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Elvira is coming out of the darkness of the closet.
Cassandra Peterson, the actress globally known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is opening up about her 19-year romantic relationship with a woman.
On Tuesday, the 70-year-old gothic goddess released her autobiography, “Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark,” in which she reveals “her full story, filled with intimate bombshells,” according to the publisher.
Peterson writes about surviving a serious burning accident when she was just 18 months old; leaving her Manhattan, Kans., home at 14; and performing in Las Vegas just three years after that.
This year, Peterson is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Elvira, the beloved horror hostess character that turned her into an international icon.
But there’s one important detail about her life that the indisputable queen of Halloween is only revealing now. For the past 19 years, Peterson has been in a relationship with another woman, her former personal trainer, who she refers to as “T.”
“Keeping a secret doesn’t feel good,” Peterson told The Orange County Register, speaking about finally opening up about her sexuality.
“I’m glad to have it out there,” she continued. “I mean, it does worry me. I have moments where I go, ‘Maybe people won’t like me anymore’ and ‘Maybe I won’t get work anymore.’ It’s ridiculous to think that, but I have friends who are gay and have come out of the closet and it affected their work, relationships and their life. So it’s not so far-fetched to be worried. But on the other side of that, it’s so draining keeping it a secret. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for us. It sucks the energy out of you.”
According to The Advocate, Peterson writes in the book that the two women met at a Gold’s Gym in Hollywood, and started out as friends.
“Often, when I was doing my preworkout warm-up on the treadmill, I couldn’t help noticing one particular trainer — tan, tattooed, and muscular — stalking across the gym floor, knit cap pulled so low over his long brown hair that it nearly covered his eyes,” she writes. “Dark and brooding, he gave off such intense energy that when he crossed the enormous gym floor, the waters parted and people stopped in their tracks to stare.”
It wasn’t until Peterson and T saw each other in the ladies room that she realized that her “bad boy” was really a “bad girl.”
Peterson, who only became involved with T after ending her 25-year marriage to her manager Mark Pierson, said that their relationship began to change one rainy night when T arrived at her home, nearly two decades ago.
“There on the doorstep stood my trainer, T, holding a trash bag full of her belongings, looking sad and bedraggled. She’d split from her longtime partner, spent some time in rehab, and now had no place to go.”
The two began living together, and one night, after the two went to a movie, Peterson felt a surprising desire to kiss T.
“I think I was even more surprised. What the hell was I doing? I’d never been interested in women as anything other than friends. I felt so confused. This just wasn’t me! I was stunned that I’d been friends with her for so many years and never noticed our chemistry,” she writes in the book. “I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I’d never experienced.”
Today, after being together for more than 19 years, Peterson says that for the first time in her life, she is with someone who makes her feel “safe, blessed, and truly loved.”