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

Author Elizabeth Gilbert attends the world premiere of "Eat, Pray, Love" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, Aug. 10, 2010. (AP file)
Author Elizabeth Gilbert attends the world premiere of "Eat, Pray, Love" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, Aug. 10, 2010. (AP file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Eat Pray Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert, who split from her husband of nine years in July, says she is in love with her best friend, a woman named Rayya Elias, who was recently diagnosed with incurable pancreatic and liver cancer.

Gilbert says in a lengthy Facebook post Wednesday the terminal diagnosis uncovered her true feelings for her longtime friend, and those feelings led to Gilbert's divorce from Jose Nunes, whom she described falling for at the end of her best-selling memoir. The posting was confirmed by Gilbert's publicist at Riverhead Books, Jynne Martin.

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

She asked her readers for their love.

She wrote, in part: "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."

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