Anne Heche Claims She Was Fired from Movie Deal Due to Romance with Ellen DeGeneres
In a PEOPLE exclusive sneak peek at Monday's episode of Dancing with the Stars, the actress, 51, opens up to pro partner Keo Motsepe about her life-changing relationship with the famed talk show host two decades ago.
"In 1997, I met Ellen DeGeneres at the Vanity Fair party and that was the night that changed my life forever," Heche, who is dancing the Paso Doble to Katy Perry's "Rise," says in the clip, courtesy of ABC.
"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," she claims. "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 tells Motsepe.
"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," she adds.
Fox did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The former couple began dating in 1997 and split in 2000.
"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 outlet she is "proud to have been part of a revolution that helped move equality forward."
"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."
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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