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Saturday, 19 August, 2000, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
DeGeneres and Heche split
Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres
Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres: Amicable break-up
Hollywood's most famous same-sex couple, Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, have split up.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, the couple said it was an amicable parting.

"We greatly value the three and a half years we have spent together," said the statement quoted by the newspaper.

"We hope everyone will respect our privacy through this time," they added.

The two actresses have been together since May 1997, when they met at a Vanity Fair party for the Oscars.

Their relationship was made public several weeks later, when they attended a dinner at the White House.

Out in the cold

After coming out as lesbians, both actresses said the Hollywood establishment had turned against them.

A year after DeGeneres made television history by becoming the first openly gay lead on a sitcom, the ABC network cancelled the show. They said the show, Ellen, was getting poor ratings and DeGeneres was not offered another series.

Heche, who starred opposite Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Nights, also found that studios were unwilling to cast her in new projects

"What we've found is that this is a very hard town to be truthful in," said DeGeneres in an interview in December 1998.

Recently the two women worked together on a film for the HBO cable channel about a lesbian couple trying to have a baby.

Heche also filmed DeGeneres on her three-month tour as a standup comedian for an HBO special.

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12 Oct 99 | Entertainment
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