Anne Heche says her and James Tupper's real-life relationship brought a "spiritual" element to Syfy series Aftermath
Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

For Anne Heche, her career in Hollywood has become a family affair.

In the new Syfy series Aftermath, Heche and her longtime partner James Tupper star as a husband-wife duo navigating their family through a post-apocalyptic world full of supernatural scares.

And the actress says her real-life relationship with Tupper informed the one that plays out on screen.

“We’re very strong family people, and we felt a connection to this story,” Heche, 47, says in the new issue of PEOPLE.

“Our sense of commitment helped us get into character,” she adds.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the couple has appeared together on the small screen.

“We obviously did a show many years ago,” Heche says of the 2006 dramedy Men in Trees, in which they costarred before they began dating. “We enjoy working together,” she says, but to work together again, “It had to be the right fit.”

Aftermath was partly because “family is the core,” adds Heche.

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And Heche and Tupper’s own brood was front-and-center when the cameras weren’t rolling.

“The kids were with us all the time,” she adds of her sons: 14-year-old Homer (with ex Coley Laffoon) and 7-year-old Atlas, whom she and Tupper welcomed in 2009.

As for her youngest, Heche says he might be eyeing a future in acting, too.

“He was one of the background characters in one of our scenes,” Heche says of Atlas’ gig as an Aftermath extra. “Now he wants a speaking role!”

Aftermath premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.