Michael Musto: An Open Letter To Ellen DeGeneres’ Ex, Anne Heche

"I’m sorry I came down on you for falling for another man."

Dear Anne Heche,

I have some 20-year-or-so stuff to work out with you. You famously had a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres starting in 1997, back when that kind of thing was rare and extra exciting, and when you two were canoodling and carrying on, I was instrumental in putting out the info on that in the press. (I worked in cahoots with Page Six to break info I’d gotten about your relationship and how it was playing out. My reportage on your joint whereabouts was priceless.) You gals were fun and brave, at a time when few people were out in the Hollywood landscape, and I loved being part of the Ellen-and-Anne juggernaut that helped to change the world with its gleeful openness.

You didn’t seem mad at me for beating your drums. In fact, when I later wrote a favorable Paper magazine cover story on you, you called to thank me and even put Ellen on the phone to say a few words. I was verklempt!

Ron Galella/WireImage

But after your 2000 breakup with Ellen, all the strides you made in the press seemed to go backward and we all turned on you, I have to admit. You entered a crisis phase and were behaving erratically—ringing a stranger’s bell and saying weird things on drugs, for one thing—and we dutifully made fun of your downfall, which was awful, even if Ellen herself had chimed in with some negative things to say about you in retrospect. You (and of course those you may have been harassing) deserved more compassion at this point, especially in light of the advances you and Ellen had made for the community and how celebrated you had been as a new member of our club.

What’s more, post-Ellen, you ended up with a man—as you’d done before Ellen—and I joined the brigade that lip-smackingly called you a phony. After all, you had come out as a lesbian. How could you then find refuge back in boring, old heterosexuality? We felt duped, as if you’d scammed us, then went right back to the peen, turning your back on us for life.

Dumb! I, like everyone else, was forgetting that you were bi, not a closet lesbian who had finally come out then gone back in. As you’d stated, all of your relationships before Ellen had been with men, so no one should have ruled out the fact that you could return to that sphere after you and Ellen were history. When you fell in love with Ellen, you acknowledged that this was something new, you had simply fallen for a person, regardless of their gender, and the pairing made sense for that moment. It was kismet, and it simply had happened.


So, when the relationship imploded, it was perfectly natural for you then to fall in love with someone else of either gender—you know, with someone human, lol. When you went back to dating men, we should have accepted it as a natural extension of bisexuality, rather than pile on you for abandoning us, as if you’d somehow used the LGBT community to advance yourself—something it wasn’t easy to do back when the industry didn’t exactly favor out LGBTs. (Strangely, the same people who claimed you were using gays to get ahead were the first to trumpet the opportunities you’d lost for coming out with this relationship).

Since all that, awareness of bisexuality has grown a lot and people better understand how it can lead to all sorts of couplings, which are not necessarily lies or betrayals. I’m sorry I came down on you for falling for another man (That relationship didn’t last, but you followed that with yet another male), and I’m still proud of you for the advances in celebrity visibility and appreciation that your relationship with Ellen helped encourage.


Michael Musto

Michael Musto is the long running, award-winning entertainment journalist and TV commentator.