Cassandra Peterson — a.k.a Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — has come out publicly, revealing she has been in a relationship with a woman for 19 years.
The actress and horror movie hostess opens up about her partner, Teresa "T" Wierson, a trainer who became a friend, assistant, and eventually her longtime love in her newly released memoir, Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark.
Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic; Hachette Cassandra Peterson (left) and the cover of her new book, 'Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark'
As Peterson writes in the book, Wierson came to live with her after Peterson's divorce, at a time when she felt that "emotionally and sexually" she was "'closed for business.'" Wierson had split from her own partner and turned up on Peterson's doorstep with "no place to go."
The entertainer explains how having Wierson around was actually a "huge relief" and that she "began to feel happier" with her than she had in years.
On one particular evening, when her daughter was at Peterson's ex-husband's house, the pair went out to see a film. When they came home, she writes in one chapter, "I told her goodnight and suddenly felt compelled to kiss her — on the mouth."
The performer adds that before that moment she had "never been interested in women as anything other than friends," but she began to fall for Wierson, eventually revealing the pair have been together for more than 19 years.
"I'm happy and relieved to finally allow our secret to see the light of day," Peterson writes of sharing the details of their relationship in Yours Cruelly, Elvira.
The actress explains the reason their romance was kept private was career-related, noting Elvira's passion for men and the passion men have for her — the character became famous in large part because of her iconic, cleavage-baring black dress. "So I worried that if I announced I was no longer living the 'straight life,' my fans would feel lied to, call me a hypocrite, and abandon me," she writes. The couple did not, however, keep their relationship a secret from their friends and family.
Peterson goes on to praise Wierson, writing, "For the first time in my life, I'm with someone who makes me feel safe, blessed, and truly loved."
A representative for Peterson didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memories of the Mistress of the Dark is available now through Hachette Books.