Anne Heche says going public with her romance with Ellen DeGeneres had a detrimental effect on her career.
"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 about their high profile relationship in a taped segment Monday night on “Dancing With the Stars” before she took the floor to perform a paso doble.
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“In 1997, I met Ellen DeGeneres at the Vanity Fair party and that was the night that changed my life forever," Heche said. The “Six Days Seven Nights” star, who was considered a rising star in Hollywood at the time, said her career took a detour after she and DeGeneres went to the premiere of her movie “Volcano.”
"My movie premiere for 'Volcano,' I had told them that I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen I would lose my Fox contract," she 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."
"She was warning me, 'This is going to happen,' " Heche, 51, said.
Heche said there was little acceptance of their romance, which had a long-term impact on her own standing in Hollywood.
"I was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres for 3 1/2 years, and the stigma attached to that relationship was so bad that I was fired from my multimillion-dollar picture deal, and I did not work in a studio picture for 10 years," Heche said.
Heche and DeGeneres were together from 1997 until 2000, becoming one of Hollywood’s most well-known couples during a period when women did not typically have an open same-sex relationship.
Heche, who was eliminated on Monday night’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars,” still has a sense of vindication.
"I feel redeemed,” she said after she finished her performance.
While Heche says the relationship had a negative impact on her career, she is still proud of the barriers it broke.
"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.”