Anne Heche had a long and successful career in Hollywood, but her personal life was full of tragedy.
The Ohio-born actress had a tumultuous childhood, moving 11 times with her family before they settled in New Jersey when she was 12. One year later, her father, Donald Heche, died of HIV/AIDS at age 45. The Wag the Dog star later claimed that Donald raped her repeatedly during her adolescence, giving her herpes.
Three months after Donald’s death, Anne’s brother Nathan died in a car crash at age 18. Officials determined at the time that he had fallen asleep at the wheel, but his sister believed that he died by suicide. The Murphy Brown alum opened up about the aftermath of Nathan’s death during a 2019 episode of Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry, revealing that her mother moved the family to Chicago shortly after her brother passed away.
“I do believe that it was the universe,” Anne told Henry of the move. “That something extraordinary needed to happen to get me out of what would certainly be my death — if I continued to live with my mother in that space.”
While the Donnie Brasco actress was still in high school, she scored an audition for the soap opera As the World Turns. She landed the role, but her mother told her she had to graduate first. Anne was then offered a different part on Another World, and this time, she took it — and later won a Daytime Emmy for her work.
The Tony Award nominee went on to appear in several 1990s blockbusters, including Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones and I Know What You Did Last Summer with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Anne’s personal life also made plenty of headlines at the time, as she’d started dating Ellen DeGeneres in 1997.
The Six Days, Seven Nights star later claimed that she was told not to bring the comedian with her to the Volcano premiere in April 1997. (DeGeneres had come out as a lesbian that same month.)
“I was told by Fox studio executives that if I brought Ellen to the premiere, my contract would be terminated,” the Chicago P.D. alum alleged in an August 2020 interview with Mr. Warburton. “I brought Ellen despite those threats, and we were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security and not allowed to attend the premiere party because they did not want any photos of us together.”
The Call Me Crazy author and the talk show host called it quits in 2000, but Anne told Mr. Warburton she was “proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward.”
Anne went on to date Coleman “Coley” Laffoon, with whom she shares son Homer, and James Tupper, with whom she shares son Atlas. In September 2021, she was linked to skincare guru Peter Thomas Roth.
The Dancing With the Stars alum racked up plenty of film and TV credits throughout the 2000s and 2010s, but in August 2022, her life was struck by tragedy again. After crashing her car into a home in Los Angeles, she was severely burned and later fell into a coma.
Six days after the accident, a representative for the actress told Us Weekly that she would likely not survive her injuries. “We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive.”
She was declared legally dead on August 12, 2022, after doctors found no brain activity. Since Heche was an organ donor, she remained on life support for two days until organ recipients were found. Hospital staff paid tribute to the late actress with an Honor Walk, allowing available staff to line the hall from her room to the operating room to honor her for saving lives.
Keep scrolling for a look back at Anne’s life in photos.