Anne Heche says the sexual molestation she suffered at the hands of her father caused her to escape into a "fourth dimension" fantasy world in which she believed she was from another planet.
"I'm not crazy," Heche tells 20/20 on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters. "But it's a crazy life. I was raised in a crazy family and it took 31 years to get the crazy out of me."
In the wide-ranging interview, Heche, 32, talks about her childhood, her career, her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres — she says her first night with the comedian was "the best sex I'd ever had" — and new love Coleman "Coley" Laffoon, a 27-year-old cameraman whom she married on Saturday.
Heche told Walters she was not pregnant at the time of the interview. She has since called Walters to say she is three months' pregnant, and Walters was the first to disclose this news on 20/20.
Heche, promoting her new book, Call Me Crazy (Simon & Schuster), says she's had a lifelong battle with mental illness.
"I had a fantasy world that I escaped to. I called my other personality Celestia," she explains. "I believed I was from that world. I believed I was from another planet. I think I was insane."
Her Father's Secret Sex Life
Heche traces her problems back to her father. Donald Heche, a choir director in a Baptist church, began sexually abusing his daughter when she was still a toddler, she says.
"He raped me … he fondled me, he put me on all fours, and had sex with me," says Heche, qualifying that the abuse is only "in my memory."
"I think it's always hard for children to talk about abuse because it is only memory. I didn't carry around a tape recorder … I didn't chisel anything in stone … Anybody can look and say, 'Well how do you know for sure?' And that's one of the most painful things about it. You don't."
She says she contracted herpes from him. "I had a rash, I had sores, I had welts on my nose and on my lips," she says.
Her Family's Reaction
Responding to her daughter's accusations, Nancy Heche posted the following on a Web site called Previewport.com: "I am trying to find a place for myself in this writing, a place where I as Anne's mother do not feel violated or scandalized. I find no place among the lies and blasphemies in the pages of this book."
Heche's sister, Abigail, wrote: "It is my opinion that my sister Anne truly believes, at this moment, what she has asserted about our father's past behavior; however, at the same time, I would like to point out that Anne, in the past, has expressed doubts herself about the accuracy of such memories. Based on my experience and her own expressed doubts, I believe that her memories regarding our father are untrue. And I can state emphatically, regardless of Anne's beliefs, that the assertion that our mother knew about such behavior is absolutely false.
Sex, Drugs and Acting
Heche did not learn that her father also had homosexual encounters until 1983, when he was dying of AIDS. When she learned he had the disease, she feared for her own life, she says.
To get away, Heche says, "I drank. I smoked. I did drugs. I had sex with people. I did anything I could to get the shame out of my life."
Heche also began acting, playing twins on the soap opera Another World from 1988 to 1992.