Queer icon Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, has revealed her secret relationship of almost two decades with another woman.
The beloved 80s B-movie television presenter is the alter ego of Cassandra Peterson, 70, who began her career as a showgirl and drag queen.
Her new memoir, Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memories of the Mistress of the Dark, reveals that she met her partner Teresa Wierson in a Hollywood gym in the early 2000s.
“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,” she wrote.
“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.”
Peterson eventually realised that Wierson was a woman, and they grew close as friends before beginning their romantic relationship.
She said that she was initially confused but now identifies her sexuality as fluid.
“I’d never been interested in women as anything other than friends,” she wrote in the new book.
“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.
“I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I’d never experienced.”
For years before coming out, Elvira has drawn crowds at major LGBTIQ+ community events such as the San Francisco Gay Pride parade celebration.
Just in time for Halloween, the news that the cult figure is part of the LGBTIQ+ community has been welcomed by her legions of fans.
“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,” tweeted one person.
Elvira is celebrating her 40th anniversary as a horror icon with a special one-night movie marathon on streaming service Shudder.
Plenty of gay Elvira costumes are expected this Halloween.