'Eat, Pray, Love' Author Divorces, Shares Poem That Will Make Anyone Going Through A Breakup Weep

by Jerriann Sullivan
Originally Published: 
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Elizabeth Gilbert: ‘This is a story that I am living — not a story that I am telling’

“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert announced her divorce from husband José Nunes after nearly 10 years of marriage. Gilbert met José Nunes at the end of her journey around the world that inspired her best-selling memoir.

Following her divorce from Michael Cooper, Gilbert healed herself through traveling and eating in Italy, praying in India, and meditating in Indonesia. She met and fell in love with Nunes, a Brazilian-born businessman, in Bali. The 46-year-old writer further detailed their relationship in her follow-up book “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.”

“He has been my dear companion for over 12 years, and they have been wonderful years. Our split is very amicable. Our reasons are very personal,” she shared on Facebook. In writing her latest book, “Big Magic,” the author has become a social media maven who interacts with fans online almost daily. “I hope you will understand and forgive me if I am a bit absent from social media during this sensitive moment.”

Divorce is almost always a heartbreaking ordeal that is both private and public because our love life up to that point isn’t a secret we want to keep. It’s quite the opposite. We have a wedding and invite all our friends and family to celebrate us finding our partner for life. We share our happy moments online and think nothing of it. But when going through any devastating loss, people crave privacy and retreat so it makes sense that the well-known author would want some time alone. Gilbert addressed this in her post saying, “At this time of transition, I hope you will respect our privacy. In my heart, I know that you will do so, because I trust that you understand how this is a story that I am living — not a story that I am telling.”

She went on to share the poem “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert saying it “has been helping to carry me through this experience.” She added, “Perhaps it will help some of you, also.”

“Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.

It’s the same when love comes to an end, or the marriage fails and people say they knew it was a mistake, that everybody said it would never work,” it opens.

The poem likens the story of Icarus to the complex nature of relationships.

“Each afternoon I watched her coming back

through the hot stony field after swimming, the sea light behind her and the huge sky on the other side of that. Listened to her while we ate lunch. How can they say the marriage failed? … I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph.”

Divorce often makes people look back at their relationships and think “failure” but the “Eat, Pray, Love” author reminds us that it doesn’t have to be that way. While going through her own heartbreak, she reminds us that divorce usually comes after a marriage filled with many moments of success.

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