Cassandra Peterson is finally living her truth after nearly two decades, but she says her social media initially look a major hit as a result.
The actor, who is known to her legions of fans as horror icon Elvira, publicly acknowledged being in a 19-year relationship with girlfriend Teresa “T” Wierson for the first time in her memoir, “Yours Cruelly, Elvira.”
Appearing on David Yontef’s “Behind the Velvet Rope” podcast last week, Peterson said she lost thousands of social media followers shortly after her same-sex coupling was made public last fall. Still, she wasn’t particularly vexed by the dip, and suggested that many of those disenchanted fans represented a very specific demographic.
“I knew that there were going to be some horny old men out there who were just not going to like the fact that they didn’t have a chance with me anymore,” she said. “And I hate to tell them they already didn’t have a chance with me anyway.”
“Nobody was ready for that,” she continued. “People just said, ‘Elvira, you lied to me. I don’t respect you anymore. Goodbye.’”
Though Peterson said she initially lost about 11,000 followers after “Yours Cruelly, Elvira” hit shelves, she’s since gained about 60,000 new ones, and is deeply grateful for their support.
A Kansas native, Peterson has enjoyed a sizable LGBTQ fanbase for decades, with Elvira impersonations surging in popularity among drag queens every Halloween. In her chat with Yontef, the actor said she feared a backlash from her queer following after her announcement.
“Honestly, I worried more about my gay fan base,” she said. “Because I hope they embraced it, but I was feeling like: ‘What if they think I’m a big fat hypocrite, and I was lying to them?’”
Fortunately, those fears appear to have been unfounded. Peterson was among the seven stars to appear on the cover of Out magazine’s “Out 100” issue, released in October.
In “Yours Cruelly, Elvira,” Peterson shared how she and Wierson first met at Gold’s Gym in Hollywood, California. The two women became fast friends, but their relationship began to evolve into a romance after Peterson split from husband Mark Pierson in 2003.
“I was stunned that I’d been friends with her for so many years and never noticed our chemistry,” she wrote in the book. “I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I’d never experienced.”
“For the first time in my life, I’m with someone who makes me feel safe, blessed and truly loved,” she added.