Elizabeth Gilbert has loved and lost, and now she has found love once again. The Eat, Pray, Love author revealed that she is dating her late partner Rayya Elias’ close friend Simon MacArthur one year after Elias lost her battle with pancreatic and liver cancers.
“Dear Ones: It’s a beautiful spring day in my corner of the world, life is everywhere bursting forth with a sense of rebirth and renewal, and this seems like as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love. Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur,” the 49-year-old wrote on Instagram on Sunday, March 24, alongside a black-and-white selfie with her new boyfriend.
“He’s a photographer from the U.K. — a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years. (Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me),” Gilbert explained to her followers.
The writer wrote that she and MacArthur “have found our way to each other’s arms … and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land.” She acknowledged that their relationship is “so new and young and tender,” but she decided make the news public in hopes that her story will resonate with others.
“If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’,” she wrote. “Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart. But also this: I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life. SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your gorgeous loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love.”
As for those “falling in love in middle age” or who “once loved a man, and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man”? Gilbert reiterated, “It’s OK. Love who you love.”
The New York University graduate — who Julia Roberts portrayed in the 2010 movie adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love — was married twice before her relationship with Elias: to Michael Cooper from 1994 to 2002 and José Nunes from 2007 to 2016. Gilbert had a non-legal commitment ceremony with Elias in June 2017, just shy of seven months before the latter’s death.
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