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Anne Heche says that her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in 1997 cost her acting opportunities, and, as a result, she lost potentially millions of dollars she could have earned if she had been cast in more roles.
In a pre-recorded segment for Dancing with the Stars, from which she was recently eliminated, Heche recounted how her involvement in a same-sex relationship was poorly received in Hollywood.
Far from being embraced, Heche claims 20th Century Fox told her to keep her relationship with DeGeneres under wraps.
“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 in a pre-recorded segment.
She met DeGeneres at a party for Vanity Fair and began dating her in 1997, and — against the objections of executives at 20th Century Fox — took DeGeneres as her date to the premiere of the disaster movie Volcano, in which she co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones and Don Cheadle.
“I had told them I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen I would lose my Fox contract,” Heche 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.”
The couple remained together for about three-and-a-half years, but Heche said the relationship took a toll on her career — even though DeGeneres had warned her that studios might react unfavorably to her, reports Louisa Ballhaus for SheKnows.
“The stigma attached to that relationship was so bad that I was fired from my multi-million dollar picture deal and I did not work in a studio picture for 10 years,” Heche said.
20th Century Fox has not responded to Heche’s allegations.
Earlier this year, Heche spoke fondly of her relationship with DeGeneres in an interview with Mr. Warburton magazine, referring to it as “a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor.”
“I was a part of a revolution that created social change, and I could not have done that without falling in love with her,” Heche said.
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