The parting doesn’t have anything to do with a third party, a source told the paper. “The relationship just ran its course … It wasn’t working.”
DeGeneres reportedly is living in the couple’s Hollywood Hills home, while Heche has been “staying with friends.”
Heche must now pick up a once-promising career, which began with an Outstanding Younger Actress Emmy in 1990 for her work in Another World. She also has starred in the remake of Psycho as well as Volcano and Return to Paradise.
Born in Ohio, she was discovered after a talent scout from the daytime drama As The World Turns spotted her in a high school play. She turned down an offer because she was just 15 years old and taking the job would have forced her family to relocate to New York.
That was a rocky time. Her father, a Baptist church choir director, was secretly gay. Shortly before he died of AIDS, he revealed his other life. Not long after, her brother was killed in a car accident. Heche says she helped support the family by singing in a local dinner theater.
After graduating, Heche seized an opportunity on Another World, and she was on her way to stardom. She first emerged as a gossip page item when she began dating Steve Martin, her co-star in A Simple Twist of Fate. But she says she was unprepared for what was to follow.
Hollywood’s Most Famous Lesbian Duo
Coming out as a one half of Hollywood’s most famous lesbian couple garnered lots of publicity, but both she and DeGeneres say it took a toll on their careers.
Some say that she has basked in the publicity of her love affair, nuzzling with DeGeneres at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner shortly after they announced their togetherness.
DeGeneres has complained that ABC was quick to bow out of her Emmy-winning TV series when she took on lesbian themes. Some 36 million viewers tuned in when her character “outed” herself. But in 1998, the ratings subsequently sank, and the network canceled on her.
When critics wondered how Heche would come across as Harrison Ford’s on-screen lover, she joked that straight actors have won Oscars for playing gays, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Not yet, anyway.
Like a lot of actors, she longs to be taken seriously. She says she trained as a soldier, hiking with 40 pounds of equipment and learning to fire an M-16 rifle for her latest role in Showtime’s One Kill, loosely based on the true story of a Marine captain and divorced mother accused of murdering her lover.
Heche has completed two upcoming Hollywood features — Auggie Rose, a love story with Jeff Goldblum, and Prozac Nation, in which she plays Christina Ricci’s psychiatrist.
But now Heche will see what fallout she will suffer from Saturday’s incident. Authorities would not say whether drugs may have been involved, but they did say that no criminal investigation would follow.
To be sure, Hollywood has seen some strange things, and in the realm of celebrity misbehavior, this hardly rates that high. The public tends to embrace casualties of lost love — perhaps, this time, even lost lesbian love.
ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.