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Cassandra Peterson, better known to her horror-loving cult following as Elvira, is sharing more on her decision to stay private about her relationship of nearly two decades with Teresa “T” Wierson, which is one of the most significant revelations of Yours Cruelly, Elvira, her memoir that released Tuesday.
Speaking to Yahoo! Entertainment, Peterson shared her thoughts on how opening up about her partnership publicly for the first time fits into the “coming out” narrative for her and whether she identifies as gay, bisexual or something else.
“It’s funny. I mean, people call it ‘coming out,’ and I guess in a way, it is. I haven’t ever been gay, and I don’t feel like … I guess, you know, now there’s nonbinary, gender-fluid, whatever,” she explained. “I fell in love with somebody who I met, who I loved, and she was a woman.”
Peterson elaborated on her thought process about her attraction to both men and Wierson, expressing that she’s asked herself questions about her sexuality and how the timing of her love for Wierson may be impacting how she identifies. “I’m always asking myself, ‘Did you turn gay all of a sudden, after 50 years? Wow! What’s up with that?'” Peterson said with a laugh. “I don’t think I did because I’m still mainly attracted to men.”
The Elvira star affirmed that she is “attracted to men” but that her relationship with Wierson, a woman, resulted from a friendship of many years that over time became deeper and is still “fantastic” 19 years later. While Peterson says her relationship has been “great,” she’s still unsure how she would label herself.
“I would be fine with saying I came out and I’m gay, but I don’t think I’m gay. I don’t know what the hell I am!” she told the outlet. “And even people have said, ‘Oh, you’re bi.’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I am now! It wasn’t until I turned 50!’ I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s been great.”
As for her decision to not be public about that her longtime partnership, Peterson expressed that Wierson also wanted to remain private. So much so that they had to discuss it as the Elvira star was writing her book.
“She understands what I’m doing, and she feels the same way about it. She prefers that. She would be happy if I never said it,” Peterson said. “I had to really, really talk her into letting me put this [in the book] because she doesn’t want to be in the public eye. She’s not that kind of person.”
“As far as she was concerned, it was great being that way,” Peterson continued. “But I think it will be nice not to have to hide it, and for her and me not to have to lie to people all the time, which is basically what we were doing. I hate that.”
In the book, Peterson touches on how the privacy around her relationship was part of a brand move, particularly as someone playing a character who is “always after guys” and “guys are chasing her.” Though Peterson admits that she “had to protect that brand,” she says she was also married to a man for 25 years and didn’t speak about that marriage, also keeping it a secret.
“Because, again, Elvira’s a big horndog. If I was married for 25 years to the same man, I didn’t want people to know that because I think it would turn off a lot of male fans, you know? So, I just kept my relationships private as I could, just to keep the character intact.”
While she says her decisions to not put either relationship in the public eye were handled the same way, Peterson admitted that it made her feel “hypocritical,” which she hates. “I’m being ‘straight’ Elvira, and then I hang out with nothing but gay men, practically — and then I’m not telling people the truth, you know what I mean? That feels weird to me.”
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