Heather Morris has shared the most heartfelt memories of her late pal Naya Rivera. The ‘Glee’ star posted photos of her two sons playing with Naya’s son Josey, who she saved from drowning while sacrificing her own life.
Heather Morris absolutely poured her heart out in her emotional tribute to her Glee co-star Naya Rivera, who tragically drowned in CA’s Lake Piru while boating with her son on July 8. Heather’s Brittany and Naya’s Santana Lopez were groundbreaking characters whose same-sex high school romance helped so many teens with their own sexuality. They were close pals in real life, as well as moms. Heather has two sons, Elijah, 6, and Owen 4, while Naya left behind her own four-year-old son Josey. In a July 15 Instagram post, Heather shared precious photos of their boys playing together, with a series of personal stories about the ladies’ deep friendship.
“We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase. However, we stuck by each other’s side and created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding,” Heather began. She then relayed their last encounter during California’s COVID-19 home lockdown. “The last I had the chance to see you in person, I had left oranges outside our home for you to take. I wanted to say hi through the window but my phone didn’t ring when you called (which it never does, f*cking T-Mobile), so instead you and Josey left two succulents on our doorstep as a thank you. I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you,” Heather explained.
“I still listen to your EP on repeat because from the moment I heard it, it struck me and I always wished the world knew more of your voice. You sent me over 5 dozen SnapChat videos when you and Josey woke up in the morning and I kick myself that I didn’t save one of them,” Heather lamented. “You always shared recipes and I admired your love for food. We vowed to spend every Easter together, even though Covid stole this last one from us. You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life.”
“You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a f**k (but still somehow respectful ). Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend. You were the first to check in, the first to ask questions, the first to listen…you cherished our friendship and I never took that for granted,” Heather explained.
Heather then revealed why she shared photos of their sons playing and not more pictures of her and Naya together. “We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures…our relationship meant more than proof. I have countless pictures of our babies playing, because we shared that kind of pride and joy. So I’m showing the world a photo of our little goof balls for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I. I speak to you everyday because I know you’re still with me and even though I’m feeling greedy that we don’t get more time together, I cherish every moment we had and hold it close to my heart,” Heather emotionally concluded her post.
Naya’s body was recovered on July 13 from Lake Piru, five days after she went on a boating trip with Josey on Lake Piru, about 20 miles from where she grew up in Valencia, CA. Josey told investigators that his mom pushed him onto the safety of the boat before slipping underwater after they went for a swim. He was later discovered alone on the craft — which was unanchored and adrift in the lake — with no sign of Naya.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office announced on July 14 that her cause of death was accidental drowning. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub told reporters on July 13 that she sacrificed herself to save her son. “The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” he explained at a news conference.