Just two months after announcing the end of her marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert has revealed she is in a same-sex relationship with her best friend. In a touching Facebook post shared on Wednesday, the Eat, Pray, Love author confirmed her new romance with fellow writer Rayya Elias, and admitted it was the reason for the end of her nine-year marriage to Jose Nunes.
"Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me," Elizabeth, 47, wrote, revealing that she only realised her true feelings following Rayya's diagnosis with incurable liver and pancreatic cancer this past spring.
Elizabeth Gilbert is in a relationship with her best friend Rayya Elias
"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. And I have no more time for denying that truth," Elizabeth wrote.
"For those of you who are doing the math here and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes… I am exactly where I need to be – the only place I can be."
The Eat, Pray, Love author announced the end of her marriage to Jose Nunes in July
Elizabeth and Rayya have been friends for more than 15 years – "She's my best friend, yes, but it's always been bigger than that. She's my role model, my traveling companion, my most reliable source of light, my fortitude, my most trusted confidante. In short, she is my PERSON," wrote Elizabeth.
Now, she added, "I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner."
The post has received an overwhelming response, following which Elizabeth returned to social media to thank well-wishers, tweeting: "Thank you for the love, everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
Published in 2006, Eat, Pray, Love recounted a year-long trip of self-discovery Elizabeth took to Italy, India and Indonesia after divorcing her first husband. It was during that time that she met Jose – the character of Felipe in the 'Love' section of the memoir was based on him. The novel was later made into a hit movie in 2010, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem.