In 2021, Cassandra Peterson — well-known for her persona as horror hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — revealed that she was in a committed relationship with her former personal trainer, Teresa "T" Wierson.
Despite her 19-year hesitation to officially come out to the public, she hasn't been able to stop talking about just how much she adores her other half since the release of her memoir, Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark.
"It feels good to be able to introduce her as my partner, and to be able to hold hands," Peterson said in an interview with Variety. "We just went to Hawaii on a vacation, and to walk down the beach and hold hands and act like we're together was cool."
From her background as a trainer to her relationship with Peterson, here's everything you need to know about Teresa "T" Wierson.
She met Peterson at Gold's Gym in Hollywood
The couple first met at a Gold's Gym in Hollywood, where Wierson worked as a trainer. In her book, Peterson revealed that she originally thought Wierson was a "sexy bad boy."
"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. "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 pass much more quickly."
It didn't take long for Peterson to find out that her crush was indeed a woman after spotting her in the ladies' room and the two became friends.
She's a former bodybuilder
According to Peterson's memoir, Wierson is a former bodybuilder, cyclist and track runner.
"A former bodybuilder, track runner and cyclist, [Wierson' was an incredibly sweet person, despite her tough exterior," Peterson described.
She moved in with Peterson in 2003
After years of friendship, Wierson and Peterson moved in together shortly after the actress divorced her ex-husband, Mark Pierson. Wierson was also going through a tough time and Peterson said that having Wierson around was "a huge relief."
"There on the doorstep stood my trainer, T, holding a trash bag full of her belongings, looking sad and bedraggled," Peterson wrote in her book. "She'd split from her longtime partner, spent some time in rehab, and now had no place to go."
She said of living together, "Evenings were spent with all of us [Peterson, her daughter Sadie and Wierson] laughing, cooking, singing, and dancing around the kitchen while she helped me prep dinner."
Peterson made the first move
To Peterson's surprise, she was the first one to make a move in their relationship. One night, after seeing a movie, she revealed that she had 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," Peterson wrote in her memoir.
"I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I'd never experienced," the Elvira star added. "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."
She and Peterson kept their relationship a secret for 19 years
Although Peterson and Wierson had been together for nearly two decades, they didn't reveal their romance to the public until 2021. Peterson wrote about their relationship in her memoir, Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark, revealing that she had been with her partner for 19 years.
"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," Peterson said. "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."
Although Peterson lost 11,000 followers after coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community, she said she gained 60,000 new followers within the same timeframe.
"It's so much nicer to just be who you are and I mean, if I can't be who I am by the age of 70, then, oh my God, I'm in big trouble, right? People keep saying, 'Why now?' And I say, 'Because if not now, when? When I'm 100?' " she told PEOPLE following the book's release.