In a sneak peek of tonight's episode of Dancing With the Stars, Anne Heche opened up to her dance partner, Keo Motsepe, about how she was fired from a film contract simply because she was queer.
At the time, Heche was dating Ellen DeGeneres and claims that studio executives threatened to fire her if she brought DeGeneres to the premiere of Heche's 1997 film Volcano.
"In 1997, I met Ellen DeGeneres at the Vanity Fair party and that was the night that changed my life forever," Heche said in a clip that debuted in People magazine. "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," claims Heche, danced the Paso Doble to Katy Perry's "Rise."
She added, "At that moment, [DeGeneres] 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 of DeGeneres.
Eventually, according to Heche, being open about who she was ultimately got her fired.
"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," Heche told Motsepe.
Heche and DeGeneres dated for over three years, and at one point they discussed having a civil union in Vermont before they officially broke up in 2000.
DeGeneres went on to marry Portia de Rossi in 2008, while Heche, who identifies as bisexual, went on to marry Coleman Laffoon in 2000 until they split in 2007. Heche later dated James Tupper for 10 years before they split in 2018.
This isn't the first time Heche has spoken about the incident.
"The difference between what would happen today and what happened then is that I would not have been ushered out of my own premiere and fired from a multi-million dollar picture deal with Fox for taking a girl as my date," she said in an interview with Mr. Warburton magazine in August.
Though Heche and DeGeneres's public breakup was the subject of widespread media interest, the actress has spoken about how proud she was to have been part of a revolution that helped moved equality forward.
"I’ve paved this way for myself, and my honesty had every single thing to do with it," she added the Mr. Warburton interview. "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."
"Our time was a beautiful part of my life and one that I wear with honor," she continued. "I was a part of a revolution that created social change, and I could not have done that without falling in love with her."
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8pm EST on ABC.