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.
Elizabeth Gilbert and Rayya Elias together
Elizabeth Gilbert and Rayya Elias together
Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together — but not today. Today was precious and perfect. A simple and spontaneous ceremony of love, surrounded by a small handful of friends and family.
Our ceremony was nothing legally binding (no need to alert the authorities, folks!)...just a quiet and private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other.
More difficult days are to come. It doesn't get easier from here. Her illness is grave. But our love is strong. We will walk together as far as we can go together. After that, it all gets turned over to God.
Create beauty with every day you are given,
LG (And thank you, @bindleandkeep, for putting a rush on @rayyaelias's suit, and for hand-delivering it yesterday. She looked beautiful. Thank you for the grace, the care, and the compassion. You are good people.)
This is it: Laughing, Crying, Singing. All at once. This is what we have, and what we are. (Thank you to the sweet soul who took this photo at #kripalu this weekend.) I will treasure that day forever. ❤️
Oh hello, Moore Theatre! You shine so beautifully!
This one. ❤
It's been a tough summer. But here we are — still in the game. Onward ever, backwards never…❤️
My heart. My phoenix.
One of Rayya’s favorite places in the world was the Fire Island Pines — a beautiful, funky, open-minded, open-hearted, gay-friendly beach community in New York, where she always felt her most free and happy.
This photo was taken of us in the summer of 2016, on the Fire Island Ferry, heading for a vacation in that sweet place of joy. Rayya was already quite sick at the time, and she was undergoing chemotherapy and facing tough realities about her fate, but you can see by the expression on her face in this photo that she was in total happiness, nonetheless. That’s because she was going to the Pines! THAT’S how much she loved Fire Island!
Some wonderful friends of Rayya’s decided that a great way to honor her memory would be with a celebration and fundraiser held in the Fire Island Pines this summer, coinciding with the super-fun weekend of Pride.
SO....I would like to officially invite you to a Women’s Pride in the Pines cocktail party and celebration on June 9, in honor of Rayya. I will certainly be there!
If you cannot attend, but would like to make a donation out of the kindness of your heart in Rayya’s name, that would be so appreciated! All donations will go to benefit the LGBTQ FOCUS FOUNDATION — a fantastic foundation that provides funds and awareness to a multitude of vital LGBTQ community organizations.
Click on the link in my bio to attend, or to donate.❤️ I also want to say this: I really appreciate all the love and kindness that my own community has shown to me in the wake of Rayya’s death. It has been a tough season of grieving, but your care and sensitivity has helped so much. This winter was godawful, but the days are getting longer, and the sun is shining, and I am still here, and I still love life — even though the best and most exciting person who ever graced my life has gone. But for now, I just want to report the miraculously good news that apparently the human heart can take a merciless pounding from loss and sorrow, and somehow still carry on. Life gives us the unbearable, and somehow we bear it. Love is everywhere.We are more resilient than we know. That’s the good news.
Nothing is stopping me from loving her forever.
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
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.”