Anne Heche’s new memoir reveals how a director asked her to hide her sexuality ‘like Jodie Foster’

Anne Heche

Anne Heche’s posthumous memoir has given new insight into her famous 90s romance with Ellen DeGeneres, and the homophobia she faced from a director who asked her to conceal her sexuality.

In an excerpt from Call Me Anne, obtained by People, the late actress explains that the former Ellen DeGeneres Show host was the first and only woman she ever fell in love with. 

“When I met Ellen and she was open and honest about her sexuality, it was the most attractive and alluring quality in a person that I had ever seen,” she writes in the book.

“I was mesmerised by her honesty, and that is why she was the first and only woman that I ever fell in love with.

“I was in love with a person who had chosen to leverage her very public persona in support of the cause she was standing up for, which was LGBTQ+ rights for everybody on the planet who wanted them.”

Widely considered Hollywood’s first lesbian power couple, Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres first got together in 1997 and dated until 2000.

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In the memoir, Heche recalls how her public relationship with DeGeneres caused friction on the set of her 1998 film, Six Days, Seven Nights, and that co-star Harrison Ford and director Ivan Reitman confronted her about the couple’s rumoured pregnancy in Ford’s trailer.

“They had seen the evening news. Rumours were reported that Ellen and I were pregnant. Our ‘pregnancy’ was everywhere. They showed me this as proof of why this openness about my relationship was becoming a pain in the ass for them.

“Ivan asked me, ‘Why can’t I just be like Jodie Foster?’ I didn’t know what that meant. ‘Everybody knows it,’ he explained, ‘it’ being her sexuality. ‘She just doesn’t talk about it.’

Ellen DeGeneres Anne Heche at 55th Annual Golden Globes Awards Show 1998
Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche at the 1998 Golden Globes. (Getty Images/Bob Riha Jr)

“I found it odd that anyone thought I could get pregnant so quickly with a woman, but even odder, that they cared so much about the perception that I was going to ruin a movie that hadn’t even been shot?”

In the memoir, Heche also laments how no-one bothered to ask her about her relationship, despite her concerted efforts to be transparent and open in a bid to break stigma about same-sex love.

“No matter how many articles were written about me, no one asked me why I had done what I did,” she wrote. “What was the force that would have made a human being risk everything they’d been promised, their entire career? Why? Why would I have done that?”

Previous excerpts from Call Me Anne, which will be released on 24 January, have revealed that Heche didn’t define her sexuality, and that it felt “alien” to her.

“I did not, personally, identify as a lesbian. I simply fell in love! It was, to be clear, as odd to me as anyone else. There were no words to describe how I felt.

“Gay didn’t feel right, and neither did straight. Alien might be the best fit, I sometimes thought.”

Anne Heche tragically died in August 2022 after she crashed her car into a home in Los Angeles. She is survived by her sons Homer and Atlas.

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