Ellen DeGeneres Reacts To Anne Heche's Heartbreaking Death

When Anne Heche's fans learned that she had died days after being hospitalized for injuries sustained in a catastrophic car accident, many paid tribute to the "Another World" star on Twitter, remembering her as a true trailblazer for going public with her relationship with comedian Ellen DeGeneres.

"Kids today don't know what it was like, but I vividly recall when Anne Heche and Ellen Degeneres came out about their relationship back in 1997. I was in awe, and remember thinking, 'This could really change things for people.' Thank you for so bravely taking that step, Anne,'" tweeted screenwriter Ted Geoghegan. In a 2020 interview with Mr. Warburton, Heche opened up about how risky it was to be an out member of the LGBTQ+ community in Hollywood at the time she and DeGeneres were dating. Heche wanted to attend the premiere of her 1997 movie "Volcano" with her girlfriend but was warned by Fox execs that she would lose her contract if she did. Heche invited DeGeneres anyway. "We were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security," she recalled.

Heche and DeGeneres broke up in 2000, and the following year, DeGeneres compared the painful split to the loss of a girlfriend who had died in a car crash. "It's almost worse to lose someone and know they're still alive out there," she told the Los Angeles Times. After Heche met a similar fate two decades later, DeGeneres had something to say about her ex's death.

When Anne Heche died, she and Ellen DeGeneres weren't on speaking terms

In 2020, Anne Heche told Mr. Warburton that she and Ellen DeGeneres hadn't spoken to each other in years, and DeGeneres confirmed that they were no longer in contact when a photographer asked her about Heche's car crash. At the time, doctors were still trying to save Heche, who was in a coma. "I don't want anyone to be hurt," DeGeneres stated, per Entertainment Tonight. After the news of Heche's death broke, DeGeneres had a bit more to say. "This is a sad day. I'm sending Anne's children, family and friends all of my love," she tweeted.

Some of the former talk show host's followers took issue with her statement, complaining that it was too little too late or pointing out that it lacked any sentiment regarding Heche herself. "Let's just be honest. Ellen posted this for her PR and nothing more. She's not going to lose a minute of sleep tonight," read one tweet.

DeGeneres and Heche's breakup was a bitter one. "It was the first time I've had my heart broken, and it was in a big way," DeGeneres told the Los Angeles Times in 2001. And while it likely would have been a huge ratings draw, DeGeneres purportedly had no interest in ever making peace with her ex for the sake of her talk show; in 2017, a source told Radar that Heche had been banned from appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."