Anne Heche's Podcast Co-Host Remembers Her as 'Kindest Soul,' Says 'She Was Way Ahead of Us'

Heather Duffy honors the late actress as she processes the "profound loss" of her friend.

The tributes to Anne Heche continue to pour in as her podcast co-host, Heather Duffy, shares a heartfelt remembrance of her late friend. In an Instagram caption posted on Thursday, the Better Together With Anne & Heather co-host is honoring Heche's contribution to LGBTQ+ empowerment. 

"I had to take a moment to begin to process the profound loss of my beautiful friend with the kindest soul I’ve known," Duffy begins. "Anne was joyful despite all the challenges that she faced in her life. She was truthful despite being in a business that is make-believe. Spreading love and kindness in the world is what mattered most to her, even if, at times, the world did not give it back.

"So many do not know the bravery and the sacrifice it took for Anne to stand up for the right to love who you wanted back in the late 90s," she continues. "Her public stand for equality empowered many LGBTQ+ people worldwide to see a future where they could live in their truth, which mattered to her more than anything. We have come a long way because of her truth, bravery, and kindness in that moment 25 years ago when she chose to bring a woman as her date to the premiere of Volcano. I wish the media would have circled back at some point while she was with us to recognize how harshly they judged her in those moments when she took a stand for equality. She was way ahead of us, and we are all just catching up. Fly free, my friend. This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."

Heche famously brought Ellen DeGeneres as her date to the 1997 premiere of Volcano, prompting backlash both publicly and, she said, with the movie studio. The pair dated from 1997 to 2000.

"I was told by Fox Studio executives that if I brought Ellen to the premiere, my contract would be terminated," Heche recalled in a 2020 interview with Mr. Warburton magazine. "I brought Ellen despite those threats, and we were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security and not allowed to attend the premiere party because they did not want any photos of us together."

"The difference between what would happen today and what happened then is that I would not have been ushered out of my own premiere and fired from a multi-million dollar picture deal with Fox for taking a girl as my date," she added.

On Aug. 14, the actress was taken off life support after getting into a serious car accident a week prior in Los Angeles. She was 53.

Heche's cause of death was the result of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries due to her fiery car crash, the LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office confirmed to ET on Wednesday.

On Aug. 5, Heche crashed her blue Mini Cooper into a home around 11 a.m. PT in the Mar Vista neighborhood of L.A. Fifty-nine firefighters rescued Heche from the crash that ignited a house fire. She was rushed to a nearby hospital with severe burns, and the home was completely destroyed. The accident was Heche's third car crash within a 30-minute span.