CELEBRITY
10/03/2011 04:28 pm ET | Updated Dec 03, 2011

Anne Heche: Lifetime 'Saved My Butt'

In the past, Anne Heche was more famous for her turbulent private life than for her acting career. But times have certainly changed for the 42-year-old actress, who persevered through a high-profile romance with Ellen DeGeneres and a nervous breakdown.

Heche not only returns as Jessica, Thomas Jane’s ex-wife on Showtime’s "Hung." She's also in another ripped-from-the-headlines movie on Lifetime called "Girl Fight," which premieres on Oct. 3.

The fiercely intelligent and candid actress spoke to HuffPost Celebrity about her latest roles and how thankful she is for where her career has taken her.

What is "Girl Fight" about?
It’s pretty special because it came to me and James [Tupper, Heche's partner] as a joint offer. I think [Lifetime] needed a family feeling to capture what this movie’s about. It’s about a girl who gets beat up by some of her friends for the benefit of doing a YouTube video.

Isn't this behavior incredibly screwed up?
I can't agree more. One of the things that was so shocking to me and James was that we couldn't believe what goes on … What has affected this generation to the point where [violence] would be acceptable even in their minds? I'm not so ancient that I wasn't exposed to what was going on in the world but this just seems out of control.

I'm a huge Lifetime movie fan. Do you have a favorite?
I hate to say one that I'm in, but I got to know Lifetime through a movie I did called "Gracie's Choice." At the time, [Lifetime] saved my butt. I was so happy to work and put food on my table and now I've done a bunch of them.

Were you really dead broke?
Pretty broke. I had a baby so I took nine months off -- which is a terrible amount of time for an actor to take off -- and then I did a Broadway show and that was even worse because that was another year. All of those things were wonderful experiences, for sure, but you know, sometimes Lifetime comes along and scoops you up and says, 'Let me help you out.'

You must love "Hung" because it's a steady paycheck.
'Hung' is the blessing of my life. I've heard this season is the best season so far, but I don't know if it's the producers blowing smoke. I live five minutes away from the studio. It's heavenly. We only shoot for three or four months of the year. It's a perfect job and I love my character. I'm the only girl on the show who doesn't have to get naked so I really like that.

Have you ever wondered why your character, Jessica, left her husband if he is supposed to be to spectacularly endowed?
Well, I wouldn't say that's the only thing that makes a marriage. Funnily enough, that very subject is addressed this season.

What was your first acting job?
My very first week I had to audition, I had to find my way to Warner Brothers and audition for a part on "Murphy Brown." I did get there -- I'm sure completely frazzled -- but somehow managed to get the job. First job, first week, which is good and bad. It made me stay, for sure, and gave me an idea that this was not going to be a rocky road.

What's one part you really wanted that you didn't get?
Every Julia Roberts role. "Iron Man." That might have been fun.

Did you try for it?
No, I didn't try for it! You don't get to try for things if Gwyneth Paltrow says yes -- there's no auditioning. You only get to audition after all of the offers have been denied. But I've had an amazing career. The fact that I'm still standing is awesome and the roles that come to me are so much fun.

For a while, you were more famous for your personal life than your work, and yet you managed to come back and have a successful career.
It's amazing to me.

Didn't you think you were going to be a tabloid joke?
I didn't have to think it. I was it. But my life has always been about survival. I found myself in situations that I couldn't possibly imagine because I was on the road to healing my life. It wasn't about what somebody else was thinking about me that got me there. All those things that happened along the way are probably the culmination of the reason why I'm strong enough to be here.

I reckon your life story could fill a Lifetime miniseries.
(Laughs) That's hilarious. Maybe I'll pitch it to them. 'How about a miniseries about me?'