'Eat Pray Love' author Elizabeth Gilbert 'in love with' best friend

It's been a momentous summer for Eat Pray Loveauthor Elizabeth Gilbert  — worthy of a sequel to that memoir, in fact.

In early July, she announced she was divorcing her second husband, whom she met at the end of the book; he was played by Javier Bardem in the 2010 movie adaptation.

On Wednesday, she went public with even bigger news: She's in love with Rayya Elias, her best friend of 15 years, whom she has frequently mentioned on her social media accounts.

"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 said in a Facebook post published Wednesday. "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 says she came to the realization this spring after Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer.

"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."

She added that she would soon be back in the public eye and "whenever Rayya is healthy enough to be by my side, she will be by my side."

"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."

KING


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