Bisexual actress Anne Heche has just opened up about her high-profile romance with Ellen DeGeneres, claiming that the industry backlash to their relationship was so harsh, they both lost jobs over their coupling.
Heche and DeGeneres dated from 1997-2000. The couple met at a Vanity Fair party just before DeGeneres’ notorious coming out, for which she appeared on the cover of Time. Her character on her eponymous sitcom also came out as well–the first time in history a sitcom lead had done so.
For Heche, the romance also came at a pivotal time in her career, just as she started landing more big-screen roles. Just prior to the premiere of her film Volcano, Heche opted to take DeGeneres as her date. That, she says, is when Hollywood turned on both women.
“I took Ellen, we were told that my contract for Fox would be extinguished and I would be fired,” Heche told the podcast Irish Goodbye. “And that the movie that I had just met Harrison Ford on wouldn’t hire me. And we went to the premiere – these are the stories that I know people don’t know. We went to the premiere, we were tapped on the shoulder, put into her limo in the third act and told that we couldn’t have pictures of us taken at the press junket – and both she and I were fired that week.”
For DeGeneres, that meant the cancellation of her sitcom. For Heche, that meant losing the leading role in the rom-com Six Days, Seven Nights…until her co-star intervened.
According to Heche, Harrison Ford himself demanded Fox rehired the actress. He also personally called her to let her know as much. “‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a f*** who you’re f***ing, we have a movie to make,’” Heche recalls Ford saying. “‘Let’s make it the best one ever.’”
Heche did go on to make Six Days, Seven Nights with Ford, though her mainstream career stalled thereafter. Still, despite the negative effect on her work life, and the nasty end to her relationship with DeGeneres–the two haven’t spoken in years–Heche has no regrets.
“When I met Ellen she was beaming light,” Heche says. “There was nothing that could have shone brighter than who she was in the center of that room. I’ll never forget. Our time was a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor. I was a part of a revolution that created social change, and I could not have done that without falling in love with her.”