's often unstable lifestyle and financial situation, the Heche family moved numerous times during her childhood. 

When asked in a 2001 interview on Larry King Live what her father's source of income was, Heche replied, "Well, he was a choir director. But I don't think he made much on that a week. He said that he was involved in a business of gas and oil, and he said that until the day he died, but he never was involved in the business of gas and oil ever."

During Anne's early childhood, the Heche family lived in various towns in the suburbs of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, resettling when she was twelve years old in Ocean City and later Ventnor City, New Jersey. Due to the family's strained finances, she went to work at a dinner theater in Swainton. "At the time we'd been kicked out of our house and my family was holed up living in a bedroom in the home of a generous family from our church", she said. "I got $100 a week, which was more than anyone else in my family. We all pooled our money in an envelope in a drawer and saved up enough to move out after a year."

On March 3, 1983, when Heche was 13, her 45-year-old father died of complications from AIDS, which she believed was contracted from a homosexual partner: "He was in complete denial until the day he died. We know he got it from his gay relationships. Absolutely. I don't think it was just one. He was a very promiscuous man, and we knew his lifestyle then", Heche said on Larry King Live. Heche said that he repeatedly raped her from the time she was an infant until she was 12, giving her genital herpes. When she was asked "But why would a gay man rape a girl?" in a 2001 interview with The Advocate, Heche replied "I don't think he was just a gay man. I think he was sexually deviant. My belief was that my father was gay and he had to cover that up. I think he was sexually abusive. The more he couldn't be who he was, the more that came out of him in [the] ways that it did." In a 1998 interview, she reflected that her father being closeted ultimately "destroyed his happiness and our family. But it did teach me to tell the truth. Nothing else is worth anything."

Three months after her father's death, Heche's 18-year-old brother Nathan was killed in a car crash. The official determination was that he fell asleep at the wheel and struck a tree, though Heche claimed that it was suicide. The remainder of Heche's family subsequently moved to Chicago, where Heche attended the progressive Francis W. Parker School. In 1985, when Heche was 16, an agent spotted her in a school play and secured her an audition for the daytime soap opera As the World Turns. Heche flew to New York City, auditioned, and was offered a job, but her mother insisted she finish high school first. Shortly before her high school graduation in 1987, Heche was offered a dual role on the daytime soap opera Another World. "Again I was told I couldn't go. My mother was very religious and maybe she thought it was a sinner's world", Heche stated. "But I got on the phone and said, 'Send me the ticket. I'm getting on the plane.' I did my time with my mom in a one-bedroom, skanky apartment and I was done."

Personal life

Family of origin

Anne's mother, Nancy Heche has been a Christian therapist since 1997, and since 2005 has focused on "overcoming homosexuality", frequently speaking at events sponsored by evangelical Christian and Christian right groups, in particular Love Won Out, an ex-gay ministry originally sponsored by Focus on the Family.

Anne Heche had four older siblings, three of whom died prior to her. The eldest, Susan (1957–2006), died of a brain tumor in 2006. She was a university lecturer in literature and Christian writer of some note, writing under her married name Susan Bergman. She was best known for her 1994 memoir titled Anonymity, which was about her closeted gay father and the effects that his legacy had on the rest of the family. Cynthia died at two months of age of a heart defect. The third sibling and only brother, Nathan (1965–1983), died aged 18 in a car crash three months after their father died in 1983. Anne said his death was a suicide, though her mother and surviving siblings dispute this. Abigail is the fourth sibling, then followed by Anne.

Anne Heche was estranged from the surviving members of her family for many years. A rift with her mother began when she first told her mother of her same-sex relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. The rift deepened when she went public with allegations of sexual abuse in her 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy, which created a rift with her two living sisters as well. Anne claims to have been estranged from her mother since Anne confronted her father's sexual abuse. Nancy Heche claimed it was Anne who cut off communication.

In her 2001 memoir, Anne Heche wrote that her mother was in denial about the abuse, for example, when she contracted genital herpes as an infant, her mother insisted that it was a diaper rash and refused to take her to the doctor. Nancy Heche vehemently denied her daughter's allegations, and responded in a discussion of the book on an internet forum, "I am trying to find a place for myself in this writing, a place where I as Anne's mother do not feel violated or scandalized. I find no place among the lies and blasphemies in the pages of this book."

Her sister Abigail added, "It is my opinion that my sister Anne truly believes, at this moment, what she has asserted about our father's past behavior; however, at the same time, I would like to point out that Anne, in the past, has expressed doubts herself about the accuracy of such memories. Based on my experience and her own expressed doubts, I believe that her memories regarding our father are untrue. And I can state emphatically, regardless of Anne's beliefs, that the assertion that our mother knew about such behavior is absolutely false."

In 2009, Anne Heche told The New York Times:

My mother's had a very tragic life. Three of her five children are dead, and her husband is dead. That she is attempting to change gay people into straight people is, in my opinion, a way to keep the pain of the truth out. People wonder why I am so forthcoming with the truths that have happened in my life, and it's because the lies that I have been surrounded with and the denial that I was raised in, for better or worse, bore a child of truth and love. My mother preaches to this day the opposite of that core of my life. It is no mistake that she still stands up against love. And one wonders why I'm not rushing to have her meet my children.

In 2011, Anne Heche told The Daily Telegraph that she reconciled with her remaining sister Abigail, however, she doubted she would be able to repair her relationship with her mother.

Elliot and Natalie Bergman of the band Wild Belle are her nephew and niece. In 2017, she said that their album Dreamland was her favorite album and described herself as a "proud aunt".


Heche had also been in relationships with Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac for about one year in the early 1990s, and with Steve Martin, who she had met on the set of A Simple Twist of Fate, for several years during the mid-1990s.

Heche's relationship with Ellen DeGeneres and the events following their breakup became subjects of widespread media interest. They were described as "the world's first gay supercouple". Heche and DeGeneres started dating in 1997, and at one point said they would get a civil union if such became legal in Vermont. They broke up in August 2000. Heche stated that all of her other romantic relationships were with men.

Heche claims that there was professional fallout for her relationship with DeGeneres. She recounts that she was warned not to attend the 1997 premiere of Volcano with DeGeneres and when Heche and DeGeneres did so anyway, they were escorted out before the film had ended. Heche said that she was told that she would be denied the part in Six Days, Seven Nights for going public with her romance with DeGeneres, but landed the role nevertheless. However, Heche also claimed that she "did not work in a studio picture for 10 years" afterward. In a later podcast, she claimed that her split with DeGeneres was not on good terms and that she was effectively blacklisted from The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Heche claimed that this contributed to her lack of large-film roles, with studios being reluctant to hire her for films that they would be unable to publicize on DeGeneres' widely viewed program.

In 2000, Heche left DeGeneres for Coleman "Coley" Laffoon, a cameraman whom she met when she hired him as part of the camera crew for the television documentary that she was directing, Ellen DeGeneres: American Summer. On September 1, 2001, she and Laffoon married. They had a son in March 2002. Laffoon filed for divorce in February 2007, after five and a half years of marriage. The divorce was finalized in March 2009.

Heche left her husband for Men in Trees co-star James Tupper. During their relationship, Heche described herself and Tupper as being "eternally engaged." She and Tupper had a son in March 2009, her second child and his first. Tupper and Heche separated in January 2018. Heche and former Hung co-star Thomas Jane announced that they were in a relationship in 2019; they were together into 2020, but had separated by the time of her death.

Mental health problems

Following her separation from DeGeneres in August 2000, Heche drove from Los Angeles to Cantua Creek, California in a Toyota SUV. She left her vehicle and, wearing only a bra and shorts, walked 1.5 miles (2.4 km) before reaching a ranch house. The resident, who had seen Heche in a movie, recognized her and let her in. After drinking a significant amount of water, Heche "took off her Nikes and said she needed to take a shower." She assumed that Heche was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but Heche later revealed that she had taken ecstasy. After taking a shower, Heche entered the living room, asked for a pair of slippers, and suggested that they should watch a movie. Unsure of what to do after Heche had been at the house for a half an hour without contacting anyone, the resident contacted the Fresno County sheriff's department. Heche later told the deputies that she was "God, and was going to take everyone back to heaven…in a spaceship". She was then taken to Fresno's University Medical Center by ambulance and was admitted to its psychiatric unit, but she was released within a few hours.

Heche stated that she was "insane" for the first 31 years of her life, and that her insanity was triggered by the sexual abuse that her father subjected her to during her infancy and childhood. In a series of nationally televised interviews with Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, and Larry King to promote Call Me Crazy in September 2001, Heche stated that she created a fantasy world called the "Fourth Dimension" to make herself feel safe, and had an alter ego named "Celestia". Heche said she recovered from her mental health concerns following the incident in Cantua Creek and had put her alter ego behind her.

Allegations against Harvey Weinstein

In a January 2018 interview on the podcast Allegedly with Theo Von and Matthew Cole Weiss, Heche alleged that Harvey Weinstein had exposed himself to Heche and demanded oral sex. The timeframe of the alleged incident was not stated. Heche also stated that she was fired from an unspecified Miramax film in retaliation. She also stated that there were many other incidents of sexual harassment that took place during her career and stated that her survival of childhood sexual abuse had given her the strength to stand up to unwanted advances such as those made by Weinstein. A spokesman for Weinstein acknowledged that he had been "friendly" with Heche, but denied all of her allegations.


Car crash

On August 5, 2022, Heche was involved in a sequence of three motor vehicle collisions in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, the final crash being the most serious, inflicting critical injuries on Heche and destroying a house. The first collision took place when her vehicle struck an apartment garage and caused minor damage. A video released by TMZ shows her vehicle, a Mini Clubman, at the scene of the accident and an unidentified man repeatedly shouting "Out of the car!" at the driver. The vehicle then reversed and left the scene of the accident. A photo of the driver also released by TMZ is identified as Anne Heche. TMZ also reported a second hit-and-run in which Heche's vehicle struck a Jaguar without stopping, though without injury to the other driver. An accompanying video shows the Mini Clubman speeding down an alleyway and nearly hitting a pedestrian. A doorbell video recorded in the moments before the final crash shows Heche's vehicle driving along a neighborhood street at a very high speed, followed a few seconds later by the sound of a crash.

In the final crash, her vehicle struck a house, broke through a wall and embedded itself 30 feet into the building, trapping Heche inside. The vehicle caught fire, which in turn set the entire building on fire. The resulting house fire required 59 firefighters, who took 65 minutes to fully extinguish the fire. Firefighters were unable to access and fully extricate Heche from the vehicle for 45 minutes after their arrival on the scene, and initially were not aware that a person was trapped in the vehicle itself. Heche had sustained severe burns and smoke inhalation injuries by the time she was rescued. The house was left structurally compromised and uninhabitable. The tenant living in the house was in the rear of the structure at the time of the collision and only sustained minor injuries, but her attorney said that she and her pets "almost lost their lives" and that she had lost all of her personal property in the fire.

Law enforcement officials said that Heche was "deemed to be under the influence and acting erratically" at the time of the crashes. The Los Angeles Police Department said that a preliminary blood analysis confirmed the presence of both cocaine and narcotics, including fentanyl, in Heche's system, although a second and more comprehensive drug test is required to determine whether the narcotics detected were given by the hospital or ingested earlier. The second test could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to complete.

Hospitalization and death

As Heche was being removed from the crash scene, she was filmed sitting up on the stretcher and struggling with paramedics while she was being wheeled into the ambulance; however, she lost consciousness soon afterward. She was first taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for initial emergency care, and then to Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital for speciaized burn center care. On August 8, a representative for Heche said that she was in a coma in critical condition, requiring medical ventilation for pulmonary injury sustained in the accident. (Prior reports that she was in "stable condition" were deemed "inaccurate" by the representative.)

On August 11, the representative said that Heche was not expected to survive due to an anoxic brain injury she had sustained, but that she was being kept on life support to determine if her organs were viable for donation, in accordance with her expressed wish to be an organ donor. Heche was declared brain dead a few hours later, but remained on life support to assess organ donor viability and locate recipients. Having been declared "brain dead", Heche was considered legally dead at that time under California law.

On August 14, it was announced that organ recipients had been found and that her body would undergo the organ donation procedure that day. That evening, her publicist announced that she had been "peacefully taken off life support." The office of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner recorded the cause of death as "inhalation and thermal injuries", with "sternal fracture due to blunt trauma" listed as an "other significant condition", and ruled her death an accident. In honor for her organ donation, hospital staff held an honor walk for Heche.

Anne Heche's cremated remains were interred in a mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on August 23, 2022.


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        1Nate HecheNate HecheBrüder21.04.196504.06.1983
        2Susan  BergmanSusan BergmanSchwester05.05.195701.01.2006