Cassandra Peterson — best known to the world as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — released her new memoir Yours Cruelly, Elvira today and, in the process, came out by revealing her 19-year relationship with another woman, Teresa “T” Wierson.
Their relationship began, as all the best do, at the Hollywood Gold’s Gym when Peterson spotted who she thought at the time was the hottest bad boy in Tinseltown. “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 in the book. “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 they had a chance encounter in the ladies room that she realized her “bad boy” was really a “bad girl” and the two soon became close, albeit platonically.
The friendship only became romantic following the end of Peterson’s 25-year marriage to (singer turned her manager) Mark Pierson. As Peterson tells it in her book, the path to a more serious connection began with Wierson arriving at her home one rainy night, also freshly out of a relationship. “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 lived together and took care of one another through a really challenging time and, in the process, something began to shift. One night, after they were out at a movie, Peterson felt a sudden desire to kiss Wierson. “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. “I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I’d never experienced.” She quickly realized she was falling in love with T.
The two have been together for more than 19 years now, with Wierson taking on the role of Peterson’s assistant. They had to keep the relationship quiet because, as Peterson writes, the couple felt they had to protect the Elvira brand. “Would my fans hate me for not being what they expected me to be?” she shares in the book, adding, “I’m very aware that there will be some who will be disappointed and maybe even angry, but I have to live with myself, and at this point in my life, I’ve got to be truthful about who I am.”
And Peterson’s truth? She writes that she’s never been happier. “For the first time in my life,” she writes, “I’m with someone who makes me feel safe, blessed, and truly loved.”
Yours Cruelly, Elvira is out now.