Anne Heche’s bizarre California accident isn’t the first time the actress has faced a major fork in the road – she usually dusts herself off and moves on to the next phase of her tumultuous life and career.
This time, the 53-year-old actress is in a hospital bed with severe burns sustained in an accident in Los Angeles, during which her blue Mini Cooper swept down a narrow street, crashed into a house and caught fire.
Minutes earlier, according to witnesses, Heche crashed a tiny car into a garage door with what appeared to be a bottle of vodka in a cup holder before driving away, although it is not clear if she was drinking before the accident.
She ended up trapped inside the flaming rubble, seriously injured as rescuers tried to pull her out.
The bizarre behavior and potentially tragic circumstances have reawakened memories of the public breakdown she experienced decades ago after the end of her controversial affair with Ellen DeGeneres.
The mother-of-two, who claims to have been sexually abused as a child by her father and blacklisted by Hollywood after breaking up with the talk show host, has kept a relatively low profile lately.
In recent months, she hosted the Better Together podcast with a close friend, public relations executive Heather Duffy Boylston. But at times she seemed unsustainable—and crushed DeGeneres with great bitterness.
“I haven’t done a studio shoot in 10 years,” she said of the aftermath of the affair. “I was fired from a $10 million contract and never saw the light of day in a studio picture.”
The breakup dominated the pages of gossip in August 2002, when a rambling and garrulous Heche knocked on the door of a stranger’s house in central California and ended up being taken by ambulance to the hospital hours after her relationship with DeGeneres ended.
“I’m not crazy,” Heche later told ABC News. “But it’s a crazy life. I grew up in a crazy family and it took me 31 years to piss me off.”
According to Heche’s interviews over the years, she was raped and molested from a very young age until the age of 12 by her father, Don Heche, a Baptist minister and church organist who was a closeted homosexual.
“He raped me, he put his dick in my mouth, he caressed me, he got me on all fours and had sex with me,” Heche told ABC News in 2001, although she admitted that violence is just “in my memory.”
“I think it’s always hard for kids to talk about abuse because it’s just a memory. I didn’t carry a tape recorder with me… I didn’t carve anything in the stone… Anyone can look and say: “Well, how do you know for sure?” And that’s one of the most painful things about it. You won’t.
According to Heche, she contracted genital herpes from her father and, after his death from AIDS, was afraid that she would become infected.
According to the actress, her mother, Nancy, refused to acknowledge the sexual abuse, and they often separated.
Nancy Heche did not return a call from The Post. After the publication of Heche’s memoir Call Me Crazy in 2001, Nancy Heche wrote that she “has no place among the lies and blasphemy in the pages of this book.”
On Saturday, Anne Heche was listed as stable with severe burns after she miraculously survived an accident in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles.
It took firefighters more than an hour to pull her out of the rubble, which also destroyed the house.
Heche was seen climbing off the stretcher as paramedics took her to the ambulance, “almost as if she were a criminal trying to get away,” neighbor David Manperl, the first person at the scene, told The Post on Saturday. “But I think she was just in pain.
An LAPD spokesman told The Post they had no information on whether Heche was drinking at the time of the accident. No charges were brought.
Her latest boyfriend, actor Thomas Jane, whom she broke up with around 2020 but remains on friendly terms, issued a statement saying Heche is going to “stand up”. They met on the set of the comedy-drama Hung, which aired from 2009 to 2011.
Jane was one of several high-profile relationships in Heche’s life. She dated the much older comedian Steve Martin from 1994 to 1997, right before she met DeGeneres. After she split from DeGeneres, she married cameraman Coleman Luffoon, with whom she has a 20-year-old son, Homer, before she divorced him. She had a second son, Atlas, from a relationship with actor James Tupper.
Born in Aurora, Ohio, Ann was the youngest in a dysfunctional family of five children. According to her, her father died in 1983 after revealing his secret lifestyle to his family shortly before his death.
“He was in complete denial until the day he died,” Heche told CNN’s Larry King in 2001. “We know he got it from his homosexual relationship. Absolutely. I don’t think it was one. He was a very dissolute person, and we then knew his way of life.
Anna’s brother Nathan died at the age of 18, three months after his father, in a car accident.
According to a report from Noble County, Indiana, Nathan’s car “slid off the road and crashed into a tree.”
“He was alone at the time and apparently fell asleep at the wheel,” the report said. Ann, however, said she believed it was suicide.
Early on, to deal with her injury, Heche said she did her best to escape.
“I drank. I smoked. I took drugs. I had sex with people. I did everything I could to remove shame from my life,” she said.
Her career helped. Heche began her career at a young age in soap operas. She played identical twins Vicki Hudson and Marley Love on Underworld from 1987 to 1991 and appeared in films such as Wag the Dog and Donnie Brasco. One of her biggest films was 1998’s Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford.
She met DeGeneres at an Oscar party in 1997.
“I saw the most amazing woman I have ever seen in my life, standing in front of me,” Heche said in 2001. Her name was Ellen DeGeneres. She radiated. I think that at certain times in people’s lives, you just radiate the energy and the radiance of fabulousness. And it was her. I’ve never seen anyone so fired up.”
The couple walked home together and Heche said it was “the best sex I’ve ever had”.
“I felt cared for… I was free to express that part of me that I couldn’t express with a man,” said Heche, who said she had never been with a woman before. “I felt sensual and sexy like never before.”
After their breakup, Heche knocked on the stranger’s door and asked if she could take a shower. When she didn’t want to leave, the police were called.
“I was told to go to a place where I would meet the spaceship. I was told that in order to get on the spacecraft, I would need to take a dose of ecstasy, ”Heche said then. “Fresno was the culmination of a journey and a world that I felt I needed to escape to in order to find love.”
This article was originally published New York Post and reproduced with permission