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Anne Heche’s life of tragedy, triumph and trauma before near-fatal crash

Anne Heche’s bizarre California car crash is not the first time the actress has faced a serious fork in the road —  usually dusting herself off and careening into the next phase of her turbulent life and career.

This time, the 53-year-old actress, is in a hospital bed being treated for severe burns suffered during a crash in Los Angeles, during which her blue Mini Cooper hurtled down a narrow street, plowed into a house and burst into flames.

Minutes earlier, witnesses said, Heche had smashed the tiny vehicle into a garage door, with what appeared to be a vodka bottle in her cupholder, before speeding away.

She ended up trapped inside the flaming wreck, seriously hurt as first responders struggled to extricate her.

The odd behavior and potentially tragic circumstances evoked memories of the very public breakdown she suffered decades ago after the end of her scandalous affair with Ellen DeGeneres.

The mother of two — who claims to have overcome a childhood of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and being blacklisted in Hollywood following her breakup with the talk show host — had been keeping a relatively low profile of late.

Heche allegedly had a vodka bottle in her cupholder.
Heche seen getting help from first responders after the crash.
Fox 11

She’d been doing a podcast, “Better Together,” in recent months with a close friend, PR executive Heather Duffy Boylston. But she appeared erratic at times — and trashed DeGeneres with great bitterness.

“I didn’t do a studio picture for 10 years,” she said of the affair’s fallout. “I was fired from a $10 million picture deal and did not see the light of day in a studio picture.”

The break-up dominated the gossip pages in August 2002, when an incoherent and babbling Heche knocked on the door of a stranger’s home in central California and was eventually carted off by ambulance to a hospital, hours after her relationship with DeGeneres ended.

“I’m not crazy,” Heche later told ABC News. “But it’s a crazy life. I was raised in a crazy family and it took 31 years to get the crazy out of me.”

According to interviews Heche’s given over the years, she was raped and molested from the time she was a toddler to the age of 12 by her father, Don Heche, a Baptist minister and church organist who was a closet homosexual.

“He raped me, he stuck his d–k in my mouth, he fondled me, he put me on all fours, and had sex with me,” Heche told ABC News in 2001, although she admitted that the abuse is only “in my memory.”

Following her affair with the talk show host, Heche suffered a public breakdown.
Heche had recently bashed Ellen DeGeneres on her “Better Together” podcast.
AFP via Getty Images

“I think it’s always hard for children to talk about abuse because it is only memory. I didn’t carry around a tape recorder … I didn’t chisel anything in stone … Anybody can look and say, ‘Well how do you know for sure?’ And that’s one of the most painful things about it. You don’t.”

She contracted genital herpes from her father and was afraid after his death from AIDS that she was infected, too, Heche said.

Her mother, Nancy, refused to acknowledge the sexual abuse and the two were often estranged, according to the actress.

Nancy Heche did not respond to a call from The Post. After the publication of Heche’s 2001 memoir, “Call Me Crazy,” Nancy Heche wrote that she found “no place among the lies and blasphemies in the pages of this book.”

She suffered serious burns as a result of the crash.
Heche was trapped inside the flaming wreck for her car as first responders struggled to extricate her.

Anne Heche was listed in stable condition Saturday with severe burns after she miraculously survived the crash in the Mar Vista section of LA.

It took firefighters more than an hour to pull her out of the wreck, which also destroyed the house.

Heche was seen rising off the stretcher as she was taken by paramedics to the ambulance, “almost as if she were a criminal trying to bolt the scene,” neighbor David Manpearl, the first person on the scene, told The Post on Saturday. “But I guess she must have just been in pain.”

An LAPD spokesman told The Post that they had no information about whether Heche had been drinking at the time of the crash. No charges have been filed.

Her most recent boyfriend, actor Thomas Jane, with whom she split around 2020 but remains friendly, issued a statement saying Heche was going to “pull through.” The two met on the set of “Hung,” an HBO comedy-drama that ran from 2009-2011.

Jane was one of several high-profile relationships in Heche’s life. She dated the much-older comedian Steve Martin from 1994 to 1997, right before she met DeGeneres. After she broke up with DeGeneres she married cameraman Coleman Laffoon, with whom she has a son, Homer, 20, before divorcing him. She had a second son, Atlas, from her relationship with actor James Tupper.

Anne was born in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest in a struggling family of five children. Her father died in 1983 of AIDS, after revealing his secret lifestyle to his family shortly before his death, she said.

“He was in complete denial until the day he died,” Heche told CNN’s Larry King in 2001. “We know he got it from his gay relationships. Absolutely. I don’t think it was just one. He was a very promiscuous man, and we knew his lifestyle then.”

Anne Heche and Thomas Jane
Heche is expected to “pull through” after the scary scene.
Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for 2019 Sarasota Film Festival

Anne’s brother Nathan died at 18, three months after their father, in a car wreck.

Nathan’s car “left the road and struck a tree,” according to a report at the time from Noble County, Indiana.

“He was alone at the time and apparently fell asleep at the wheel,” the report said. Anne, however, said she believed it was suicide.

Early on, to deal with her trauma, Heche said she did what she could to escape.

“I drank. I smoked. I did drugs. I had sex with people. I did anything I could to get the shame out of my life,” she said.

Her career helped. Heche got her start at a young age in soap operas. She played identical twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love on “Another World” from 1987 to 1991 and vaulted into movies like “Wag the Dog,” and “Donnie Brasco.” One of her biggest films was 1998’s “Six Days Seven Nights” opposite Harrison Ford.

Heche's car was destroyed after the collision.
Before the accident, witnesses said Heche crashed her car into a garage door.

She met DeGeneres at an Oscar party in 1997.

“I saw the most ravishing woman I had ever seen in my life standing across the room,” Heche said in 2001. “Her name was Ellen DeGeneres. She was radiating. I think at certain times in people’s lives you just radiate an energy and a glow of fabulousness. And that was her. I had never seen anybody so lit up.”

The pair went home together and Heche said it “was the best sex I’ve ever had.”

“I felt cared for … I felt free to express a part of me that I had not been able to express with a man,” said Heche, who said she had never been with a woman before. “I felt sensuous and sexual in a way I hadn’t before.”

After their split, Heche knocked on that stranger’s door and asked if she could take a shower. When she wouldn’t leave, the police were called.

“I was told to go to a place where I would meet a spaceship. I was told in order to get on the spaceship that I would have to take a hit of Ecstasy,” Heche said at the time. “Fresno was the culmination of a journey and a world that I thought I needed to escape to in order to find love.”

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