Anne Heche

Anne Heche Says Relationship With Ellen DeGeneres Cost Her Huge Movie Deal

Heche claims she didn't appear in a studio offering for a decade because of the romance

In this Sept. 14, 1997, file photo, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres and actress Anne Heche attend the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Anne Heche says going public with her romance with Ellen DeGeneres had a detrimental effect on her career.

"My story is a story that created change in the world, moved the needle for equal rights forward, when I fell in love with Ellen DeGeneres,” Heche said about their high profile relationship in a taped segment Monday night on “Dancing With the Stars” before she took the floor to perform a paso doble.

Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.

“In 1997, I met Ellen DeGeneres at the Vanity Fair party and that was the night that changed my life forever," Heche said. The “Six Days Seven Nights” star, who was considered a rising star in Hollywood at the time, said her career took a detour after she and DeGeneres went to the premiere of her movie “Volcano.”

"My movie premiere for 'Volcano,' I had told them that I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen I would lose my Fox contract," she said.

"At that moment, she took my hand and said, 'Do what they say' and I said, 'No thanks.' I took Ellen to the premiere and I was ushered out before the movie even ended and was told I was not allowed to go to my own after party for fear that they would get pictures of me with a woman."

"She was warning me, 'This is going to happen,' " Heche, 51, said.

Heche said there was little acceptance of their romance, which had a long-term impact on her own standing in Hollywood.

"I was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres for 3 1/2 years, and the stigma attached to that relationship was so bad that I was fired from my multimillion-dollar picture deal, and I did not work in a studio picture for 10 years," Heche said.

Heche and DeGeneres were together from 1997 until 2000, becoming one of Hollywood’s most well-known couples during a period when women did not typically have an open same-sex relationship.

Heche, who was eliminated on Monday night’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars,” still has a sense of vindication.

"I feel redeemed,” she said after she finished her performance.

While Heche says the relationship had a negative impact on her career, she is still proud of the barriers it broke.

"Our time was a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor," Heche told Mr. Warburton magazine for its September issue. "I was a part of a revolution that created social change, and I could not have done that without falling in love with her."

This story first appeared on More from TODAY:

Copyright Today Digital Originals
Contact Us