Anne Heche’s religious mum cut ties over Ellen romance ‘but we loved each other’

The death of Anne Heche leaves her 85 year old mother Nancy Heche the parent of four deceased children out of five, as well as a widower after her husband died in 1983.

Anne and her devout Christian mother were estranged after Anne embarked on a lesbian relationship with Ellen DeGeneres from 1977 to 2000 – which her mother openly disapproved of.

Anne was declared brain dead on Friday, a week after she crashed her car into a Los Angeles home whilst reportedly under the influence of cocaine.

The 53-year-old actress was taken to hospital and placed in a coma following the incident, where her car was "engulfed in flames" and her representatives confirmed on Friday that she had died after succumbing to her injuries.

The Heche family has been blighted by tragedy, starting when Anne's sister Cynthia Heche died as a baby due to a heart defect before her secretly-gay husband Donald Heche died from AIDS.

In the same year that he died – 1983 – Donald and Nancy's son Nathan Heche died in a car accident aged 18. Tragedy beset the family once again in 2006, as Anne's eldest sister, Susan, died as a result of a brain tumor at 48.

After Anne's death, Nancy's only child still with us is elder sister Abigail, who is a jewellery maker based in Chicago.

Nancy had her difficulties as she navigated her life, as it was revealed in Anne's 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy that Nancy's husband and Anne's father Donald was a God-fearing Baptist choir leader – and a closeted homosexual.

Nancy and Anne became estranged after Anne's relationship with Ellen. Nancy told the Christian Broadcasting Network that it was: "Like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals."

Years later, Nancy told AL.com in a 2009 interview that she felt as though she didn't handle her daughter coming out in 1997 very well.

She said: "I'm sorry I didn't know how to deal with it well. God was giving me an opportunity. We had good moments of trying to connect. All of us were learning how to handle it. We loved each other; how do you live out that when you disagree?"

Anne's eldest son Homer, 20, paid tribute to his mum after her death on Friday 12 August as he told People : "My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom.

"After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness.

"Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom."

He then thanked well-wishers for their support, as he said: "Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me.

"I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time."

He ended his statement on a poignant note, saying: "Rest In Peace Mom, I love you."

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