Anne Heche’s life was full of tragedy, triumph and trauma before the near-fatal crash

Anne Heche’s bizarre car accident in California isn’t the first time the actress has faced a serious crossroads — she usually dusts herself off and rushes into the next phase of her tumultuous life and career.

This time, the 53-year-old actress is lying in a hospital bed being treated for severe burns she sustained in an accident in Los Angeles that saw her blue Mini Cooper hurtle down a narrow street, plowed into a house and burst into flames.

Minutes earlier, witnesses said, Heche had smashed the tiny vehicle with what appeared to be a vodka bottle in its cup holder into a garage door before speeding away.

She landed in the burning wreckage and was seriously injured as first responders struggled to extricate her.

The odd behavior and potentially tragic circumstances brought back memories of the very public meltdown she suffered decades earlier following the end of her scandalous affair with Ellen DeGeneres.

The mother-of-two – who claims to have overcome a childhood of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and was blacklisted after her split from the Hollywood talk show host – had been keeping a relatively low profile of late.

Heche reportedly had a vodka bottle in her cup holder.
Heche saw receiving help from first responders after the crash.
fox 11

She had been doing the Better Together podcast with a close friend, public relations executive Heather Duffy Boylston, for the past few months. But she seemed unpredictable at times — and destroyed DeGeneres with great bitterness.

“I haven’t done a studio film for ten years,” she said of the aftermath of the affair. “I got fired from a $10 million deal and never saw the light of day in a studio picture.”

The breakup dominated the gossip pages in August 2000, when an incoherent and chattering heche knocked on a stranger’s door in central California and was eventually rushed to a hospital by ambulance, hours after her relationship with DeGeneres ended.

“I’m not crazy,” Heche later told ABC News. “But it’s a crazy life. I grew up in a crazy family and it took me 31 years to go crazy.”

According to interviews Heche has given over the years, from childhood until she was 12, she was raped and abused by her father, Don Heche, a Baptist minister and church organist who was a secret homosexual.

“He raped me, he put his dk in my mouth, he fondled me, he got me on all fours and had sex with me,” Heche told ABC News in 2001, though she admitted that the abuse was only “in” is my memory.”

After her affair with the talk show host, Heche suffered a public meltdown.
Heche recently slammed Ellen DeGeneres on her Better Together podcast.
AFP via Getty Images

“I think it’s always hard for kids to talk about abuse because it’s just a memory. I didn’t carry a tape recorder around with me… I didn’t set anything in stone… Anyone can look and say, ‘Well, how do you know exactly?’ And that’s one of the most painful things about it. You don’t.”

She contracted genital herpes from her father and after his death from AIDS, she was afraid she would catch it too, Heche said.

Her mother, Nancy, refused to acknowledge the sexual abuse and the two were often estranged, according to the actress.

Nancy Heche didn’t respond to a call from The Post. After the publication of Heche’s memoir, Call Me Crazy, in 2001, Nancy Heche wrote that she found “no place among the lies and blasphemy within the pages of this book.”

She suffered severe burns from the impact.
Heche was trapped in the burning wreckage of her car as first responders struggled to free her.

Anne Heche was listed in stable condition on Saturday with severe burns after miraculously surviving the crash in LA’s Mar Vista neighborhood.

It took firefighters more than an hour to pull her out of the wreck, which also destroyed the house.

Heche was seen getting off the stretcher as paramedics took her to the ambulance, “almost as if she were a criminal trying to seal the scene,” said neighbor David Manpearl, the first person at the scene , told The Post on Saturday. “But I guess she must have just been in pain.”

An LAPD spokesman told the Post that they had no information on whether Heche was drinking at the time of the crash. No charges were brought.

Her most recent boyfriend, actor Thomas Jane, with whom she split around 2020 but remains friends, issued a statement saying Heche will “follow through.” The two met on the set of “Hung,” an HBO comedy that ran from 2009 to 2011.

Jane was one of several high-profile relationships in Heche’s life. She dated much older comedian Steve Martin from 1994 to 1997, shortly before meeting DeGeneres. After splitting from DeGeneres, she married cinematographer Coleman Laffoon, with whom she has a son, Homer, 20, before divorcing him. She had a second son, Atlas, from her relationship with actor James Tupper.

Anne was born in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest in a struggling family of five children. Her father died of AIDS in 1983 after revealing his secret lifestyle to his family shortly before his death, she said.

“He was in complete denial until the day he died,” Heche told CNN’s Larry King in 2001. “We know he got it from his gay relationships. Absolutely. I don’t think it was just one. He was a very promiscuous man and we knew his lifestyle at the time.”

Anne Heche and Thomas Jane
Heche is said to “pull through” after the scary scene.
Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for the 2019 Sarasota Film Festival

Anne’s brother Nathan died in a car accident at the age of 18, three months after their father.

According to a report from Noble County, Indiana at the time, Nathan’s car “ran off the road and hit a tree.”

“He was alone at the time and apparently fell asleep at the wheel,” the report said. However, Anne said she believes it was suicide.

To cope with her trauma, Heche said early on that she did what she could to escape.

“I drank. I smoked. I did drugs. I had sex with people. I did everything I could to take the shame out of my life,” she said.

Her career helped. Heche started doing soap operas at a young age. She played identical twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love in Another World from 1987 to 1991 and appeared in films such as Wag the Dog and Donnie Brasco. One of her biggest films was 1998’s “Six Days Seven Nights” with Harrison Ford.

Heche's car was destroyed after the collision.
Before the accident, witnesses said Heche drove her car into a garage door.

She met DeGeneres at an Oscar party in 1997.

“I saw the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen in my life standing across the room,” Heche said in 2001. “Her name was Ellen DeGeneres. She beamed. I think at certain times in people’s lives you just radiate an energy and a glow of fabulousness. And she was. I had never seen anyone so enlightened.”

The pair went home together, and Heche said it was “the best sex I’ve ever had.”

“I felt cared for … I felt free to express a part of me that I couldn’t express in a man,” said Heche, who said she had never been with a woman before. “I felt sensual and sexual in a way I had never felt before.”

After their breakup, Heche knocked on the stranger’s door and asked if she could take a shower. When she refused to go, the police were called.

“I was told to go to a place where I would meet a spaceship. I was told I would have to take a hit of ecstasy to get on the spaceship,” Heche said at the time. “Fresno was the culmination of a journey and a world I thought I had to flee to find love.” Anne Heche’s life was full of tragedy, triumph and trauma before the near-fatal crash


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