Ellen DeGeneres ex Anne Heche says romance made her into patient zero in cancel culture

Meghan Markle opens up in interview with Ellen DeGeneres

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52-year-old Anne Heche might have suffered prejudice due to her sexuality, but she regards her part in fighting the culture of homophobia in the entertainment industry as a proud “badge of honour”. The actress from Ohio first went public with her romance when she invited Ellen DeGeneres to be her date for the premiere of her 1997 movie Volcano.

I was fired from a $10 million picture deal

Anne Heche

However, the eruption that followed was just as stormy as the film’s title might suggest, as she claims it saw her get fired from a high profile movie.

“I was fired from a $10 million picture deal and did not see the light of day in a studio picture,” she has stated to Page Six.

She had been expected to take up a role, but says that as soon as her lesbian relationship entered the public eye, she was informed by the studio that she was out of the running.

“[After that], I didn’t do a studio pic for 10 years,” she stated.

During that era, Anne endured homophobic comments and critics’ attempts to scandalise the age gap between the pair, as Ellen was 11 years her senior.

However, ironically, her starring role in romantic comedy Six Days, Seven Nights, alongside 79-year-old Harrison Ford, also depicted an age gap.

Ford, in contrast to the critics, had a supportive message about her sexuality, phoning to declare: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn who you’re sleeping with!

“We have a romantic comedy to make. Let’s make it the best one that’s ever happened.”

Not only was Anne appreciative of his kind message, but she was also glad she played a part in trying to raise awareness of the fight against homophobia during her career.

Regarding him as a “hero” for standing by her, she added: “[It was] at such a tumultuous time when the force of what I was standing up for could have been toppled.”

Her relationship with Ellen was quite short-lived, but for Anne, the main thing was what it represented – the courage to stand up and reveal her true identity, regardless of repercussions.

She said of the three-year romance: “This wasn’t a long-term love affair, [but it] 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.”

She added that Ellen joining her at the premiere delivered a message to the public “about living in loving-kindness”.

Before coming out and dating Ellen, she had played a lesbian on-screen in the 1995 erotic thriller Wild Side, with Joan Chen co-starring as her lover.

Yet it seemed the movie industry might not have been ready to see real life match the sexy fictional storylines – and the mother of two says she became “patient zero in cancel culture”.

Anne’s career has since recovered and she now defines herself as sexually fluid, meaning that she is open to relationships with men or women.

Meanwhile she will no doubt be delighted to support her ex Ellen DeGeneres in her big TV moment today, when her interview with Meghan Markle is screened on TV.

Some fans have claimed Ellen took a swipe at the duchess’s acting abilities in a preview clip published on social media, when she queried Meghan over auditioning so often that the security guards knew her and wished her luck.

A clip has also been unearthed of Ellen appearing to mock Meghan’s former role on Deal Or No Deal, joking: “If Harry had picked the other model [holding a different briefcase] he could have gotten $1million… darn it!”

Fans can catch Anne Heche in her latest movie, 13 Seconds, out digitally on November 19.

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