Anne Heche’s Friend Recalls Her ‘Love and Kindness’ 1 Year After Actress’s Death: ‘We Miss Her Even More’ Now (Exclusive)
Heche’s close friend Heather Duffy tells PEOPLE she wants the late actress to be remembered “as a kind and gentle soul, a mother, a friend, an incredible talent, and a free spirit who is finally free”
“In some ways, it’s more difficult now because we miss her even more,” she says. “It’s not an anniversary I want to celebrate, but it is an opportunity to shine a light on her life and her impact on this world, her industry, and the lives of the people who loved her.”
In remembering her friend, Duffy credits Heche with being a trailblazer after speaking out about her sexuality. “Her contribution to the LGBTQ+ community is a legacy that will last forever, and our world will forever be more accepting because she stood in her truth when it was not popular to do so,” she says.
“We are doing our best to live as she would have wanted us to — in love and kindness, finding fun in the small moments, working hard, being open and honest, and always accepting of others,” she adds.
Duffy also shared that Heche’s sons — Homer Laffoon, 21, and Atlas Tupper, 14 — are “loved and supported by friends and family and have begun embodying an impressive characteristic that was a big part of Anne – her work ethic.”
“Homer is successfully starting his professional life and working very hard. Atlas is about to enter high school, and is focusing on his tennis training at a very high level,” she notes.
Reflecting on the last year and Heche’s lasting impact, Duffy says she and the late actress’s loved ones hope Heche will continue to be “remembered in the way she lived, as a kind and gentle soul, a mother, a friend, an incredible talent, and a free spirit who is finally free. But still watching over all of us with her love and guidance.”
Heche died in August 2022 after she crashed her car into a Los Angeles home on Aug. 5. The death was ruled an accident, with smoke inhalation and “sternal fracture due to blunt trauma” listed as the causes. The car crash also caused the L.A. home to catch fire. She was not impaired by drugs, according to a report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner obtained by PEOPLE.
“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” a rep for the star told PEOPLE in a statement at the time. “Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy.”
The statement continued: “Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
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The family laid Heche to rest on Mother’s Day 2023 in a small and private ceremony at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. A source told PEOPLE at the time, “It was a very intimate and special service.”
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