Anne Heche's childhood friend recalls memories living in Ocean City: 'We did everything together'

The Emmy Award-winning actress lost her life in a fiery crash last week in Los Angeles.

ByBrandon Longo via WPVI logo
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Anne Heche has died at the age of 53 after suffering serious injuries in a fiery car accident in Los Angeles, according to her family.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Family and friends continue to mourn the loss of Anne Heche - the Emmy Award-winning actress who lost her life in a fiery crash last week in Los Angeles, California.

Heche spent a portion of her early childhood at the Jersey Shore in Ocean City where her family was involved with the Baptist church.

"We were best friends. We did everything together in our younger years," said April Ure, 51, recalling some of her fondest childhood memories with Heche.

The pair became friends when Ure was about five years old. She says her family spent a lot of time with the Heches, including Bible studies and dinners.

"We did a lot of things together as families for many, many years - barbecues, playing on the beach," recalled Ure, adding that some of Heche's older siblings would even babysit her.

SEE ALSO: Anne Heche taken off life support after recipient for organ donation found

The childhood friendship remained close until Ure's family moved away from Ocean City when she was 11 years old.

"I was devastated and so was Anne. We were very close," Ure said. "I just remember holding her and hugging her and saying we're going to be best friends forever."

Like many summer memories of the Jersey Shore, the inseparable duo enjoyed their time on the beach and Ocean City boardwalk.

"My dad would take us to Mack & Manco. We had to have that. We would go to Wonderland Pier, ride some rides and play some games. And then on the walk back down the boardwalk, we would stop and get orange twist ice cream cones with jimmies."

Ure knew early on that Heche had the drive to be a star.

"We'd like to dress up. Anne always said she was going to be famous one day. She was gonna get out of this town and she was going to be this famous little girl," she recalled.

Heche broke into Hollywood in the 1980s on the soap opera "Another World," for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991.

She went on to receive Primetime Emmy and Tony Award nominations for her work on "Gracie's Choice" and "Twentieth Century," respectively, and appeared in films including "Donnie Brasco," "Volcano," "Wag the Dog," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer."

In recent years, Heche competed on "Dancing with the Stars" and co-hosted the podcast "BETTER TOGETHER With Anne & Heather."

Ure says she lost contact with Heche after her move out of Ocean City. It wasn't until a conversation with her mother when she was in high school that she learned her friend was on the rise to fame, starring in a soap opera.

In her 2001 memoir "Call Me Crazy," Heche recounted her difficult childhood and surviving abuse. She told ABC News' Barbara Walters in 2001 that her father sexually assaulted her when she was a child and that the family experienced homelessness.

Her father died of AIDS on March 4, 1983, Heche wrote in the book. That same year, her brother Nathan was killed in a car crash.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Heche's brother died a week before his graduation from Ocean City High School.

Heche, who was born in Ohio, attended several schools in South Jersey prior to moving to Chicago.

Heche was behind the wheel on Aug. 5 when she crashed into a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, engulfing her car and the house in flames, according to Los Angeles police and fire officials.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, results from a blood draw completed after the crash showed Heche had narcotics in her system, but additional tests were being run to determine more about the drugs, and to rule out which ones may have been present based on drugs administered at the hospital.

Heche's representative said the actress was initially hospitalized in stable condition. On Aug. 8, her rep said she slipped into a coma and was in critical condition.

Heche was declared brain dead Thursday night but was kept on life support for organ donation, and her heart was still beating, her representative said Friday.

Her representative told ABC News on Sunday night that she has been peacefully taken off life support.

News of the crash shattered Ure, but she says she's holding onto the happy moments.

"I just want to remember the little girl. I want to remember my friend who played dress-up with me and brought what dolls she had. And taking bike rides and building sandcastles. And talking about what we were going to be when we grew up and how we were going to get out of a small town and do things...I want to remember that little girl and I want to remember her accomplishments as the actress that she wanted to be -- and became," Ure said.

Heche is survived by her two sons.

"My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom," Heche's oldest son Homer said in a statement Friday. "After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom."

"Rest In Peace Mom, I love you."

ABC News contributed to this report.