Ellen DeGeneres’ ex-girlfriend Anne Heche is weighing in on the host’s character following allegations that she watched over a “toxic” work environment that included racism and sexual harassment. DeGeneres’ eponymous show is currently the subject of an internal probe at WarnerMedia.
The 51-year-old said in a cover story for Mr. Warburton Magazine that her words should be taken with a grain of salt: “I haven’t spoken to Ellen in years. I’d listen to the people who have.”
Still, the Emmy-winner said that their nearly four-year relationship was a “beautiful part” of her life that she wears “with honor” but hinted that there might be something to the complaints.
“If I’m standing someplace and I don’t like what’s going on there and I stay there, it’s my fault,” said Heche, who dated DeGeneres from 1997 to 2000. “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 added, “Ellen is standing where she walks, and that is hers to continue that journey.”
Heche also spoke out about the considerable price she paid for being open about their relationship. She was pulled out of the premiere for Volcano simply for showing up with her. Heche said: “I was told by Fox Studio executives that if I brought Ellen to the premiere, my contract would be terminated. I brought Ellen despite those threats, and we were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security and not allowed to attend the premiere party because they did not want any photos of us together.”
She had supporters too though. Harrison Ford insisted on having her costar in Six Days, Seven Nights.He called her on the phone to say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn who you are f***ing. Let’s make the best romantic comedy anyone has ever seen!” Alec Baldwin also demanded that she co-star on Broadway in Twentieth Century, in whichAnne received a 2004 Tony nomination for her role as Lily Garland.
Heche also sees their openness as paving the way to a more accepting environment. She said: “I’m proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward, but there is still work to do. 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.”