The deeply religious 85-year-old mother of the late actress Anne Heche is nothing but a survivor.
Nancy Heche has now survived four of her five children — in addition to her secretly gay husband Donald, who died of AIDS in 1983.
She admitted in her 2006 memoir, “The Truth Comes Out: When Someone You Love is in a Same-Sex Relationship,” that she used amyl nitrate poppers with Donald to improve their sex lives and take on married lovers.
Anne died Friday, a week after driving her blue Mini Cooper at high speed down an LA street and driving into a small house and setting her car on fire.
Before Anne was born, her sister, Cynthia, then just 2 months old, died of a heart defect. Anne’s 18-year-old brother Nathan died in a car accident three months after Don Heche’s death. Another sister, Susan Bergman, who wrote her own family memoir called “Anonymity,” died of brain cancer in 2006.
Only one Heche brother, Abigail, is still alive.
Chicago-based Nancy Heche, a Christian psychologist who uses the Bible in her counseling practice, was initially furious when Anne told her in 1997 that she had fallen in love with Ellen DeGeneres.
“I am sunk in disbelief and indignation,” she wrote. “I am stunned, in a state of shock. Doesn’t Anne know what homosexuality has done to our family?”
“How will we ever close the gap, the overtly heterosexual mother and the overtly gay daughter?” she added.
After the publication of Heche’s 2001 memoir, “Call Me Crazy,” Nancy Heche wrote that she “found no place among the lies and profanities in the pages of this book.” Anne Heche said her mother did not believe Anne’s claims that her father abused her from when she was a toddler until she was 12.
Her daughter’s revelations about her relationship with DeGeneres brought back painful memories for Nancy, who said she didn’t know her husband was gay until he lay dying in Bellevue Hospital in 1983 and a doctor told her he had AIDS.
She wrote that she never knew about her husband’s double life, as she was a “50s girl” who “grew up with Donna Reed, ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and Doris Day.”
When Heche learned of her husband’s AIDS diagnosis, “it suddenly shit,” she wrote.
“The dots connect like a stick of dynamite – the fuse hissing towards explosion. I realize I’ve been lying all my married life.”