Anne Heche is opening up about her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres 20 years later as the talk show host is embroiled in a controversy surrounding allegations of a "toxic" work environment. The actress, 51, reflected on her time with DeGeneres and the discrimination they faced as a same-sex couple in her cover interview with Mr. Warburton magazine for the September issue.
"Our time was a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor," she said of her ex. "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 recalled being escorted out of her own movie premiere for the 1997 picture Volcano because she had brought DeGeneres as her date shortly after the comedian had come out publicly as gay in her self-titled sitcom. "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 said.
DeGeneres and Heche would split in 2000, but Heche said she is "proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward," noting there is "still work to do" when it comes to pushing for equality in the LGBTQ community. "I’ve paved this way for myself, and my honesty had every single thing to do with it," the actress continued. "I think every interaction we have should begin with whether or not we can look at and talk to other human beings with 100 percent respect. My answer will always be ‘yes.’ We have to agree that it’s a possibility and that we all deserve it."
DeGeneres has come under fire recently after current and former employees came forward with allegations of racism, sexual misconduct and harassment behind the scenes of the show. The conditions are under investigation by Warner Media, but DeGeneres denied knowledge of what was going on with her production staff in an apology. Of the recent accusations on DeGeneres' show, Heche told Mr. Warburton, "I haven’t spoken to Ellen in years. I’d listen to the people who have."
"If I’m standing someplace and I don’t like what’s going on there and I stay there, it’s my fault. 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?" she said. "Ellen is standing where she walks, and that is hers to continue that journey."