Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert has announced that her marriage with her husband, Jose Nunes – who features in two of her books – ended this year after she entered into a romantic same-sex relationship with her best friend, the Syrian-born author Rayya Elias, who was recently diagnosed with incurable pancreatic and liver cancer.

Gilbert says in post on Facebook this week, that the horrible diagnosis actually helped Gilbert realise her true feelings towards her longtime best friend and loyal companion.

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.

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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.”

Gilbert confirmed that her relationship with Elias had brought about the end of her marriage to Nunes but asked for privacy and respect in the wake of her announcement.

She and Elias had decided to speak publicly about their relationship “for the sake of our own integrity”.

Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I’m walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be – the only place I can be.”

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