The deeply religious 85-year-old mother of the late actress Anne Heche is nothing if not a survivor.
Nancy Heche has now outlived four of her five children — in addition to her secretly gay husband, Donald, who died of AIDS in 1983.
She admitted in her religion-heavy 2006 memoir, “The Truth Comes Out: When Someone You Love is in a Same-Sex Relationship,” to using amyl nitrate poppers with Donald to improve their sex life and taking married lovers.
Anne died Friday, one week after she drove her blue Mini Cooper at a high speed down an LA street and plowed into a small house, setting it afire along with her car.
Before Anne was born, her sister, Cynthia, then just 2-months-old, died from 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 in 2006 from brain cancer.
Only one Heche sibling, Abigail, is still living.
The Chicago-based Nancy Heche, who is a Christian psychologist who uses the Bible in her counseling practice, was initially furious when Anne told her in 1997 that she’d fallen in love with Ellen DeGeneres.
“I am plummeted into disbelief and outrage,” she wrote. “I am dumbfounded, in a state of shock. Doesn’t Anne know what homosexuality has done to our family?”
“How will we ever be able to close the gap, the avowed heterosexual mother and the avowed homosexual 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 blasphemies in the pages of this book.” Anne Heche said her mother did not believe Anne’s claims that her father molested her from the time she was a toddler until she was 12.
Her daughter’s revelations about her relationship with DeGeneres brought up painful memories for Nancy, who said she didn’t know her husband was gay until he lay dying at Bellevue Hospital in 1983 and a doctor told her he had AIDS.
She wrote that she never knew about her husband’s double life because 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 “clicked,” she wrote.
“The dots connect like a stick of dynamite – the fuse sizzling toward explosion. I realize I have been lied to my entire married life.”