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She reveals she's begun dating her longtime friend Rayya Elias
September 8, 2016 :: 3:55 AM
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling book Eat Pray Love, has revealed that she is in a relationship with a woman, explaining that it was the cause of the breakdown of her marriage earlier this year.
“This spring, I received news that would change my life forever,” Gilbert wrote in an emotional Facebook post. “My best friend Rayya Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer — a disease for which there is no cure.”
“In the moment I first learned of Rayya’s diagnosis, a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart (a trap door I didn’t even know was there) and my entire existence fell straight through that door,” she continued. “From that moment forward, everything became about HER. I cancelled everything in my life that could be cancelled, and I went straight to her side, where I have been ever since.”
Unsurprisingly, Rayya’s diagnosis prompted a lot of soul searching, and the prospect of her death sparked an unexpected revelation.
“I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth,” Gilbert wrote. “The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her…well, that thought was unthinkable.”
She went on to confirm for “those of you who are doing the math here,” that acknowledging her feelings for Rayya was behind the divorce from her husband, which she announced this July. The pair met during the spiritual journey that she later turned into the memoir Eat Pray Love.
Gilbert also explained why she’s announced her relationship now, admitting that while they’ve enjoyed their “cocoon of privacy” over the last few months, she is “someone who lives her life in the public eye.”
“Sure, I could pretend that Rayya is still just my best friend, but that would be…you know… pretending. Pretending is demeaning, and it makes you weak and confused, and it’s also a lot of work. I don’t do that kind of work anymore,” she wrote. “I need to live my life in truth and transparency, even more than I need privacy, or good publicity, or prudence, or other people’s approval or understanding, or just about anything else.”
“So. Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I’m walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be.”