Anne Heche says she could’ve been one of Hollywood’s biggest leading ladies if it weren’t for her short-lived relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.
In an interview with Page Six, Heche recalled her experience dating the famed talk show host and why that romance left her feeling like “patient zero in cancel culture.” She explained, “This wasn’t a long-term love affair. This was a moment in my life when I was given the glory of being able to stand up for what I believe in and have since I was a kid.” The pair were an item from 1997 to 2000, first making headlines when Heche invited DeGeneres as her date to the premiere of her 1997 film Volcano. She explained that her decision to spontaneously invite the comedian as a plus one was “about living in loving-kindness,” but she also quickly faced intense scrutiny and homophobia due to the same-sex relationship.
“I didn’t do a studio picture for 10 years. I was fired from a $10 million picture deal and did not see the light of day in a studio picture,” Heche claims of the fallout from their very public relationship. She added that the studio behind one of the films she was in talks to star in—the big-budget romantic comedy Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford—suddenly didn’t seem to want her in the role anymore after she started seeing DeGeneres. She was even told she wasn’t going to get the part. But then Ford called her up one day and, “He said, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn who you’re sleeping with. We have a romantic comedy to make. Let’s make it the best one that’s ever happened.’” She continued, “That is why Harrison Ford is my hero. To stand behind me at such a time when the force of what I was standing up for could have been toppled.” But even though she thinks dating DeGeneres may have sidelined her career, the actress says she’s still proud of being able to bring LGBTQ+ representation to the red carpet. “Those repercussions that happened, are to me what has created a part of the change,” Heche said. “I’m a part of it. It is a badge of honor.”
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