The entertainment world is still reeling from the news that Anne Heche passed away today. She was declared brain dead after falling into a coma in the aftermath of a horrifying car crash last week.
As tributes continue to pour in, people look back on Heche’s life and career. The award-winning actress performed in many acclaimed roles over the years. But she’s also remembered for her high-profile relationship with Ellen Degeneres from 1997 to 2000. The partnership brought Heche a lot of negative attention just as her star was on the rise in Hollywood.
During a 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Heche discussed one person who was in her corner when the negative press became overwhelming. Harrison Ford, with whom she starred in the 1998 action romantic-comedy Six Days Seven Nights. Heche called Ford “an extraordinary human being” for the encouragement.
“I would not have gotten that movie,” she said. “He called me the day after they said I wasn’t gonna get it, because I took Ellen to the [Volcano] premiere, and Harrison Ford, he was a hero. He said, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn who you’re sleeping with. We’re gonna make the best romantic comedy there is, and I’ll see ya on the set. He’s one of my heroes. He fought a battle for me, and I would be on any desert island with him any day.”
Anne Heche on the Backlash of Her Relationship
Heche went public with her relationship when she brought Degeneres as her date for the premiere screening of Volcano. At the time, a same-sex relationship was still extremely taboo in mainstream culture. As such, Heche risked her rising career to stick to her guns.
“My movie premiere for Volcano, I had told them that I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen I would lose my Fox contract,” Heche said during an episode of Dancing with the Stars. “At that moment, she took my hand and said, ‘Do what they say,’ and I said, ‘No thanks.’ I took Ellen to the premiere and I was ushered out before the movie even ended and was told I was not allowed to go to my own after party for fear that they would get pictures of me with a woman.”
Heche went on to say the stigma of her relationship with the comedian became so widespread that she was fired from a multi-million dollar movie deal. She said that she didn’t get to work a major studio pictures for 10 years following what happened. Despite the backlash, Heche said she was “proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward.”
“But there is still work to do,” she said. “I’ve paved this way for myself, and my honesty had every single thing to do with it. I think every interaction we have should begin with whether or not we can look at and talk to other human beings with 100 percent respect. My answer will always be ‘yes.’ We have to agree that it’s a possibility and that we all deserve it.”