Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat Pray Love,’ in love with terminally ill best friend


Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, who split from her husband of nine years in July, says she’s in love with her best friend, a woman named Rayya Elias. Her former husband, Jose Nunes, was played by Javier Bardem in the film adaption of Gilbert’s famed book.

The author revealed the news in a lengthy and emotional Facebook post on Wednesday.

The posting was confirmed by Gilbert’s publicist at Riverhead Books, Jynne Martin.


“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,” she wrote. “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.”

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In the post, the 47-year-old says she realized her love for Elias after learning the brunette had been diagnosed with incurable pancreatic and liver cancer.

READ MORE: Loving trailer: Interracial love story has Oscar written all over it

“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… I’m walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner.”

Gilbert says she is making her relationship with Elias public because such “truth and transparency” makes life easier and more ethical.

“She’s my best friend, yes,” Gilbert wrote, “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.”

She asked her readers for their love, and subsequently went on to thank them for the outpouring of affection she’s received.

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A few of the exchanges on social are captured below.

With files from The Associated Press

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