Hallmark Star & Son Make Red Carpet Appearance Months After Tragic Loss


Heavy/Getty Photographers at a red carpet event in Hollywood

Actor James Tupper and his 14-year-old son with actress Anne Heche, who died tragically in an August 2022 car crash, just made their first red-carpet appearance together since her death. Atlas Tupper accompanied his father to the Race To Erase MS 30th Anniversary Gala in Los Angeles, a cause Tupper has supported for years, on June 2, 2023. Dressed in matching suits and smiling for photographers, the frequent Hallmark star opened up on the red carpet about how he and Atlas are doing 10 months after Heche’s fatal accident.

James Tupper Says He & Young Son Are ‘Taking Care of Each Other’

James Tupper, Atlas Tupper

Heavy/GettyJames Tupper and his son with Anne Heche, Atlas Tupper

On the red carpet, People asked Tupper how he and his young son have been coping since Heche’s death.

“We’re taking care of each other and taking it one day at a time,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of great support and family around us, and it doesn’t help.”

“We still miss her, we miss her every day, love her,” he added.

Heche and Tupper met in 2006 on the set of the TV series “Men in Trees,” according to Us Weekly, and started dating the following year after she split from her husband Coleman “Coley” Laffoon, with whom she shared son Homer Laffoon, now 21. Atlas was born in 2009, and she and Tupper — who considered themselves engaged without plans to marry — broke up in early 2018 after a decade together.

Last fall, Homer battled Tupper’s request in court to officially be named Atlas’ guardian, according to Entertainment Weekly. Homer was granted control over his late mom’s estate in early December, per Page Six. Tupper argued at the time that Homer was not looking out for his half-brother’s best interest, saying that he had “acted in a hostile manner towards Atlas” and had “refused to communicate with him or his representatives at all.”

In January, at an event for the release of Heche’s memoir, “Call Me Anne,” Tupper told People that moving forward was proving to be hard.

“I want to say that I’m doing great, but it’s been a very, very difficult time,” he said. “A very big transition and spending time with my boy and looking after him, that’s basically been my whole focus.”
Tupper’s most recent Hallmark movie, “Mid-Love Crisis” co-starring Teri Hatcher, premiered less than two months after Heche’s death, on October 9, but he did manage to film and appear in four episodes as a cowboy named Cody in the network’s new series “Ride.” Shooting began last summer, so it’s not clear if Tupper’s was on-set before or after Heche’s death.

On helping his son cope with the loss of his mom over the last 10 months, Tupper told People, “It’s very difficult whenever you lose a parent like that. Your whole world switches inside out, and I think kids experience trauma in a way that adults don’t. Adults have a context to put it in, but kids do not. You want to bury it, you want to forget about it and move past it.”

Tupper added, “I happened to have lost my mom, too, when I was very, very young. So I kind of understand what he’s going through.”

In February, Atlas provided a statement to the Los Angeles Inquisitor in honor her posthumous book release.

He said, “My mom was the brightest person I’ve ever known. She always knew how to solve a problem, or help a friend. She always knew the right thing to do. I cannot put into words how grateful I am or how much I miss her.”

Anne Heche Was Laid to Rest on Mother’s Day

Anne Heche with sons

GettyActress Anne Heche with her sons Atlas and Homer in 2014

According to the Associated Press, Heche’s sons chose her final resting place less than two weeks after her death. Heche was cremated, the outlet reported, and her ashes were to be placed in a mausoleum at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

In a statement to the AP, her son Homer said he and Atlas were “convinced our Mom would love the site we have chosen for her; it’s beautiful, serene and she will be among her Hollywood peers.”

The family had a memorial service on Mother’s Day, where her ashes were placed in a spot overlooking its central lake, according to the Los Angeles Times. A representative for Heche said her crypt is located next to actor Mickey Rooney’s and across from the ashes of musicians Chris Cornell and Johnny Ramone. People reported that both of her sons and their dads were present for the service.

On August 5, 2022, Heche was involved in a fiery one-vehicle crash in Los Angeles that required 60 firefighters to put out the blaze. Trapped for nearly an hour, Heche was pulled from the flames and transported to UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital, per People, before slipping into a coma and being moved to a specialty burns ICU at West Hills Hospital. She never regained consciousness. According to the Associated Press, she was declared brain dead on Aug. 11 and remained on life support for three more days so her organs could be donated.

A week after her death, in a report obtained by Heavy, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner officially ruled Heche’s death an accident and revealed the cause as “smoke inhalation and thermal injuries” with a “sternal fracture due to blunt trauma” listed as another significant condition contributing to her death.

According to autopsy results released in December 2022, it was determined that Heche had trace remnants of various drugs that had been in her system previously or were administered to her at the hospital, so it was determined “there was no evidence of impairment by illicit substances” at the time of the accident.

According to IMDb, Heche first gained fame in the 80s on the soap opera “Another World” and in films including “Donnie Brasco,” “Wag the Dog” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” On TV, she had starring roles in ABC’s romantic comedy “Men in Trees,” “Chicago P.D.,” and starred in Hallmark movies including 2016’s “Looks Like Christmas” and 2014’s “One Christmas Eve.”

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