It started as a Hollywood love story for the new millennium: Girl meets girl, they fall in love and the lovers live happily ever.
“If you could have shot the scene when I met Ellen, the lights would go dim, and everybody would go blurry,” Heche said in an interview shortly after they met.
The scene was an Oscar party in 1997. “I came toward her across a crowded room. I was drawn to her, and she was drawn to me.”
“Within moments, my hands were on high thighs and we were in sync,” added Heche. “She was trying to say: ‘You have to watch out’ and I was saying ‘I don’t care.’ I mean, I was inside out, upside down. Nothing else mattered.”
The romance shocked Hollywood and the rest of America.
Even though DeGeneres had recently announced in an episode of her ABC sitcom Ellen that she was gay, Heche’s leanings were a shocking revelation.
Just months earlier, she had been dating funnyman Steve Martin, who at 24 years her senior, was a father figure for her.
“I didn’t want to be Mrs. Steve Martin,” she wrote in her autobiography. “He hadn’t asked, but where was it going to go? He was a man in his 50s. I was a girl in her middle of my 20s.”
It did not take long before Heche moved in with DeGeneres. One year later they were still going strong— as America's most famous gay couple, they even cuddled publicly in front of President Bill Clinton—but behind the scenes, there was trouble in paradise.
Heche was rumored to have had an affair with Vince Vaughan, her co-star in Trouble in Paradise.
More stories of Heche’s wandering eye led the lovers to counseling.
Nevertheless, in 1998, in anticipation of Vermont legalizing same-sex marriages, the couple quickly announced their intent to get married although they never did.
There was even talk of children. A year later, Heche and DeGeneres sold their Hancock Park mansion for $3.3 million and moved into their dream home in the Hollywood Hills with room for a family.
But their baby dream was never realized.
Soon after the split, DeGeneres launched into a bitter attack against her former lover for cruelly betraying their love.
Not soon after, Heche married cameraman Coley Laffoon, with who she worked shooting a documentary about her girlfriend.
“I thought Anne loved me with all her heart, but now I know the truth,” declared a devastated DeGeneres in a long-lost 2001 interview. "Anne never truly loved me. I see now that I was being used.”
Even more stinging, Heche went into detail about their gay romance and bitter split in a tell-all autobiography timed for release on the eve of the premiere of a new television comedy, The Ellen Show.
“I guess she wasn't gay,” Ellen said. “I am unsure now as to what her real motives were.”
She added, “I was naive. I envisioned a beautiful future. We bought two homes together and that indicates commitment — at least on my part. I thought we were going to be together forever. My feelings were sincere."
“Obviously there was some sort of agenda that I knew nothing about. My mom figured this out before I did.”
DeGeneres, who rarely spoke to Heche after the split, hinted that the star of the movie Six Days Seven Nights latched onto her for the notoriety and to further her own career.
“In my relationship with Anne, I was quiet, rather passive. She loved the publicity, loved the attention,” said DeGeneres.
“We were world famous. We were trailblazers. For a while, it was fun. I was being hailed as a role model for all gay women. We were the trendy Hollywood lesbian couple!
“She liked that. But I soon felt a bit uncomfortable with the attention. I was worried that we couldn't live up to everyone's expectations and obviously, we didn't. This was the biggest heartbreak of my life.”
But no matter what Heche wrote about their affair, DeGeneres was determined to rebuild her shattered life.
The funny gal, who went on to marry Portia De Rossi, conquered television.
“I'm moving on - with dating, with a new TV series,” she said. “I can't live in the past.”
She added: "I've learned I have to put the past in the past. I lost a huge job, a love, a lot of things. I'm starting all over. It's a very humbling experience. But I'm just going to keep living my life to the fullest.”
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Heche was pulled off life support on Friday one week after a drug-fueled car crash.