"It took 20 years to process my story and to tell it. Dancing with the Stars gave me the opportunity," Anne Heche says

By Natalie Stone
October 06, 2020 07:00 PM
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If Anne Heche could sum up her time on Dancing with the Stars in one word, she says it would be: "magnificent."

On week four of the ABC reality dance competition series, the actress was eliminated after landing in the bottom two for the second consecutive week.

"I am not going to stop dancing, Keo and I will still do dances and just be on social media and shorter," Heche tells People (the TV Show!) of her pro dancing partner, Keo Motsepe, after being sent home on Monday night. "I have another 10 dances to learn. I always do what I say."

During the live episode, Heche, 51, performed her last dance, a Paso Doble, during which she unveiled a rainbow-colored outfit that was representative of her own journey.

"Can you believe that transformation? Star Spangled Banner for gay rights," says Heche, who revealed her "inner show girl."

Anne Heche on DWTS
| Credit: ABC

While preparing for the dance during rehearsals, Heche opened up about her past relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, whom she dated from 1997-2000.

"My movie premiere for Volcano, I had told them that I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen I would lose my Fox contract," Heche claimed. "At that moment, she took my hand and said, 'Do what they say' and I said, 'No thanks.' I took Ellen to the premiere and I was ushered out before the movie even ended and was told I was not allowed to go to my own after party for fear that they would get pictures of me with a woman."

"She was warning me, 'This is going to happen,' " Heche said. "I was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres for three-and-a-half years and the stigma attached to that relationship was so bad that I was fired from my multi-million dollar picture deal and I did not work in a studio picture for 10 years." (Fox did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.)

Reflecting on the moment she was escorted out of her own premiere, Heche tells People it was "one of my proudest things that I wear as a badge of honor."

"The moment it happened to me years ago would never happen today," she says. "I didn’t know then but I know now I moved the needle forward."

She also admits that she's had moments when she's thought she should have taken DeGeneres' advice and done it differently. "Hell yeah," Heche says. "And that is the fork in the road that we always take."

Although Heche and the Ellen DeGeneres Show host haven't stayed in touch — "I have not spoken to Ellen in years," Heche says— the actress is grateful that DWTS gave her the platform to open up about that chapter of her life.

Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche
| Credit: JIM RUYMEN/AFP via Getty

"It took 20 years to process my story and to tell it. Dancing with the Stars gave me the opportunity," Hech says.

While admitting "it is not easy to tell the truth," she says it was "wonderful to have that moment."

In August, Heche  discussed the details of her relationship with DeGeneres, 62, in her cover interview with Mr. Warburton magazine for the September 2020 issue.

"Our time was a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor," she said. "I was a part of a revolution that created social change, and I could not have done that without falling in love with her."

Heche told the magazine she is "proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward."

Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche
| Credit: Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty

"But there is still work to do," she acknowledged. "I’ve paved this way for myself, and my honesty had every single thing to do with it," the actress continued. "I think every interaction we have should begin with whether or not we can look at and talk to other human beings with 100 percent respect. My answer will always be ‘yes.’ We have to agree that it’s a possibility and that we all deserve it."

For the fifth week of competition, the remaining season 29 DWTS contestants will compete on '80s week.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

Catch People (the TV Show!) Monday through Friday. Check your local listings for exact times or stream the show every day at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT at People.com and PeopleTV.com.