Anne Heche is back on the market. The Brave actress confirmed she and longtime love James Tupper have split after more than 10 years together.
“James and I have shared a great life together and have many wonderful memories. We’ve enjoyed working together, most recently on The Brave, where he joins us for our two mind-bending finale episodes,” the couple tells People in a joint statement. “Relationships change and grow; we’re taking time for that. We care very much for each other and plan to continue raising our two beautiful boys in love and harmony. Thank you for allowing us privacy as our family evolves.”
Tupper — who most recently appeared as Nathan in Big Little Lies — and Heche have one child together, son Atlas, 8. The actor has also been a father figure to Heche’s other son, 15-year-old Homer, from her previous marriage to Coley Laffoon.
The actress’s romantic relationships have been tabloid fodder for decades. Heche fell for Tupper in 2006 when they co-starred on the sitcom Men in Trees. At the time, she was still married to Laffoon.
“Where else do you meet people except in your workplace?” Heche reflected to The Telegraph in 2011. “I’m not a person who goes out to bars. … We thank our lucky stars for that show because now we have our beautiful son.”
Tupper and Heche never wed. In that same interview, the actress described herself as “eternally engaged” to Tupper but added that neither of them were eager to walk down the aisle. “I’ve been married before and so has he. I don’t know what either of us would gain or what would change that would benefit us,” she explained. Her contentious split from Laffoon also played a large role in that decision.
In 2007, Laffoon filed for divorce from the actress after five years of marriage. Ugly battles in court ensued in the months that followed, with Laffoon calling the actress a poor parent with “bizarre and delusional behavior.” Meanwhile, she claimed her estranged husband “resorted to lies” to get more money from her. In the end, the stay-at-home-dad got a hefty payday, receiving $515,000 plus $3,700 per month in child support. Heche also assumed 75 percent of Homer’s private-school tuition.
“I pay an extraordinary amount of money to him, and it’s unfortunate because it is what I believe keeps him from getting a job,” Heche told the New York Times in 2009. Laffoon, a registered real estate agent in Los Angeles at the time, simply told the paper, “I’m glad it’s over and everyone seems to be moving on with their lives.”
Heche agreed, adding, “I have that beautiful 7-year-old boy. The blessing of his life is that he adores his stepdad, and they have a beautiful relationship. Homer feels like he has more love in his life. That’s been the outcome of this whole thing. I’d like to leave it there.”
It wasn’t always public jabs and resentment between Laffoon and Heche. However, their relationship also had a dramatic start. They met while filming a comedy special for Heche’s then-partner, Ellen DeGeneres. Laffoon was a cameraman, and they began seeing each other three months after Heche and DeGeneres broke up.
DeGeneres was Heche’s only female relationship, according to the actress, but it is one of her most famous. Once Hollywood’s most well-known lesbian couple, the pair met at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 1997. In the three-and-a-half years that followed, neither star shied away from public declarations of love.
“It’s a celebration every single day,” DeGeneres gushed in 2000. “It’s kind of disgusting and crazy that we’re like… Oh, we’re so lucky.”
Months later, the pair went through a public split. Shortly afterward, DeGeneres told the Los Angeles Times it wasn’t her choice to end the relationship. “[Anne] walked out the door and I haven’t spoken to her since. I don’t have the answers,” the talk show host said in 2001. “I would love to have them myself. I would ask all of the questions that everyone else wants to ask. … I’m left, with everybody else, wondering what happened. I don’t know. I really don’t. … I feel betrayed. … And I know him [Laffoon]. He was on my tour with me. He was like my brother.”
Here’s hoping for an amicable split for Heche and Tupper.
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