Anne Heche wrote a follow-up memoir before her death. What to know about her upcoming book

·7 min read

In the year before Anne Heche's tragic death, she was writing a sequel to her 2001 memoir "Call Me Crazy." Now that book, titled "Call Me Anne," is set to arrive in January.

The actress's first book, released in September 2001, discusses Heche's lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse. Her second book is expected to share more of Heche's candid thoughts on her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the late 1990s.

Heche died Aug. 14 at age 53, nine days after she was pulled from a burning car and hospitalized in critical condition following a crash into a Los Angeles house on Aug. 5.

"Call Me Crazy" is no longer in print, so following her death, fans flocked to online bookstores and libraries to try to get a copy.

Here's everything we know about Heche's new memoir and the first one she wrote more than two decades ago.

Anne Heath death: Actress dead at 53 after weeklong hospitalization from fiery car crash

What is 'Call Me Anne' about?

In an excerpt from the book, shared exclusively with the Associated Press, Heche talks about dating DeGeneres. At the time, they were among Hollywood’s first openly gay couples.

“I was labeled ‘outrageous’ because I fell in love with a woman. I had never been with a woman before I dated Ellen,” Heche wrote in "Call Me Anne."

In her lifetime, Heche said that Hollywood effectively blacklisted her because she was with DeGeneres, who around the same time made television history by having her character in the sitcom “Ellen” come out as gay.

“I did not, personally, identify as a lesbian. I simply fell in love! It was, to be clear, as odd to me as anyone else. There were no words to describe how I felt,” Heche wrote. “Gay didn’t feel right, and neither did straight. Alien might be the best fit, I sometimes thought. What, why, and how I fell in love with a person instead of their gender, I would have loved to have answered if anyone had asked, but as I said earlier, no one ever did. I am happy that I was able to tell you in this book — once and for all.”

Actress Anne Heche poses for a portrait to promote the film, "The Last Word" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 23, 2017. Heche, who first came to prominence on the NBC soap opera “Another World” in the late 1980s before becoming one of the hottest stars in Hollywood in the late 1990s, died Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, nine days after she was injured in a fiery car crash. She was 53.
Actress Anne Heche poses for a portrait to promote the film, "The Last Word" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 23, 2017. Heche, who first came to prominence on the NBC soap opera “Another World” in the late 1980s before becoming one of the hottest stars in Hollywood in the late 1990s, died Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, nine days after she was injured in a fiery car crash. She was 53.

When did Heche write 'Call Me Anne?'

Start Publishing, an independent publisher based in Hoboken, New Jersey, has the book scheduled for January. The book’s publisher, Jarred Weisfeld, says that he signed a deal with Heche in May and that she had turned in a manuscript shortly before she died. She also wrote about having Harrison Ford as a mentor, along with stories about Alec Baldwin, Ivan Reitman and Oliver Stone, among others.

The book’s release was first announced by Publishers Weekly.

What did Heche say about her new book?

Heche mentioned she was working on another book in a posthumously-released podcast episode of "Behind the Velvet Rope," released Aug. 16. Heche told host David Yontef that her "next book" was the "flipside" to her first book.

"It’s the practice of how to get over abuse and how to start the process of living in love with yourself, that engages with others, and living in love with the kindness when you can bring yourself to others in the full capacity," she said.

During the podcast, she also revealed that if a biopic was made about her life, she would want Miley Cyrus or Kristen Bell to play her.

"The two of them share a personality and ability to face the world in a way that I feel like I have and would want portrayed," she said.

What is 'Call Me Crazy' about?

Heche's first memoir recounts her turbulent upbringing, her rise to fame and her high-profile relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, whom she dated from 1997 to 2000.

In one version of the book cover, as seen on Amazon, a quote from Gloria Steinem calls the memoir "a brave, funny, irresistible, and wise companion on the long journey home."

"Call Me Crazy" by Anne Heche
"Call Me Crazy" by Anne Heche

USA TODAY has been unable to obtain a copy of the book, but excerpts can be found in Google Books — some of them now eerie and heartbreaking to consume.

Who is Anne Heche? Read about her life before car crash, including mental health struggles, Ellen DeGeneres romance

In her prologue, Heche envisioned herself attempting to leap from the top of a staircase and fly.

"And then I leapt. With all my might. Up, up, and away. Weightless. Free abandon. It wasn’t that long of a ride, but long enough. As I felt the landing at the bottom coming toward me, I easily touched down. Toe by toe until I was on solid ground again. Would anyone ever believe that I could actually fly?"

In the second chapter, titled "Centuries of Memories," she wrote of being raised in a Christian home with four siblings, including a sister who died named Cynthia.

"I loved that I had another sister. I used to fantasize that I would go to heaven and meet her. 'When I go to heaven I’m going to meet her and we’ll be friends,' I would say with a smile to everyone I met, like it was a good thing that she was dead. It gave me something to look forward to."

What are the biggest revelations from 'Call Me Crazy?'

In a Sept. 6, 2001, story from USA TODAY's archives, Heche talked to reporter Ann Oldenburg about her memoir and why she chose to write it.

"There have been many things put out about me that were not the full story," she said at the time. "So I thought it was important and necessary to tell the whole story. In telling the whole story – whether you like it, don't like it, think I'm insane, think I'm sane – you'll see we are on a journey that is an individual process toward healing ourselves, I believe."

Heche's book arrived around the same time she married cameraman Coleman Laffoon, who she met while working on a documentary about her ex DeGeneres. She was also pregnant with her son, Homer. The couple divorced in 2009.

Oldenburg wrote of the biggest highlights from the book:

  • Heche had herpes at age 8; sexual abuse by father Donald Heche, a closeted gay man, might have begun when she was still in diapers and continued until she was 12. She and her three siblings were often beaten with a wooden spoon. Heche's father, a choir director in a Baptist church who frequented gay bars, died of AIDS in 1983.

  • She explained what really happened one day in Fresno in 2000 when she was found wandering and muttering about a spaceship. The day was the culminating moment of her "insanity." She had taken one Ecstasy pill, which she took because she needed to get on a spaceship to heaven to find love. Celestia, a name for her alternate personality, was part of a "fantasy world" she created to escape the real world of abuse. A particularly intense episode happened for 12 days after the shooting of "Donnie Brasco." She says stigmata – bleeding marks resembling crucifixion wounds – appeared on her feet, and she had a vision that she would have "the next Immaculate Conception."

  • Her brother died by suicide when he was 23, running a car off the road.

  • She had a two-year love affair with Steve Martin before she met DeGeneres.

  • She said her relationship with DeGeneres was a "marriage" in terms of commitment to each other. Their split had "nothing to do with sexuality."

Can I get a copy of Anne Heche's book?

"Call Me Crazy" is out of print, meaning it is no longer being published. There are copies of the book for sale on Amazon, but following her death, they are now listed as "Collectibles," with prices ranging from $500 to $800.

Copies can also be found at libraries around the country, but they are becoming increasingly difficult to find. USA TODAY staffers searched their local libraries for the book in August, but found they were all already checked out.

The book was published by Scribner and released Sept. 4, 2001. "Call Me Crazy" entered USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list on Sept. 13 at No. 65 and stayed on the list for two weeks. The world would then become occupied with the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

'This is a sad day': Ellen DeGeneres, more mourn Anne Heche following her death

Contributing: Edward Segarra; Associated Press

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.

Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE and 

More: Anne Heche revealed who she wanted to play her in a biopic, months before her death

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Anne Heche talks Ellen in posthumous memoir, more about her books