Anne HechThe 85-year-old Christian psychologist mother had already outlived three of her five children and a husband before the tragic death of her actress daughter on Friday.
The Six Days Seven Nights star was pronounced dead on August 12 at the age of 53, a week after she was involved in multiple car accidents. Heche first crashed into a garage at a block of flats and then plowed into the house in her blue Mini Cooper, leaving her “severely burnt” and “intubated” in hospital.
Ann Hatch’s family has been beset by tragedy, beginning with the death of her sister Cynthia Hatch in infancy from heart disease, secretly gay patriarch Donald Hatch dying of AIDS in 1983, and brother Nathan Hatch being murdered later that year in a car accident in New Jersey at 18.
In 2006, Hech’s older sister, Susan, died of a brain tumor at the age of 48.
The actress’ troubled relationship with her family first became public knowledge after the release of her memoir, Call Me Crazy, in 2001, when Anne became estranged from her mother as a result of her lesbian affair with Ellen DeGeneres.
Anne Hech pictured with her mother Nancy at the premiere of Six Days Seven Nights in 1997
The Hatch family pictured in 1970, left to right, Susan Hatch, Nancy Hatch, Donald Hatch, Nathan Hatch, Abigail Hatch and Ann Hatch. Since then, all members of the Nancy and Abigail family bar have tragically died young
A later photo of the Hech family, left to right, Nancy, Abigail, Nathan, Donald and Anne Hech
In the book, Heche revealed that she was sexually abused by her father, Donald, when she was young. She also claimed that he infected her with genital herpes as a result of the abuse.
In response to Hatch’s autobiography, Nancy Hatch said, “I’m trying to find a place for myself in this piece, a place where I, as Ann’s mother, don’t feel offended or outraged.”
Both Hatch and her older sister, Susan, revealed in their separate books that Donald Hatch lived a remarkably duplicitous life.
By day he was a closeted homosexual and a God-fearing Baptist choir director; at night, he left Hech’s mother and four children at home to hit the gay bars in their hometown of Aurora, Ohio.
Nancy wrote in her book, The Truth Comes Out, that during her marriage to Donald, the couple experimented with amyl nitrate, also known as poppers, to boost their sex lives.
She said: “Don and I used poppers together. When we first moved to Atlantic City and were living in a house with Don’s “business” partner, we were given several bottles of the dizzy stuff “to improve our sex life.”
Nancy continued, “But I’m a very non-gay wife who was talked into snorting poppers as a novelty in our sex life. It seemed innocent enough. Why should I ask him?
Hech’s mother, Nancy, lectured for years about the “evils” of homosexuality after her husband’s death in 1983.
Heche’s second sister, Abigail. She is a jewelry designer from Illinois. Heche said in an interview that she had reconnected with her sister after years of being apart.
The Heche family matriarch said that after reading an article about the prevalence of poppers in the gay community, she came to the conclusion that both her husband and his “business partner” were homosexual.
In 1983, Donald Hatch became one of the first Americans to die of AIDS — just two years after the killer virus was first identified in a group of gay men.
The drama for the family did not end there. Anne Hech has long claimed she was blacklisted in the early 2000s as a result of her public lesbian affair with Elle DeGeneres.
This blacklist seemed to extend to her relationship with her mother.
In 1998, Heche told the Tampa Bay Times that her mother considered her lesbian relationship “a sin.”
Susan Bergam is pictured on her sister’s Instagram page. Bergham died after a battle with brain cancer in 2005
While Nancy Hech told Christian Broadcasting Network that she felt her daughter’s relationship with Ellen DeGeneres was “like a betrayal of an unspoken oath: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals.”
In a separate interview, Nancy said AL.com in 2009 that she felt as if she had mishandled her daughter’s coming out in 1997.
She said: “I’m sorry, I didn’t know how to handle it. God gave me an opportunity. We had some good times trying to bond. We all learned to deal with it. We loved each other; how do you get over it if you don’t agree?”
Nancy Hech is pictured with her daughter Abigail. In addition to her mother, Heche said her sister has remained distant since her relationship with Ellen was made public.
During the interview, Nancy said she was an “advocate” for “showing love and respect for the gay community.” In the same year as the interview, Nancy spoke at several homophobic conferences around the country.
Nancy also said that she found out that her husband was homosexual from his doctor. She said: “We are failing. We betray each other. This is a sad story. God had a lot to teach me. We must act out of our healing, not out of our woundedness. I was hurt and felt betrayed.”
She also played down any tension between her and her daughter, saying they have a “typical mother-daughter relationship.” She said: “We connect and we don’t connect. This is pretty typical. My relationship with her is developing, a love relationship. I love her.’
Heche admitted in an interview in 2011 with Daily Telegraph that she had recently begun to rekindle her relationship with her sister after a 20-year feud. The I Know What You Did Last Summer star said: “She came to visit last week and we’re having a great time as friends as we’ve grown closer. We both put our things behind us.’
In this interview, Heche said that she is still estranged from her mother. Heche said that when she once called her mother to meet with her, she hung up after her mother said, “Jesus loves you, Anne.”
Heche said: “Forgiveness is a funny word for me. I’m fine with my mother living the way she wants to live, and I’m fine with her not being involved in my life the way I want to live it.”
In 2015, Nancy Hatch admitted:[Anne has] stopped talking to me. She made the decision to end the relationship.”
Thanks to her role in the 2004 TV movie Gracie’s Choice, where Hatch played an alcoholic mother, she revealed Los Angeles Times that she has come to terms with the idea that her mother does not love her.