Lea Michele, 33, used no words to express her grief over the fact that Naya Rivera’s body was believed to be found on the very same day of her ex-boyfriend Cory Monteith’s seven-year death anniversary. Instead, the actress opted to post black-and-white photos of her former Glee co-stars to her Instagram Story on July 13. The first photo featured Cory holding a bouquet of flowers in New York City, and the second was a beautiful shot of Naya in a makeup room. The third post was a group photo of the Glee cast as they looked out on a pretty view of the beach.
Lea, who played Rachel Berry, a true frenemy to Naya’s character Santana, shared the tribute photos after Naya was pronounced dead on July 13, which a law enforcement source confirmed to HollywoodLife. The sheriff of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Bill Ayub, announced that same day that he and authorities were “confident” that “the body [they] found is that of Naya Rivera,” six days after Naya had gone missing while swimming with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey. However, an autopsy will be performed by the Ventura Medical Examiner, where dental records can give a positive identification. Naya was only 33 years old at the time of her death, while Cory was 31 years old.
For hours before Naya was found, stars from the hit FOX show Glee sent out tweets of prayer, hoping that she would be found alive. Sadly, their prayers went unanswered. Lea, who is currently pregnant with her first child and has recently come under fire from her Glee co-stars over ‘diva’ behavior on set, notoriously did not get along well with Naya while the women filmed the show together. Naya detailed much about their strained relationship in her memoir, “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.”
“One of the Glee writers once said that Lea and I were like two sides of the same battery and that about sums us up,” Naya wrote in the 2016. “We are both strong willed and competitive — not just with each other but with everyone — and that’s not a good mixture.”
Nevertheless, it’s clear that Lea did care for Naya, despite their differences, and she’s hardly alone. Almost all of Naya’s co-stars from the show shared their grief online, both during the search for her and after she was found dead. Heather Morris, who played Brittany, Santana’s girlfriend and later wife on the show, wrote about needing Naya’s ‘love and light’ in this world’. Demi Lovato, who was on the show briefly as another of Santana’s girlfriends, also shared her prayers hoping that she would’ve been found safe and sound.
Sadly, July 13 is also the day Cory, who played Lea’s on-screen lover Finn Hudson on Glee, passed away in 2013. He died from “combined heroin and alcohol toxicity,” according to the British Columbia Coroners Service, and the death was devastating to the cast of Glee. Cory had been dating Lea at the time, after making their professional relationship romantic in 2012.