Breakup leads to breakdown

Actress Anne Heche hospitalized following announcement of her split with Ellen DeGeneres

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

— Actress Anne Heche was hospitalized after wandering up to a rural home appearing shaken and confused, hours after her breakup with Ellen DeGeneres became public, a deputy confirmed Monday.

Heche apparently parked her car Saturday along a highway and then walked about a mile to the house in Cantua Creek, where she knocked on the front door and made strange statements to the occupants, said Fresno County sheriff's Lt. Merrill Wright.

Sheriff's deputies took her to University Medical Center, Wright said. He said there was no criminal investigation.

Neither Wright nor the hospital would comment on what may have caused her condition. A spokeswoman for University Medical Center, Mary Lisa Russell, said no one named Heche was checked in and wouldn't say if Heche had been admitted under a different name.

Hospital records show Heche was released early Sunday after being seen by doctors for two hours, reported KFSN-TV in Fresno. Russell wouldn't confirm the report.

There was no immediate response to calls placed to Heche's agent, Steve Dontanville, or DeGeneres' manager, Erik Gold.

The incident came hours after the separation of Heche, 31, and DeGeneres, 43, was made public.

"Unfortunately, we have decided to end our relationship," the couple said in a statement in Saturday's New York Daily News. "It is an amicable parting, and we greatly value the 3 1/2 years we have spent together."

DeGeneres, 43, was the first openly gay lead on television.

The pair collaborated on an HBO film, "If These Walls Could Talk II,' in April. Heche directed DeGeneres and Sharon Stone in the story of a lesbian couple trying to have a baby � a tale said to mirror the plans of Heche and DeGeneres.

Heche also filmed a three-month standup comedy tour by DeGeneres, which culminated with an HBO cable special that aired last month.

The Daily News quoted unidentified friends as saying no third party was involved in the breakup. Heche had been romantically linked to actors Steve Martin and Richard Burgi before hooking up with DeGeneres.

Heche starred in the remake of "Psycho" as well as "Volcano," "Six Days, Seven Nights," and "Return to Paradise."

In July 1996, actor Robert Downey Jr. entered a stranger's home in Malibu and passed out on a child's bed. It was a month after he was arrested with cocaine, crack, heroin and a pistol in his pickup truck.

In April 1996, "Superman" actress Margot Kidder turned up dazed, filthy and cowering in a Glendale back yard, not far from the studio lot where she became famous as Lois Lane. She was taken to a county psychiatric ward and later checked into a private facility by relatives.