Heather Morris, who co-starred with Naya Rivera on Fox’s Glee, posted a remembrance of her friend Wednesday. It came two days after Rivera’s body was found following an intensive five-day search at Lake Piru, where Rivera drowned while swimming with her 4-year-old son.
“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,” Morris wrote in a heartfelt post today on her Instagram account, where she offered details of their close friendship and the memories of their sons playing together. Morris accompanied the post with a photo of their boys together.
She continued: “You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a fuck (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.”
Read the full statement in full below.
On Glee, Morris and Rivera were onscreen partners as Brittany and Santana (Brittana), respectively, who started off as friends before breaking ground as the first openly lesbian high-school couple on network television. Morris and Rivera’s friendship extended off-screen, and the duo remained close after the Fox show ended. Morris’ tribute is accompanied by photos of her sons and Rivera’s son playing together.
On Sunday, Morris reached out to Ventura County Sheriffs offering to help with an on-foot search for Rivera at the lake north of Los Angeles, where Rivera had disappeared the previous Wednesday after she and her son had rented a pontoon boat.
Morris joined several castmates at the lake Monday when the Rivera’s body was found and recovered. She wrote on Instagram Tuesday that she was “taking time to honor my grief” before posting her tribute to Morris today.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Rivera’s death an accidental drowning. Rivera’s son Josey was unharmed. She was 33 years old.
Here’s Morris’ full statement from today:
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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. 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. 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. 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 fuck (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. 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.