Elizabeth Gilbert’s much-praised memoir Eat, Pray, Love was basically treated as a second bible by travelers, writers, and women stuck in “meh” marriages. In addition, her work in Big Magic has saved many a writer from sheer meltdown status, and her famous Ted Talk on creativity is played in nearly every freshman writing class in the country. In short, Elizabeth Gilbert’s words, creative insight, and brave search for an authentic self have made her modern writing royalty. So when she drops a major life revelation, it is news.
On to the story! Eat, Pray, Love was a massive success (they even made a movie staring Julia Roberts, so you know it’s a big deal.) And then — spoiler alert — the guy she falls in love with in the end (uh, Javier Bardem if you’re going by the movie) actually ends up becoming her husband. And everyone lives happily ever after!
Nope. She writes another book called Committed about finally marrying the guy. And then, because the universe loves irony, Gilbert left said husband not too long ago, and we were all a little confused and sad because they ran an antique store together and their lives sounded quaint. But the author has since announced that she left her husband for her best friend of 10 years, Rayya Elias, who was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer. Gilbert and Elias have been friends for over a decade. Gilbert says it was Elias’s recent diagnosis of cancer that brought her true love into focus.
In moments such as this, Gilbert is second to none at addressing the change in her life with utter grace and lovely prose:
“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.”
We wish them nothing but the best.