5/25/1969 (50 years old) Aurora, Ohio, United States
Gaining acting experience in dinner theater, Heche was just 18 when she embarked on a four-year stint on the soap Another World. During her tenure, she snagged a Daytime Emmy and her significantly older costar Richard Burgi as her boyfriend. In 1991, Heche left the show and turned in fine supporting performances in a string of TV-movies and indie features, notably as a neurotic bride in Walking and Talking and a hooker with an eye for the ladies in the underrated 1996 thriller Wild Side. Her role in the latter turned out to be prophetic, because the next year, the budding starlet suddenly found herself in the spotlight when she and her lesbian lover, Ellen DeGeneres, went public as a couple. Except for the 1997 political satire Wag the Dog, which showed off her comedic side, her subsequent projects were duds (the remake of Psycho, the tepid romantic comedy Six Days, Seven Nights). Compounding a negative image were a nasty break up with DeGeneres in 2000, reports of wandering around the backyards of Fresno, CA, and admitted to renaming herself Celestia who spoke a different language and was from another planet. In 2001, the addled Heche tried to get her life in order. She married cameraman Coleman Laffoon, published the autobiography Call Me Crazy (which chronicled her allegedly abusive childhood), and returned to the small screen with a recurring romantic role on Ally McBeal. TV and theater allowed Heche to make a true comeback, and in 2004 she was nominated for a Tony and an Emmy, for her sparkling performance in a revival of Twentieth Century and for her harrowing turn as an abusive mom in the TV-movie Gracie's Choice. After a few more recurring series roles, Heche landed her own quirky show, Men in Trees, in 2006, about a romantically challenged relationship coach stuck in self-imposed exile in Alaska. The show not only revved up her career, it perked up her love life. Midway through the first season, she separated from her husband (later blasting him on Late Show with David Letterman) and eventually moved in with her small-screen Men in Trees flame, James Tupper. After Trees was canceled, Heche took some time off to spend time with Tupper and their son Atlas before joining HBO's Hung.
Made her foray into acting at age 12 in a performance of The Music Man at a dinner theater in Trenton, NJ.
Was offered the role of good/evil twins Marley McKinnon/Vicky Frame on the NBC soap Another World when she was still in high school, but turned it down so she could finish her education. Later accepted the role, winning a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991 for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.
Won a Creative Integrity Award at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Women's Night in 1999 for her volunteer work at the Teen Center.