Anne Heche Dies from Injuries in L.A. Car Crash
The actress, made famous by her romance with Ellen DeGeneres, was removed from life support days after being hospitalized after crashing her car into a Mar Vista home, which then caught fire.
Heche was 53.
It was on August 5, when Heche was involved in a sequence of two car crashes in the Mar Vista neighborhood, first when the Mini Cooper she was driving hit a garage at an apartment complex, and second when she crashed into a house, resulting in a fire that left her severely burned.
A video recorded in the moments before the final crash shows Heche’s vehicle driving through a neighborhood street at a very high speed, followed a few seconds later by the sound of a crash. The vehicle collision and resulting house fire required 59 firefighters to handle, who took 65 minutes to fully extinguish the fire and rescue Heche from the vehicle. The house was left structurally compromised and uninhabitable. The tenant of the house sustained minor injuries.
Heche was removed from the crash scene on a stretcher, and was transported to a hospital. On August 8, a representative for Heche said she was in a coma in extremely critical condition, with medical ventilation required for a pulmonary injury. On August 11, the representative said that Heche was not expected to survive due to an anoxic brain injury, and that she was being kept on life support to determine if her organs are viable for donation, in accordance with her expressed wish to be an organ donor. Heche was declared brain dead later on August 11, and was removed from life support on August 12.
* Update: Reps came out to say Heche was kept alive a few days longer to make organ donation possible. After being declared brain dead, she was ultimately removed from life support on August 14.
Heche’s first starring role came in the 1998 romantic adventure Six Days, Seven Nights, where she appeared opposite Harrison Ford, portraying a New York City journalist ending up with a pilot (Ford) on a deserted island following a crash landing. She had been cast in the film one day before her same-sex relationship with Ellen DeGeneres went public. They broke up in August 2000.
The celebrity was on Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars.
Mental health problems
On August 19, 2000, Heche drove from Los Angeles to Cantua Creek in a Toyota SUV. Heche, who was wearing a bra and shorts at the time, parked the car and walked 1+1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) before reaching a ranch house. The homeowner, Araceli Campiz, who had seen Heche in a movie, recognized her and let her in. After drinking a significant amount of water, Heche “took off her Nikes and said she needed to take a shower.” Campiz assumed that Heche was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but Heche later revealed that she had taken ecstasy. After taking a shower, Heche entered the living room, asked for a pair of slippers, and suggested that they should watch a movie. After half an hour, Campiz contacted the sheriff’s department. Heche later told the deputies that she was “God, and was going to take everyone back to heaven in a spaceship.”
In 2000, Heche left DeGeneres for Coleman “Coley” Laffoon, a cameraman whom she met the previous year on DeGeneres’s stand-up comedy tour. On September 1, 2001, she and Laffoon married. They had a son in March 2002. Laffoon filed for divorce on February 2, 2007, after five and a half years of marriage. The divorce was finalized on March 4, 2009.
Heche left her husband for Men in Trees co-star James Tupper. She and Tupper had a son in March 2009, her second child and his first. Tupper and Heche separated in 2018.
RIP Anne Heche (May 25, 1969 – August 12/14, 2022)