The Complicated Aftermath of Anne Heche's Death

Anne Heche Laid to Rest 9 Months After Fatal Car Crash

In August 2000, Anne Heche got in the car and thought she was driving toward "a world that I thought I needed to escape to in order to find love."

But, describing the night she ended up hospitalized after her very public breakup with Ellen DeGeneres as a turning point in her lifelong struggle with mental illness, Heche told Barbara Walters in a 2001 interview she had realized then that this world had it all.

"I could not be more elated with my life," Heche concluded.

When she died a year ago at only 53, the rush was on to honor the award-winning actress whose personal struggles so often eclipsed her professional accomplishments while she was alive.

Yet from the weeks of speculation over what caused the shocking car crash that ultimately killed her to the battle to get her affairs in order after she was gone, even her death got complicated.

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"My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom," her eldest son, Homer Laffoon, said in a statement to E! News after Heche was declared legally dead on Aug. 11, 2022. "After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom."

Heche had Homer, 21, with ex-husband Coley Laffoon and Atlas, 14, with former partner James Tupper.

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

"I believe in life everlasting," Heche wrote in Call Me Anne, the posthumously released follow-up to her revealing 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy. "I believe it is ours to choose. For all the rest of my time on this earth, I choose to live to the fullest of my potential. I wake each day to another adventure and seek the wisdom that it offersคำพูดจาก เว็บสล็อต ดีที่สุดในไทย. That is the truth of me."

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How did Anne Heche die?

On Aug. 5, 2022, Heche was behind the wheel of her Mini Cooper when she crashed into a house in the west Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista shortly before 11 a.m.

A fire broke out and Heche wasn't freed from the wreckage until 11:49 a.m., according to L.A. City Fire Department records and audio recordings obtained by KNBC. 

"Given the heavy fire and smoke conditions, it wasn't that you could clearly see into the vehicle or clearly be able to access it," LAFD Deputy Chief Richard Fields told the NBC 4 I-Team, explaining why it took 20 minutes before firefighters could even start pulling the car from the burning house. "Heavy smoke conditions, heavy fire conditions, which makes it very difficult for us to just see each other on the inside of a working structure fire."

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She was taken to the emergency room at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center and later transported to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center.

While she lay in a coma, authorities started to piece together the consequential minutes leading up to the crash. Video first obtained by TMZ showed Heche's blue Mini running into the garage of a nearby apartment building, reversing and pulling away, moments before the car barreled into the house. Law enforcement told the Los Angeles Times that she also hit a Jaguar and narrowly missed a pedestrian before the fiery crash.

The LAPD confirmed at the time that Heche was being investigated for felony DUI in connection with the crash, but the case was closed when she ultimately died of her injuries on Aug. 11, 2022.

Jesse Grant/Getty Images

"Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case," the department announced Aug. 12 after doctors pronounced Heche brain dead. "When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration."

The Men in Trees star remained on life support until Aug. 14 while arrangements were made for organ donations. 

Her death was ultimately ruled an accident. The postmortem determined that Heche died of inhalation and thermal injuries, while a sternum fracture caused by blunt force contributed "significantly," per the autopsy report, which also noted her right kidney was lacerated and she suffered burns over 12 percent of her body.

Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Was Anne Heche under the influence when she crashed into the house?

Heche was not impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of her fatal crash, according to toxicology findings released by the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner on Dec. 6. 

But blood drawn from Heche in the E.R. showed an inactive cocaine metabolite, which indicated she had used cocaine in the days before her death, per the report obtained by E! News. A urine sample taken at the hospital contained traces of cannabinoids and benzodiazepine, which weren't present in the blood, as well as an amount of fentanyl "consistent with therapeutic use," the coroner noted. 

Why was there a fight over Anne Heche's estate?

Heche died without a will, according to her son Homer's petition to be appointed administrator of her estate, filed Aug. 31 in L.A. Superior Court. The filing listed Homer and Atlas as her sole heirs and the exact value of her assets as unknown. (An October filing from Homer's side estimated Heche had assets of about $400,000 at the time of her death and the estate expected roughly that amount to come in annually from residuals and royalties.)

Tupper countered two weeks later with a petition to be put in charge of his ex's estate. He alleged in his filing that Heche had emailed him a copy of her will in 2011 naming Tupper as the one she wanted in charge of her assets, "to be used to raise my children and then given to the children."

The actors started dating when they co-starred on Men in Trees from 2006 until 2008 and were together for more than 10 years. 

Photo by David Buchan/BAFTA LA/Getty Images for BAFTA LA

In his petition, Tupper alleged that Homer was too young to oversee Heche's estate and that he was estranged from his mother at the time of her death due to him dropping out of college and not getting a job.

Tupper's filing further stated that Homer had changed the locks on his brother the day their mother died and hadn't let Atlas into the house since.

Homer's lawyer Bryan L. Phipps told E! News in September that they preferred for estate matters to "play out in court and not in the media."

On Dec. 1, Homer was named permanent special administrator of the estate, the judge determining he had provided "sufficient evidence" to support his petition.

"We believe the court reached the correct result, both legally and equitably, and are glad to have this phase of the process behind us," Phipps told E! News in a statement after the ruling. "With Mr. Tupper's allegations and objections now resolved, we are hopeful the administration of the Estate can proceed without unnecessary complication."

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What happened to the house Anne Heche crashed into?

The woman who had been renting the Mar Vista house that Heche crashed into filed a $2 million lawsuit against the actress' estate in November, alleging negligence, trespass and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

"The violent impact from the crash caused severe structural compromise to the home, which immediately erupted in a towering inferno," the suit stated, per the LA Times. "Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily-damaged residence."

Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Plaintiff Lynne Mishele lost "irreplaceable tokens and mementos from her deceased parents," the suit charged, and "was left terrified, severely traumatized, and without a place to live."

She and her pets were in the house at the time, "just feet" away from where the car stopped, the complaint alleges.

After Heche died, Mishele had taken to Instagram to pay her respects. "The news of Anne Heche passing is devastating," she said in a video posted Aug. 12. "Her family and her friends and her children especially really have suffered a great loss, and my heart goes out for them. This entire situation is tragic, and there really are just no words."

Homer's lawyer has not yet responded to E! News' request for comment on pending litigation against the estate.

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Why did Thomas Jane sue Anne Heche's estate?

A week after Mishele sued, actor Thomas Jane filed a claim against Heche's estate, alleging he'd loaned his then-girlfriend $157,000 when they dated in 2019 and she'd only paid back two of a series of agreed-upon $10,000 installments, according to the LA Times.

After her accident, the Hung star expressed hope that she was going to survive, telling, "While Anne and I are no longer an item, today's tragic news was devastating to me and to all who love her. My heart goes out to Anne and her two sons."

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When was Anne Heche laid to rest?

Heche's death certificate stated that she was cremated on Aug. 18 and listed Hollywood Forever Cemetery as her final resting place, Homer calling the location, "beautiful, serene" and a place where "she will be among her Hollywood peers."

Nine months later, she was interred at the cemetery's Cathedral Mausoleum on May 14.

"She loved everyone so passionately and deeply," Heche's rep said in a statement after the private service, "and her children, her legacy, thank everyone for their support and love through this difficult time and are grateful to be able to honor their mother, on Mother's Day."


Where are Anne Heche's sons now?

"Never imagined I'd find myself responsible for mom's IG account, but here we are," Homer posted to Heche's Instagram on Jan. 5. Thanking well-wishers for their support, he wrote, "One day at a time is working for me as I'm sure the healing journey will be a long one. Your good thoughts and well wishes will continue to comfort me on my path."

He knew "mom would want to see everyone's smiling face as she read an excerpt and signed copies" of Call Me Anne, Homer wrote, and a reading in her honor was scheduled for Jan. 24.

Homer, however, did not attend the event held at a Barnes & Noble in L.A., while brother Atlas did with Tupper.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Race to Erase MS

"I want to say that I'm doing great, but it's been a very, very difficult time," Tupper told People at the reading. "A very big transition and spending time with my boy and looking after him, that's basically been my whole focus."

The Big Little Lies actor said Atlas had taken up tennis and "has really good friends. So keeping these things carefully in balance, that's how we're getting through grief."

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Homer's dad, Coley Laffoon, shared on his son's 21st birthday in March that they were on a father-son trip in San Francisco, writing that Homer had "come through his challenges on his terms. Can't ask for much more. Has a promising new job, great friends, is a loving son and brother…He's doing great and it feels so good."

Laffoon added, "Impossible not to close my eyes and think of @anneheche zooming around the cosmos, swinging by Northern California, smiling her knowing and still vulnerable smile as she races past. He's good Anne. Thank you for trusting him to me. It's going to keep being great. I promise."

A few days before Atlas graduated from eighth grade in June, Tupper brought him to the 30th annual Race to Erase MS Gala. "We're taking care of each other and taking it one day at a time," Tupper told People at the event. Thinking of Heche, he added, "We still miss her, we miss her every day, love her."

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