“Safe, Blessed and Truly Loved”
Elvira has spooked and soothed as the collective world’s Mistress of the Dark for decades, but the person behind the horror/camp icon, Cassandra Peterson, shared a part of her life that she has held close to her chest for most of her career for the first time. Peterson is a member of the rainbow family and has been in a loving relationship with a woman for the last 19 years.
Peterson revealed her truth publicly for the first time in her new memoir, “Yours Cruelly, Elvira,” which came out Tuesday, detailing her relationship with longtime partner Teresa “T” Wierson and growing to understand and embrace her identity. For Peterson, her relationship with Wierson represents the “first time in my life … I’m with someone who makes me feel safe, blessed and truly loved.”
Like every good love story, Peterson and Wierson’s started with a meet-cute spiced up with a dash of misunderstanding at, of all places, the gym.
“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,” Peterson 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.”
Love and Discovery
Peterson wisened up after meeting Wierson, realizing that she was a woman, and it sparked a close friendship between the two. Other feelings began to develop after a double dose of tumult in their lives. The end of Peterson’s 25-year marriage to her manager, Mark Pierson, coincided with Wierson seeking her out for comfort after her own relationship ended.
“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,” Peterson writes.
Romantic feelings between the two began to grow after that night, though Peterson was initially caught off guard by her attraction to 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,” Peterson writes.”I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I’d never experienced.”
19 years later, the devilish couple are still together and putting their relationship in the spotlight for the first time. Wierson assumed the role of Peterson’s assistant, making the business of Elvira a family affair. But Elvira also, as Peterson explains in the book, represented the key reason for keeping their relationship under wraps public.
Peterson worried that revealing the relationship would impact the brand she built over the course of four decades. She stressed over how fans may react, fearing they may “hate me for not being what they expected” her 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,” she added.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, the response to Peterson’s LGBTQ identity is as far a cry from disappointment as you can get.
Elvira: Previously on Towleroad
Photo coutesy of Owen Byrne/Creative Commons