In an excerpt of Call Me Anne, obtained by People, the late actress wrote that the former Ellen DeGeneres Show host, with whom she was in a relationship from 1997 to 2000, was the only woman she ever fell in love with. She also detailed the chaos behind-the-scenes when they first got together in 1997 — and how the world, and Hollywood, just wasn't ready.
A lot happened in a little amount of time. As DeGeneres was coming out on her eponymous show and in real life in 1997, she met the Volcano actress and they fell head over heels. Both were warned of the impact it could have on their careers, with Heche being dissuaded from bringing DeGeneres to the premiere of Volcano for fear the relationship would impact the film's success. They attended together anyway, resulting in Heche losing a "multimillion dollar picture deal." Heche had also just signed a big film deal to play Harrison Ford's love interest in Six Days, Seven Nights — and her new romance apparently had director Ivan Reitman concerned.
"I was called into my costar Harrison Ford's trailer one lunch break within the first week of shooting," Heche wrote in the book. "I was met with the sight of director Ivan Reitman and Harrison sitting on one of two white pleather sofas. I hesitantly sat on the opposite white pleather sofa."
Heche said the men had "seen the evening news," including an erroneous report that she and DeGeneres, who had just met, were pregnant with their first child together.
"Rumors were reported that Ellen and I were pregnant," she wrote. "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. Why, Ivan asked me, 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.')" (Foster came out in 2013.)
Heche recalled feeling it was "odd" that anyone would think two women "could get pregnant so quickly," but she felt it was even more strange that "they cared so much about the perception that I was going to ruin a movie that hadn't even been shot?"
For what it's worth, Ford became Heche's on-set mentor, according to the publisher's summary of the book. Reitman died in 2022.
The Men in Trees actress wrote that, upon refection, the "most devastating thing of all" — from when she started dating DeGeneres until when she released her first book, Call Me Crazy, in 2001 after they split — "was that no one bothered to ask me about any of it. No matter how many articles were written about me, no one asked me why I had done what I did. 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?"
She wrote that since nobody asked, she would explain why. "Because I had lived in a family that was built upon lies," Heche wrote. "My father hid his sexuality his entire life. 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."
Heche said she was "mesmerized" by DeGeneres's "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."
The late star added, "Love became my destiny."
With the blinding spotlight on them, Heche split from DeGeneres in 2000. She went on to marry Coley Laffoon, and Heche had her first son, Homer, now 20. After her divorce, she and her Men in Trees co-star James Tupper had a relationship, which produced son Atlas, now 13. Heche and Tupper split in 2018.
Heche died after being involved in a car crash on Aug. 5, when her Mini Cooper slammed into a house and caught on fire, leaving her trapped in the vehicle for 30 minutes. She was comatose for days before the state of California declared that she was legally dead on Aug. 12. On Aug. 14, she was taken off life support. She died primarily from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, according to the medical examiner. Despite initial reports, Heche wasn't drunk or high when she crashed her car.
DeGeneres, who has been married to Portia de Rossi since 2008, made a rare comment about her ex after her death. "This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family, and friends all of my love," DeGeneres wrote on Twitter.
Homer was named the general administrator of Heche's estate, after a court battle with Tupper. Homer recently used Heche's Instagram to promote her new memoir, calling it "the product of mom's further efforts to share her story and to help others where she could. Call Me Anne is the result and I know she was excited to share with the world. So, mom, here I am sharing it with the community you created, may it flourish and take on a life of its own, as you would have wanted."
Call Me Anne goes on sale Jan. 24.