Like many of us, Ellen DeGeneres is mourning the death of actress Anne Heche — but for DeGeneres, the tragedy is more personal.
From 1997-2000, DeGeneres and Heche were Hollywood’s biggest same-sex couple, with Ellen starring in her own sitcom and coming out as a lesbian on the cover of TIME Magazine and The Oprah Winfrey Show when the relationship began. At one point, the two declared that if Vermont legalized same-sex civil unions, they would have gotten one.
“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres tweeted. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family, and friends all of my love.”
Heche passed away over the weekend at the age of 53 after being taken off life support following a fiery crash on August 5 involving her blue Mini Cooper (that was going 90 miles per hour) crashing into a two-story home in Los Angeles. While Heche was pulled from her vehicle, she was in a coma and was declared brain dead after a week in the hospital.
Heche was a popular actress in the '90s, appearing in movies like Donnie Brasco, Volcano, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Six Days, Seven Nights. She also starred in Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Psycho as Marion Crane, the role made famous by Janet Leigh.
She also starred in the TV shows Men in Trees and Hung and appeared in shows like Ally McBeal, Everwood, and Nip/Tuck.
Heche won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series for her 1991 role in the soap opera Another World. She was additionally nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for 2004’s Gracie’s Choice, and for a Tony for Best Actress in a Play in 2004 for her role in the play Twentieth Century.