After the third day of Naya Rivera’s search operation, the Glee star’s childhood friend Tahj Mowry, 34, penned a heartbreaking letter on Instagram. Like Naya, Tahj — who’s the little brother of twins Tia and Tamera Mowry — got his start in ’90s sitcoms. At some point, the child stars found love with one another, and Tahj admitted that his feelings for the Glee star have never disappeared.
“My sweet Naya – to say that I am devastated would be an understatement. This is a nightmare. Everyday gets harder. However, I am holding onto hope that you will be found,” the Full House star wrote on July 10. He then touched on their experience of dating one another: “We grew up together. We became adults together. We experienced so many firsts together. You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak. We broke each others hearts and then mended them back together…more than once.”
These aren’t distant feelings for Tahj, either. The actor admitted that he will “never not think” of Naya. He even confessed to secretly hoping for a romantic reunion one day, adding, “No woman has ever measured up what you gave me or how you made me feel. I’ve never liked to admit it but I have never stopped loving you. A part of me always wished for the day where God would bring us back together to be what we dreamt we could have been.”
Tahj also shared that Naya’s brother and sister, Mychal and Nickayla Rivera, will always be “like younger siblings” to him. He also said he is “here” for Naya’s parents, George and Yolanda Rivera. Towards the end of the post, Tahj revealed what he hopes to tell Naya if she returns: ”Naya, I miss you deeply. I wish I got the chance to tell you that once more but I’m believing I will get that chance. I know deep down you’ve always known how I felt. I look forward to the day where I can see your beautiful face once more and tell you everything I’ve wanted to say that I didn’t get the chance to say. I love you forever. I always have and I always will.”
Naya had made guest appearances on Tahj’s sitcom, Smart Guy, in 1997 and 1999. Naya even revealed that Tahj was her first kiss in her 2016 memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes and Growing Up.
Naya went missing on July 8, after renting a pontoon boat that day at California’s Lake Piru. She was enjoying the day with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey (whom Naya shares with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey) who was found later that afternoon sleeping alone on the boat. A rescue operation ensued, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has been using boats, helicopters, ATVs, divers, cadaver dogs and sonar devices to desperately locate Naya in the two-mile long lake. By July 9, investigators feared that Naya “drowned in what appeared to be a tragic accident,” according to a message from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office provided to HollywoodLife. Naya has yet to be found, and by July 10, a spokesperson from the sheriff’s office revealed that rescuers are doing their best to “provide some closure” for Naya’s family and will continue the search mission.