Eat, Pray, Love -- Now Marry

Photo: Eat, Pray, Love -- Now Marry: Best-Selling Author Elizabeth Gilbert Tackles Fears of Marriage in New Book Committed

It's what's been called the "Cult of Liz." More than 6 million people -- mostly women -- have bought Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir "Eat, Pray, Love."

Oprah Winfrey had the author appear on her show twice and has called the book "a modern woman's Bible."

"I haven't been this excited since Bono was here," she said on her talk show. "I am quivering now that you're here. I am so thrilled to have you here today."

Love and Marriage
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But the legion of Gilbert worshippers, who see the author as an icon of female independence, might be surprised to learn that Gilbert has settled down in suburban New Jersey and is married to the man known in her books as "Felipe."

In her new book, "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage," Gilbert has a new message: women need to adjust their romantic expectations.

She writes that she refuses to burden her husband with the challenge of "completing her."

"It's the 'Jerry Maguire' fantasy. We've got to drop that," she said. "It makes for such good movies, and it's so lovely and it's so romantic, but...it's a lot to ask, that somebody deliver that, decade after decade."

Ironically, the author who is doing her part to debunk the Hollywood version of love is being played by Julia Roberts in a movie version of "Eat, Pray, Love," to be released later this year.

"What I'm saying is, turn on the lights, sober up," she said.

But how did Gilbert reach this point?

In her early twenties, Gilbert worked at a New York City bar called "Coyote Ugly." (Yes, the same bar in the 2000 movie).

"I was the ridiculous bar dancer...like, let's make this into a circus of like total stupidity," she said of her time as a bartender.

While working there she met her first husband, Michael Cooper. They married when they were both 25.

But five years later, they endured a supremely nasty divorce, during which Gilbert found herself sobbing uncontrollably on the streets of New York City.

Gilbert took off on a year-long spiritual journey designed to repair and rediscover herself. She ate her way through Italy, prayed and meditated in India, and fell in love with a Brazilian man, Felipe, in Bali.

"Eat, Pray, Love," which was published in 2006, chronicles that experience and remains on the bestseller list today.

Gilbert inspired thousands of women to retrace her travels and throw "Eat, Pray, Love" parties in their homes. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even claims to be a fan, (despite a rather risque reference to her husband in the book). TIME magazine named Gilbert one of the world's most influential people.

'Committed' Picks Up With Felipe

Her new book picks up the story. At the end of "Eat, Pray, Love," Gilbert fell in love with the Brazilian-born Felipe in Indonesia and the two stayed together. In 2007, Felipe was detained while visiting her, and deported by immigration officials at the Dallas airport.

"The only way I could get him back was to marry him," she said. "So we were effectively licensed to wed through the INS."

It was a bit of a surreal scene in the basement of the Dallas airport. Gilbert recalled how the INS's officer Tom turned into a pre-marital counselor.

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