Nancy Prickett Heche is a psychotherapist, author, part-time college professor and activist. She is the mother of five children, including actress Anne Heche. In her memoir, When the Truth Comes Out, she describes her experiences after her daughter announced she was involved in a lesbian relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.
During the 1960s and 1970s the family belonged to a fundamentalist church and resided in an Amish settlement. In a 2009 profile of her daughter Anne the New York Times described Nancy as an "eerily compliant wife". The New York Times in paraphrasing her 2006 memoir, characterized Nancy 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. Upon learning of the diagnosis, Heche became aware that her husband had been leading a double-life as a homosexual. Three months following the death of her husband, Heche's 18 year old son Nathan was killed in a car crash. In 1997 Heche's daughter, Anne, publicly announced her relationship with 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." And that it was, "Like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals."
After reading the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Heche became convinced that change was possible for her daughter, and likened what she believed would be their eventual reconciliation to the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Heche believes that homosexuality is a sin and that through faith in Jesus Christ people can change their sexual orientation, noting that she isn't attempting to convert gays. 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 director of gender issues for the government and public policy division of Focus on the Family said, "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."
On September 8, 2006, Heche's was the "Back of the Book guest" on the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor. She appeared twice on the Christian Broadcasting Network's Engaging your World in December 2006.
Heche adheres to the Bible's proscription that Christians must be tolerant and accepting of homosexuals. She 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."
She been criticized by those who believe that homosexuality is determined by God. And on the other hand she has been accused of being too accepting of a lifestyle condemned by God.
Daniel Kusner, writing in the Dallas Voice, was critical of Heche for failing to protect her children -- and for glossing over her failure in her memoir. According to Kusner "When she’s not thoroughly detailing the minutiae of Don and Nancy’s budding romance at Bible camp, Nancy’s book primarily focuses on Don’s deception. She continually explains that even though Don was a raging freak and obvious liar, she never answered the constant ringing of the Clue Phone. Faith in her Bible-sanctioned marriage made Nancy blind, deaf and stupid."
Anne Heche has been estranged from Nancy ever since Anne confronted her about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. 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. People wonder why I am so forthcoming with the truths that have happened in my life, and it’s because the lies that I have been surrounded with and the denial that I was raised in, for better or worse, bore a child of truth and love. My mother preaches to this day the opposite of that core of my life. It is no mistake that she still stands up against love. And one wonders why I’m not rushing to have her meet my children.
- 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. In the book Heche discusses how she overcame her hatred of the homosexual community. Charisma Magazine said the book is "the one-stop resource is for anyone—families, pastors, counselors, those struggling with same-sex attraction—and addresses the difficult questions that come with the territory.
- 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 3 May 2012.(subscription required)
- Nancy Heche uses personal story to reach church, homosexuals
- "Nancy Heche: When the Truth Comes Out". Cbn.com. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- Alex Witchel (2009-07-31). "Anne Heche Is Playing It Normal Now". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-05. "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." mirror
- Howard, Felicia (October 26, 2010). "Nancy Heche and the Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality". The Christian Post. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- Derfner, Joel (2009-06-16). Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and What Ended Up Happening Instead. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 183–. ISBN 9780767924313. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- Bill O'Reilly (2006-09-08). "Back of Book Segment: Anne Heche's mom speaks out". The O'Reilly Factor. Retrieved 2012-05-04. "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."
- "Guests". Engaging your World. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
- Daniel A. Kusner (2006-10-12). "Maybe Anne Heche wasn't so crazy after all". Dallas Voice. Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2012-05-04. Unknown parameter
- "Anne Heche Is Playing It Normal Now". New York Times.
- "Entertainment". Charismamag.com. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- Homosexuality in the Family, Heche talks about her husband, the death of her son and her reaction to Anne Heche's relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in this video
- Obituary of Donald Joe Heche