The demise of Anne Heche: a troubled actress' life in photos
Actress Anne Heche (53) used to be known as a film star with a Daytime Emmy and several 90s' movie hits to her name. Before she passed away from a severe car crash in August 2022, she was often referred to as a fallen star and a troubled substance abuser. What's the story of Anne Heche? See how the remarkable but often tragic life of the actress led to her untimely death in a car accident.
Anne Heche was born on May 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio (USA). Her parents were Nancy and Donald Joe Heche, a choir director in his church. She had three sisters and a brother.
During her childhood, the family moved up to eleven times, driven by a precarious conditions. Her parents had trouble getting work. Heche told the Tampa Bay Times: "We were poor, but we said we were rich... We lived on the streets but said we didn't."
In her book 'Call me Crazy' (2001) Anne Heche would claim that she was abused at home. She told several interviewers, including Larry King, that her father lived a secret, promiscuous life and contracted HIV in the early 80s. As she told the Tampa Bay Times, "we were falling apart, but we said we were good Christians... Everything we did was a lie."
In 1983 Donald Heche died of AIDS, being among the first patients diagnosed with the disease in the US. Only 3 months after her father's death, Anne's 18-year-old brother Nathan died in a car accident. He was about to graduate from high school and crashed into a tree. Police ruled it an accident, but Anne, as she wrote in her book 'Call me Crazy,' was certain he had taken his own life.
After the death of her brother, the remaining family moved to Chicago. At the age of 16, as she was performing in a high school play, a talent agent spotted Anne and asked her to audition for the soap opera 'As the World Turns.' She got the job but didn't take it because she had to finish high school first, Heche recalls in her book. Yet, it was the beginning of her acting career.
After high school, Heche got a role in the soap opera 'Another World', playing the twins Vicky Hudson and Marley. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series for that double role in 1991.
Image: still from 'Another World,' NBC
As a short-haired blonde she began to appear in series like 'Murphy Brown' and blockbusters like 'I Know What You Did Last Summer.' In the image you see her as the movie's character Missy Egan. Anne Heche also played Johnny Depp's wife in in the crime classic 'Donnie Brasco' (1997).
She starred alongside Harrison Ford in 'Six Days, Seven Nights', a romantic comedy in which she played an ambitious editor trapped on an uninhabited island with a drunken pilot after his plane crashes. She became an increasingly familiar face in the world of entertainment.
A remarkable role was that of Marion Crane in Gus Van Sant's remake of Alfred Hitchcock's film 'Psycho' in 1998. Playing opposite Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates, she gained name recognition but also got a Razzie Award nomination for bad acting.
Anne Heche had a well-known three-and-a-half years relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the late 90s. It wasn't easy to have an openly gay relationship back then, Anne claimed in several interviews as well as in her book.
"The stigma attached to that relationship was so bad that I was fired from my multi-million dollar picture deal and I did not work in a studio picture for 10 years," she said in 2020, quoted by US Magazine.
In spite of this, she held firm to the conviction of her feelings and has nothing to regret. "Our time was a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor," she told Mr. Warburton Magazine. "I was a part of a revolution that created social change, and I could not have done that without falling in love with her."
Heche's acting career took a fall in the 2000s, whether it was over her relationship with a woman or her performance in previous films. Little by little, she did get some projects, such as 'John Q' in 2002 with Ray Liotta.
She starred with Ashton Kutcher in the comedy 'Spread', which didn't have much success in the box office and among critics.
Meanwhile, the actress's private life was a wild ride. After nearly getting one of the first legal civil unions for gay couples with Ellen DeGeneres, she had a string of relationships, marriages, children, and divorces with men.
Coleman or Coley Laffoon was a cameraman on Ellen DeGeneres' comedy tour. After ending things with Ellen, Anne Heche started going out with him. They married in 2001, had a son in 2002, and got divorced in 2009. In the picture, Coleman Laffoon posts a photo on his Instagram account with Homer Heche, Anne's elder son.
The actor was Heche's co-star in the ABC series 'Men in Trees' (2006-2008). They were together from 2008 to 2018.
They had a son together in 2009. When Heche had her tragic accident in 2022, Tupper posted this photo of his ex-wife and their son.
Actor Thomas Jane was Anne's partner between 2019 and 2020. They had met while co-starring in the HBO series 'Hung' (2009-2011), where they had played a divorced couple.
Following her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, it turned out that Anne Heche was suffering from mental health problems. In August 2000, the day after her breakup with Ellen, Anne was found disoriented wandering outside Fresno, ending up in a stranger's backyard, the LA Times recalls.
She recounts to ABC News: "I was told to go to a place where I would meet a spaceship. I was told in order to get on the spaceship that I would have to take a hit of ecstasy." Heche was admitted into a psychiatric hospital after the episode.
In the years after her dramatic incident in Fresno, Anne Heche would occasionally make the news for mental health issues or substance abuse. Her reputation took a hit, but she continued to appear in movies like '13 Minutes' (2021) and even had leading roles in TV shows like 'Save Me' (2013), 'Aftermath' (2016) and 'The Brave (2017-2018).
She also appeared several times in 'Chicago PD' (2018-2019) and was a contestant in 'Dancing with the Stars' in 2020.
In 2020, Heche began a podcast together with her friend Heather Duffy. They talked open-heartedly about different topics and "celebrated friendship."
On the day of her accident, Anne Heche was heard in her podcast saying that she was having a "very bad day." Her speech was slurred. It is unclear whether this podcast was recorded in the morning of her death or at an earlier time.
Image: 'Better Together' podcast
In the morning of August 5, 2022, she crashed her Mini Cooper into a building in the Los Angeles. Both the car and the house went into flames. Minutes before the accident, she had taken a selfie with a local hair stylist where she had bought a wig. She didn't look like the Anne Heche from the 1990s' and 2000s' red carpets.
Image: Glass Hair Design / Instagram
Anne Heche sustained severe burns and inhaled smoke for about half an hour before firemen could save her from the car. She was in a coma for a week until her family announced to the press that there was no hope for the fallen actress. On Friday, August 12, she was declared brain dead and her body on life support for the possibility of organ donation only.
Anne Heche left behind her two sons, Atlas and Homer.