Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, has revealed that she is in love and dating her best friend of 15 years, lesbian author and musician Rayya Elias.

Elizabeth Gilbert Finds Lesbian Love With Best Friend

Gilbert took to Facebook Wednesday to reveal that not only was she in love with Elias, but that her longtime friend-turned-partner was battling incurable pancreatic and liver cancer. It was the news of the grim diagnosis that propelled Gilbert’s realization that her feelings for Elias were more than platonic.

“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,” Gilbert began her post. “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.”

“Something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya’s diagnosis. Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya,” Gilbert explained further. “And I have no more time for denying that truth. 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.”


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Gilbert went on to admit that her realization about her feelings for Elias was what precipitated her split from Jose Nunes  the man known as Felipe to Eat, Pray, Love readers – who she fell in love with in Bali and ultimately married. Gilbert took the summer to separate from Nunes, open up about the evolution of her relationship with Elias to loved ones, and to care for Elias. As a person living her life in the public eye, Gilbert felt the time had come to share the news.

“This summer has been an essential period of silence, healing, and incubation for us. I have needed that time, and I’ve been grateful to have it. But summer is over. I have work to do in the world — work that I can’t put off anymore,” Gilbert said. “I will be out and about in a very public way again over the next few weeks and months. People will be looking at me again. And when people look at me, they will inevitably see me with Rayya, because — as God is my witness — whenever Rayya is healthy enough to be by my side, she will be by my side.”

Gilbert intends to live her life “in truth and transparency” and confirmed that she and Elias are partners and in love with one another.

“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,” Gilbert said. “I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be.”

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