‘I did not identify as a lesbian’: Anne Heche reflects on Ellen DeGeneres in upcoming memoir

The late actor opens up about her relationship with DeGeneres in Call Me Anne, a memoir finished shortly before her death, to be released in January

In a memoir Anne Heche worked on over the past year, the late actor shared candid thoughts on her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the late 1990s, when they were among Hollywood’s first openly gay couples.

“I was labeled [sic] outrageous because I fell in love with a woman. I had never been with a woman before I dated Ellen,” Heche wrote in Call Me Anne, which Start Publishing will release in January.

Heche, whose films included Donnie Brasco and Wag the Dog, died in August at 53, a week after crashing her car into a house in Los Angeles. She died from inhalation injury and burns after her fiery car crash and the death was ruled an accident by the coroner.

In her lifetime, Heche said that Hollywood effectively blacklisted her because of her relationship with DeGeneres, who around the same time made television history by having her character in the sitcom Ellen come out as gay. The couple dated between 1997 and 2000.

“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,” Heche wrote in her upcoming book, which is a sequel to her 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy.

“Gay didn’t feel right, and neither did straight. Alien might be the best fit, I sometimes thought. What, why, and how I fell in love with a person instead of their gender, I would have loved to have answered if anyone had asked, but as I said earlier, no one ever did. I am happy that I was able to tell you in this book – once and for all.”

Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres pictured in 2000
Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres pictured together in 2000. Photograph: Graham Whitby Boot/Allstar

Start, an independent publisher based in Hoboken, New Jersey, shared the excerpt this week with the Associated Press. The book’s publisher, Jarred Weisfeld, says that he signed a deal with Heche in May and that she had turned in a manuscript shortly before she died.

She will also write about having Harrison Ford as a mentor, along with stories about Alec Baldwin, Ivan Reitman and Oliver Stone, among others.

The book’s release was first announced by Publishers Weekly. Heche had mentioned writing a memoir during a podcast earlier this year, in which she promised that “some of the truths” about her and DeGeneres would be included.

When Heche died, DeGeneres wrote a brief statement on Twitter, “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Guardian staff and agencies

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