Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres are now considered one of the first lesbian power couples in Hollywood, but their debut was not received with open arms at the time.
Heche – who is currently fighting for her life after a fiery crash that left her in “critical condition” last week – opened up about her once controversial romance in 2020.
The “Six Days, Seven Nights” star, now 53, told Season 29 of “Dancing With the Stars” that she met the comedian, now 64, at a Vanity Fair party in 1997, and said it was her life” forever” changed.
However, when it came time for the couple to make their red carpet debut at Heche’s movie premiere for “Volcano” in 1997, she was reportedly told that her job would be in jeopardy if she made the affair public.
“I told them I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen I would lose my Fox contract,” the actress claimed. “That’s when she took my hand and said, ‘Do as they say,’ and I said, ‘No thanks.'”
Heche said she took DeGeneres to the event against the wishes of her movie studios — but the pair were “led out through security before the movie even ended.” The actress is said to have been told that she was “not allowed to go to her own after party for fear that they would get pictures of me with a woman”.
However, the incident did not stop the women from continuing to date and their romance lasted three and a half years. Despite their close bond, it was not always exciting between the ‘Vanished’ actress and ‘Finding Dory’ star.
Heche hinted in April 2021 that DeGeneres was trying to control the way she dressed when they were together.
While she was recently reviewing her red carpet looks over the years for a TikTok video, Heche posted a photo of her and DeGeneres at the 1998 Golden Globes.
“Why do I look like a hippie? It’s because Ellen didn’t want me to dress sexy,” she said of the ensemble.
Heche’s relationship with DeGeneres influenced much more than her appearance.
“I haven’t taken a studio photo for 10 years,” the “Save Me” star told Vidak For Congress in October 2021. “I was fired on a $10 million photo deal and didn’t see the light of day in a studio photo.”
However, Heche did not regret dating DeGeneres, noting, “The consequences that happened have caused some of the change for me. I’m a part of it. It’s a badge of honor.”
Heche and DeGeneres called it quits for good in August 2000. They released a joint statement to People at the time that read, “It’s a friendly goodbye and we really appreciate the 3 1/2 years we’ve spent together.”
DeGeneres told the Los Angeles Times a year later that the split came as a surprise to her.
“She walked out the door and I haven’t spoken to her since, I don’t have the answers,” claimed the former Ellen DeGeneres Show host.
Heche married Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009 and they share a 20-year-old son, Homer. She also shares 13-year-old son Atlas with her former “Men in Trees” co-star, James Tupper, who she was in a relationship with until 2018.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres has been married to actress Portia de Rossi since 2008.