Nancy Heche

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Nancy Prickett Heche

File:Nancy Heche, 3 of her 5 children, and her controversial late husband
Born Nancy Abigail Baker Prickett
March 10, 1937 (1937-03-10) (age 84)[1]
Nationality USA
Occupation Psychotherapist, author, part-time college professor, activist
Spouse Donald Heche
Children Susan, Nathan, Cynthia, Abigail Anne Heche

Nancy Prickett Heche (born Nancy Abigail Baker Prickett; March 10, 1937) is an American psychotherapist, author, part-time college professor[2] and activist.[3] She is the mother of five children, including actress Anne Heche. In her memoir, The Truth Comes Out, she describes her experiences after her daughter announced she was involved in a lesbian relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.


As a child, Nancy Prickett attended a Methodist church and was raised in Indiana.[4] She met her future husband, Donald Joe Heche, in high school. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Heche family belonged to a fundamentalist church and resided in an Amish settlement.[4] In a 2009 profile of her daughter Anne, The New York Times described Nancy Heche as an "eerily compliant wife".[5] The New York Times, in paraphrasing her 2006 memoir, characterized Heche as someone who "essentially missed the '60s ... never reading a newspaper, listening to the radio or watching television."

In 1983, Heche's husband died of AIDS.[4] Upon learning of the diagnosis, Heche became aware that her husband had been leading a double life as a homosexual.[3] Three months following the death of her husband, Heche's 18-year-old son Nathan was killed in a car crash.[3]

In 1997, Heche's daughter, Anne, publicly announced her relationship with comedian Ellen DeGeneres. Heche said, "She became sort of the poster child for coming out and bringing the whole homosexual issue into the public eye and even glamorizing and humorizing it, laughing about it, making it just another kind of love relationship".[6] Heche said her daughter's sexuality was "like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals."[4] After reading the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Heche became convinced that sexual orientation change was possible for her daughter, and likened what she believed would be their eventual reconciliation to the parable of the Prodigal Son.[7]

Heche has been estranged from her daughter Anne since Anne confronted her about her father's alleged sexual abuse.[8] In her 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy, Anne Heche wrote that when she contracted genital herpes as an infant, her mother insisted that it was a diaper rash and refused to take her to the doctor.[9] Nancy Heche was outraged by her daughter's allegations, responding, "I am trying to find a place for myself in this writing, a place where I as Anne's mother do not feel violated or scandalized." She added, "I find no place among the lies and blasphemies in the pages of this book."[10] Heche's daughter Abigail, a jewelry designer,[11] has said, "'Based on my experience and her own expressed doubts, I believe that [Anne's] memories regarding our father are untrue. And I can state emphatically, regardless of Anne's beliefs, that the assertion that our mother knew about such behavior is absolutely false'".[10]

Daniel Kusner, writing in the Dallas Voice, criticized Heche for failing to protect her children and for glossing over her failure in her 2006 memoir, The Truth Comes Out. According to Kusner, "Faith in her Bible-sanctioned marriage made Nancy blind, deaf and stupid".[12] In 2009, Anne told the New York Times: "My mother's had a very tragic life. Three of her five children are dead, and her husband is dead. That she is attempting to change gay people into straight people is, in my opinion, a way to keep the pain of the truth out".[13]


Since her husband's death from AIDS, Nancy Heche has been a Christian therapist and motivational speaker, who lectures on behalf of James Dobson's Focus on the Family about "overcoming homosexuality".[13] Heche believes that homosexuality is a sin and that through faith in Jesus Christ people can change their sexual orientation, noting that she is not attempting to "convert" gays.[3] She speaks in many areas of the country, often at churches and other organized events, about "leaving homosexuality". Speaking about Heche's activism, Melissa Fryrear, a "former lesbian" and Focus on the Family's director of gender issues for their government and public policy division, "It's wonderful because she obviously offers two unique perspectives, one that she is the parent of someone involved in the homosexual lifestyle and as a spouse whose husband led a secret life."[3]

Heche has been a speaker for Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).[14] On September 8, 2006, Heche was the "Back of the Book guest" on the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor.[15]Template:Better source needed She appeared twice on the Christian Broadcasting Network's Engaging your World in December 2006.[16]Template:Better source needed

Heche adheres to the Bible's "mandate that Christians must love, gays and lesbians included". She has said, "We are supposed to be known by our love. So to categorize it or think it's going to be different for someone who is living homosexually is a misconception. We just show love".[3] Heche has been criticized by those who believe that homosexuality is determined by God. She has also been accused of being too accepting of a lifestyle condemned by God.[3]

Published works

  • The Truth Comes Out (Regal, 2006)
  • The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality: A Biblical and Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction, co-authored with Joe Dallas.

See also


  1. "Birth Record of Nancy Abigail Baker Prickett". MooseRoots. Retrieved November 1, 2016. 
  2. Baldacci, Leslie (September 13, 2006). "Cleaning the closet: The third woman in Anne Heche's family -- her mom -- has published a memoir of their times". Chicago Sun-Times: p. 54. Retrieved May 3, 2012. Template:Subscription required
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Nancy Heche uses personal story to reach church, homosexuals". Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Nancy Heche: When the Truth Comes Out". Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  5. Witchel, Alex (July 31, 2009). "Anne Heche Is Playing It Normal Now". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2012. "After Don dropped out of medical school, he never found a profession that lasted, becoming a part-time church organist and choir director, hatching doomed schemes to make money and stowing his family in rural Ohio in a religious compound. In her own 2006 memoir, The Truth Comes Out, Nancy Heche wrote that she essentially missed the '60s there, never reading a newspaper, listening to the radio or watching television." 
  6. Howard, Felicia (October 26, 2010). "Nancy Heche and the Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality". The Christian Post. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  7. "Actress' Mom Says Faith Was Tested When Daughter Said She Was Gay". Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  8. Anne Heche Is Pregnant. ABC News (September 6, 2001)
  9. Heche, Anne (2001). Call Me Crazy. New York City: Simon & Schuster. p. 55. ISBN 978-0743424417. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Silverman, Stephen M. (September 7, 2001). "Heche's Mother, Sister Are Outraged". New York City: Meredith Corporation.,,622526,00.html. 
  11. Kessler, Julie (November 2011). "Folk Art and Fascinators". Lakeside, Michigan: Scribes Ink Publishing. 
  12. Daniel A. Kusner (October 12, 2006). "Maybe Anne Heche wasn't so crazy after all". Dallas Voice. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Anne Heche Is Playing It Normal Now". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  14. Derfner, Joel (June 16, 2009). Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and What Ended Up Happening Instead. Random House Digital, Inc.. pp. 183–. ISBN 9780767924313. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  15. Bill O'Reilly (September 8, 2006). "Back of Book Segment: Anne Heche's mom speaks out". The O'Reilly Factor. Retrieved May 4, 2012. "I don't think I've ever seen a person with as much heartbreak as you've had. Your husband led a secret double life as a bisexual, and he died of AIDS in 1983. You had one child die from a birth defect, another daughter die of brain cancer. Your only son was killed in a car accident, and then you had a conflict with your daughter, Anne, about the lesbian relationship." 
  16. "Guests". Engaging your World. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 

External links