'After a while, it became clear I was falling in love with this beautiful, androgynous creature who'd appeared on my doorstep, like an angel, just when I needed someone most.'
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 23, 2021. It has since been updated.
Cassandra Peterson—best known to the world as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark—opened up about her 20-year relationship with another woman in her autobiography, Yours Cruelly, Elvira. In the memoir released in 2021, the horror hostess discusses her two-decades-long romance which reportedly began at Gold's Gym in Hollywood when she spotted who she thought at the time was the hottest bad boy in Tinseltown. "Often, when I was doing my pre-workout 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," Peterson writes in the book, reported PEOPLE.
"A typical sexy bad boy, he was unaware he was so charismatic that he'd garnered his own unofficial fan club. Watching him from the safety of my treadmill made my heart beat faster and the time passes much more quickly," she adds. The "sexy bad boy" turned out to be a woman named Teresa "T" Wierson with whom Peterson soon struck up a friendship. "A former bodybuilder, track runner, and cyclist, she was an incredibly sweet person, despite her tough exterior," the actress wrote of Wierson. "She had the ability to make something even as mundane as working out fun, and we trained together three times a week for the next six years, striking up a close friendship along the way."
Queer people finding out Elvira is bi during Bi Awareness Week: pic.twitter.com/17Yq64pPNS— Lillian Hochwender 🏳️🌈♿️ ✨COMMISSIONS OPEN✨ (@ligerlillie) September 21, 2021
The duo's friendship only became romantic following the end of Peterson's 25-year marriage to her manager, Mark Pierson, with whom she shared a daughter. Wierson, fresh out of her own relationship, showed up on Peterson's doorstep one rainy night. "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 70-year-old actress writes in her memoir, reports The Advocate. The two lived together and Peterson "found that "instead of being a burden, having [Teresa] around was a huge relief."
Elvira coming out is cool, but Elvira's girlfriend not opening every conversation with "Elvira is my girlfriend" for almost two decades is an Olympian act of superhuman will that should be looked on with sheer, abject awe. pic.twitter.com/7dkaCGXUQw— Rus McLaughlin (@rusmclaughlin) September 21, 2021
"Evenings were spent with all of us laughing, cooking, singing, and dancing around the kitchen while she helped me prep dinner," Peterson shares, before recounting how they took their relationship to the next level. "...After coming home from a movie, I told her goodnight and suddenly felt compelled to kiss her — on the mouth. As shocked as she was, 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. How could I have missed it? Was it the male energy she exuded that attracted me? Her intense green eyes? Or just my own loneliness?"
ELVIRA HAS HAD A HOT MASCULINE WIFE FOR 19 YEARS AND FINALLY FEELS SAFE COMING OUT RAIN ON ME TSUNAMI pic.twitter.com/D0ZMVvByUs— Intricate Little Creature (@boobaramanatee) September 21, 2021
Nevertheless, Peterson "soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I'd never experienced, and after a while, it became clear I was falling in love with this beautiful, androgynous creature who'd appeared on my doorstep, like an angel, just when I needed someone most." The actress also explains why she felt the need to keep her relationship under wraps for so long.
elvira is queer………… god is real— Kristen Arnett (@Kristen_Arnett) September 21, 2021
Me: "This world is fucking terrible! Bigotry, violence, a plague...come on, universe, couldn't you do one single nice thing?"— Jessica, the Ghostly Raven 🏳️⚧️👻🎃 (@pairofclaws) September 21, 2021
The Universe: "Elvira is gay." pic.twitter.com/bXN5Oy5WMu
"As Cassandra, it wouldn't have mattered to me that people knew about our relationship, but I felt the need to protect Elvira in order to keep my career alive. Elvira has always had a thing for men, and men have a thing for her, 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. "Would my fans hate me for not being what they expected me to be? 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."