After reading the New York Times article “Anne Heche is Playing it Normal Now,” the phrase “save the drama for your mama” has never seemed so wrong. Actress Anne Heche dishes about family life, her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, and her strained relationship with her mother, who never acknowledged Heche’s sexual abuse at the hands of her father.
In the article, Heche reveals that she has never introduced her children to her mother, and for good reason. In addition to denying that Heche’s father abused her as a child, her mother became a Christian therapist, representing evangelical James Dobson’s Focus on the Family in its goal to encourage gays to “overcome” homosexuality. She told the Times:
My mother’s had a very tragic life. Three of her five children are dead, and her husband is dead. That she is attempting to change gay people into straight people is, in my opinion, a way to keep the pain of the truth out. People wonder why I am so forthcoming with the truths that have happened in my life, and it’s because the lies that I have been surrounded with and the denial that I was raised in, for better or worse, bore a child of truth and love. My mother preaches to this day the opposite of that core of my life. It is no mistake that she still stands up against love. And one wonders why I’m not rushing to have her meet my children.
There is no question that Anne Heche had a rough life, and it is wonderful that she is finally finding peace. However, I found the article to be a just a tad biased towards Heche’s relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. The author, I am sure, meant well, and the bias is admittedly subtle and most likely unintentional — but look at the title itself, “Anne Heche Is Playing It Normal Now.” Come on. After such a tumultuous life, what could be more normal and boring than dating ever so good natured and drama free Ellen DeGeneres?
And then there’s this excerpt:
Then, at the 1997 Vanity Fair Oscar party, lightning struck and she fell madly in love with Ellen DeGeneres, becoming half of the most famous lesbian couple in America. Because she had never given any indication of being gay, Heche was pilloried as both publicity hound and career opportunist — though in retrospect, given her experience with her duplicitous father and homophobic mother, it could seem that her attraction to DeGeneres had less to do with acting than acting out.
Maybe her attraction to DeGeneres had less to do with “acting out” than falling in love with a woman despite growing up in an environment that could have turned her away from the prospect altogether. It should be noted that Heche reiterates several times in the article that her love for DeGeneres was genuine.
In any event, here’s to Anne Heche for finding inner peace. Her new film, Spread, opens on August 14, and it portrays a romance between an older woman and a younger man. In the article, Heche mentions in passing that she took the role in part to “get rid of shame about getting older.” Oh come on, Anne! Don’t you know that cougars are in? RREOWR!