Exclusive: Anne Heche Interview

ByABC News
September 4, 2001, 10:02 AM

Sept. 4 -- Actress Anne Heche says she spent the first 31 years of her life suffering from mental illness triggered by sexual abuse at the hands of her father.

Heche, who landed on gossip pages for her romantic relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, made the comments in an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters. The program airs on 20/20 Wednesday.

"I'm not crazy," Heche who believed for years that she was two people, one of whom was from another planet tells 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."

Heche, who has starred in such movies as the remake of Psycho and Six Days, Seven Nights and had a guest-starring role on television's Ally McBeal, has written an autobiography to be released this week.

Sexual Abuse By Her Father

"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."

This escape to another world, she says, stemmed from being sexually abused by her father, Donald Heche, a seemingly devout Christian who she found out was gay as he lay dying of AIDS in 1983.

"He raped me, he stuck his dick in my mouth, he fondled me, he put me on all fours, and had sex with me," says Heche, qualifying that the abuse started when she was a toddler, years that she can't remember clearly.

"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."

Heche says she had herpes as a young girl, but she does not know if her mother knew she was being molested by her father. "I had a rash, I had sores, I had welts on my nose and on my lips." When she found out her father had AIDS, she feared for her life.

Another World