Years before she tragically died and her name reappeared in all the major publications, actress Anne Hechey had sunk into obscurity.
After several major roles in the late 1990s, including in the films “Let’s Bark the Dogs” and “Donnie Brasco,” Hollywood abruptly forgot about Hatchey, and according to her, it was no accident.
Even in her lifetime, the actress saw herself as patient zero in the “cancellation culture” because she was convinced that the industry had turned its back on her because of her public relationship with host Ellen DeGeneres.
And in her upcoming memoir, Call Me Crazy, which the actress wrote and released months before her death, she gives a broader perspective on the industry’s treatment of gay couples in the 1990s.
“I was labeled ‘outrageous’ because I once had a relationship with a woman. But before Ellen, I had never dated a woman. These were feelings for which gender did not matter,” Hatchey says in his book, which will be published this year.
Returning to her only same-sex relationship, which lasted three years, the actress also wrote that what angered her the most was the media label “lesbian” because she did not perceive her sexuality exactly with that definition.
“I have never defined myself as a lesbian. I just fell in love. To be clear to everyone, it was just as weird for me as it was for anyone else. I couldn’t find the words to describe how I felt,” the late celebrity wrote.
Hatchey’s romance with Ellen DeGeneres began in 1997, and most of the time it was in front of the cameras. In those years, celebrities who openly admit that they are gay can be counted on the fingers, and DeGeneres and Hatchey were the first famous women to hold hands on the red carpet.
Their behavior is a revolution that neither the media nor the public can get enough of. The two are guests on the Oprah show, often invite journalists to their home and answer questions of a personal nature, just to show that they are people like everyone else.
The fact that they are the first publicly gay couple unwittingly requires them to set a good example.
But Ann Hatchey didn’t realize that when she invited Ellen DeGeneres to accompany her to the premiere of the movie “Vulcan” in 1997. She didn’t believe that their embrace in front of the cameras would be a manifestation of their relationship that would leave a lasting mark in her career.
“I invited her spontaneously, out of love and kindness,” the actress said in an interview with Page Six.
However, after this premiere, Hechi’s professional path began to suffer serious upheavals. Offers for new roles dwindled considerably, and a production she was cast in was called into question because the press began to joke that she would play Harrison Ford’s lover if he was gay.
The sharp lines reached the producers of the romantic comedy “Six Days, Seven Nights”, and they actually began to hesitate whether Ann Hetchey would be a convincing enough heterosexual partner for Harrison Ford. Then the actor who played Indiana Jones intervenes.
“One day he called me and said, ‘Look, honey, I don’t care who you sleep with. I want to shoot a romantic comedy with you. Let’s do our best. That’s why Harrison Ford is my hero. To support me at a time like this when everyone was against me is a sign of great bravery,” Hatchey told Vanity Fair.
But while she was convinced that her relationship with DeGeneres put her career on hold, the actress has always been proud to represent the LGBT+ community on the red carpet without being ashamed of her relationship or sexual orientation, as shamed her father.
Hatchey’s father, Donald, is a Baptist church choir director with a secret and wild homosexual lifestyle. Behind his family’s back, he had multiple relationships with men, as a result of which he contracted HIV and became known as one of the first Americans to die of AIDS.
Shortly before he leaves, he takes off the mask and tells his children about his double life.
Ann was 14 at the time and remembers what happened scarred the mind of her mother, Nancy Hatchey, who was on a crusade against homosexuality. That didn’t change when the actress showed up holding Ellen DeGeneres’ hand at the Vulcan movie premiere.
On the contrary, it intensifies, distancing mother and daughter from each other.
Before she died, Anne Hechey did not speak to her birth family, was ostracized by colleagues and in many ways felt misunderstood. It is probably for this reason that she felt the need to write a memoir and, even after her death, tell the personal story of her experiences in the first person.