In a Facebook post published Wednesday, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, revealed she is in love with another woman — Rayya Elias, her best friend of over a decade and fellow author.
Rayya Elias is a filmmaker, musician, and the author of Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk, From the Middle East to the Lower East Side. Gilbert and Elias have been friends for more than 15 years.
This past spring, Gilbert received news that Elias had been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer.
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. 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.
The diagnosis actually helped Gilbert realize her true feelings toward her longtime best friend and loyal companion.
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. 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.