Actress Anne Heche remains in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Los Angeles hospital as police continue to investigate the fiery car crash she was involved in Friday morning.
Heche, the former partner of Ellen DeGeneres, drove her Mini Cooper into a house in the Mar Vista section of Los Angeles at about 11 a.m. Friday, and the house and car caught fire. It took firefighters over an hour to extinguish the blaze, which destroyed the home. The homeowner was in the backyard and escaped injury.
“Anne is in the ICU; she’s lucky to be alive,” a source close to Heche told CNN Saturday. “She has severe burns and has a long recovery ahead. Her team and her family are still trying to process what led up to the crash.”
Heche was driving at a high speed, L.A. police told CNN. They are investigating the Mar Vista crash as well as an earlier one that they called a “misdemeanor hit and run.” Another report, from TMZ, says Heche had crashed into a nearby apartment building’s garage beforehand and drove off. Law enforcement officials have said she was under the influence and driving erratically. Police have not been able to question Heche yet because of the severity of her injuries.
Some news outlets have pointed to a recent episode of her podcast with Heather Duffy Boylston, Better Together With Anne and Heather, in which Heche was drinking vodka and wine and appeared to be intoxicated. However, the episode was recorded several days earlier, a representative for Heche told TMZ, and it was posted Thursday, not Friday, as some reports had it. It has now been taken down.
Boylston has released a statement saying Heche’s “family and friends ask for your thoughts and prayers and to respect her privacy during this difficult time.”
Heche and DeGeneres were in a relationship from 1997 to 2000 and were a high-profile couple, with many public appearances, especially around the time of DeGeneres’s coming-out in 1997.
Their breakup was also very public, amid reports that Heche was wandering disoriented along a road in central California and went into a stranger’s home. The couple released a statement calling their parting “amicable.” Heche later said that being in a same-sex romance cost her work in Hollywood, but she was proud to have been “part of a revolution that created social change.” In an interview with Page Six last year, she said studios didn’t want her in their movies for several years and that she felt like “patient zero in cancel culture.”
“This wasn’t a long-term love affair,” she told Page Six of her relationship with DeGeneres. “This was a moment in my life when I was given the glory of being able to stand up for what I believe in and have since I was a kid.”
In that interview, she also praised her Six Days Seven Nights costar, Harrison Ford, for standing up for her when the studio appeared to cool on her as they were about to start production on that film, which came out in 1998. “He said, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn who you’re sleeping with,’” she said. “’We have a romantic comedy to make. Let’s make it the best one that’s ever happened.’”
“That is why Harrison Ford is my hero,” Heche said.
Heche later married a man, camera operator Coley Laffoon, and then was in a relationship with James Tupper. She has had one child with each. She has authored an autobiography, Call Me Crazy, and has talked about being the daughter of a closeted gay man.
Heche’s films include Donnie Brasco, Wag the Dog, John Q, and Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho. She has appeared in numerous TV series and was Emmy-nominated for one of them, Gracie’s Choice. She won a Daytime Emmy for her role in the soap opera Another World early in her career, and she received GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award in 2000, honoring her as an LGBTQ+ media professional who has advanced acceptance of the community.
More recently, she has been writing a second book and has had many acting jobs. She has had a recurring role on the TV series All Rise and has wrapped a Lifetime movie, Girl in Room 13.