IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Anne Heche reflects on dating Ellen DeGeneres: 'I was a part of a revolution'

Heche and DeGeneres were among the most well-known celebrity couples during the course of their relationship.
Anne Heche;Ellen Degeneres
DeGeneres and Heche were together from 1997 until 2000.Mirek Towski / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Nearly two decades after they split up, Anne Heche knows her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres was groundbreaking.

"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.”

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

Ellen DeGeneres And Anne Heche Split
Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres attend the Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Jan. 18, 1998 in Beverly Hills, California.Ron Wolfson / Getty Images

Heche and DeGeneres were a couple from 1997 until 2000, becoming one of Hollywood’s most well-known items at a time when an open same-sex relationship between two women was not common.

“I’m proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward, but there is still work to do,” Heche said.

“I’ve paved this way for myself, and my honesty had every single thing to do with it. I think every interaction we have should begin with whether or not we can look at and talk to other human beings with 100% respect. My answer will always be ‘yes.’ We have to agree that it’s a possibility and that we all deserve it.”

Heche even appeared on DeGeneres' sitcom, "Ellen."Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Heche married Coley Laffoon in 2001. In 2002, they had a son named Homer before divorcing in 2009. She went on to have another son, Atlas, in 2009 with "Men in Trees" co-star James Tupper, whom she broke up with in 2018. DeGeneres started dating Portia DeRossi in 2004. They married in 2008.

Heche said the reception to her and DeGeneres had an impact on her own career, recalling how she was told not to bring DeGeneres to the premiere of her 1997 movie “Volcano,” or she risked losing her contract with Fox.

Heche said they were led out of the theater before the film ended and not permitted to attend the after-party because studio officials did not want them photographed together.

"Volcano" Hollywood Premiere
Heche and DeGeneres at the "Volcano" Hollywood premiere. Heche says she was told not to bring DeGeneres to the event.Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

"The difference between what would happen today and what happened then is that I would not have been ushered out of my own premiere and fired from a multi-million-dollar picture deal with Fox for taking a girl as my date," Heche, who did bring DeGeneres with her, said.

As for the accusations of a toxic work environment on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Heche, 51, says she’s not necessarily the best person to ask.

“I haven’t spoken to Ellen in years. I’d listen to the people who have,” she said.

“If I’m standing someplace and I don’t like what’s going on there and I stay there, it’s my fault,” she added. “So what are the actions that got me there and why can’t I get out of it easily if that’s not something that I want to be engaged in? Ellen is standing where she walks, and that is hers to continue that journey."