August 06, 1998 12:00 AM

Last Friday’s announcement from Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche that they were dissolving their 3 1/2-year love match “shocked even close friends,” reports PEOPLE magazine in its Sept. 4 issue. “It was one of those magical relationships that you feel honored to be witness to,” costume designer Julia Caston, who worked with the couple on the March HBO drama “If These Walls Could Talk 2,” tells PEOPLE. Not even close associates seem able to provide a reason for the split. “There was no hint of any extracurricular activities,” said Paula Fleet, a hairstylist who worked with Heche on a recent Showtime special. As for Saturday’s incident in which a very thirsty Heche simply showed up on the doorstep of Araceli Campiz in sunny Fresno, Calif., Campiz tells PEOPLE: “She wanted to watch a movie, but the VCR was broken.” Campiz adds that Heche seemed not to be drunk, drugged, ill — or ready to leave any time soon. So Campiz called the sheriff ‘s department, which dispatched deputies, who were told by Heche that she was “God, and was going to take everyone back to heaven . . . in a spaceship.” They took her to a hospital. The next morning, reports PEOPLE, a composed Heche, accompanied by her manager, returned to pick up the SUV she’d left on the road, had a tow truck fill up the gas tank, and drove off, thus ending her odd odyssey.

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