Naya Rivera’s Glee co-stars, family members and friends are paying tribute to the 33-year-old actress on the one-year anniversary of her death.
Last July 8, Rivera disappeared while boating with her son Josey at Lake Piru in California. An extensive search ensued after the 4-year-old was found alone on the boat, and by July 13, Rivera’s body had been discovered floating in the lake. Authorities told the media they did not suspect foul play nor do they believe Rivera purposely tried to hurt herself, and her official cause of death was ruled as an accidental drowning.
“It hasn’t gotten easier to write a caption,” wrote co-star and friend Heather Morris, who, like Rivera, played a cheerleader in the glee club on Fox’s long-running TV musical comedy. “You are the brightest star in my eyes Naya Rivera. I’m so grateful GOD LAYED A HAND and brought us together as best friends, mom friends, scene partners, and everything in between.”
The two were close on- and off-screen, and their Glee characters’ romance allowed them to be among the first openly lesbian high school couples on network TV.
“Your legacy lives on in kindness and being ‘that sassy queen’ in my eyes,” Morris added. “I love you forever bebe girl.”
The heartfelt message was posted to Instagram alongside a reel of photos and a video of Morris getting a tattoo in Rivera’s honor. Spread across her arm, the fresh ink read, “tomorrow is not promised,” seemingly a reference to one of Rivera’s final tweets.
no matter the year, circumstance, or strifes everyday you're alive is a blessing. make the most of today and every day you are given. tomorrow is not promised pic.twitter.com/O4t7wdqA4k
— Naya Rivera (@NayaRivera) July 2, 2020
Glee‘s Matthew Morrison, Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz also honored Rivera, with the latter writing on Instagram, “Always a light, always with us. My heart is with you and your family today. love you Nougs.”
Ne-Yo and Rivera’s ex-boyfriend Tahj Mowry shared tributes as well, and the actress’ mother, Yolanda Previtire, appeared on Good Morning America to recount the last time she spoke to her daughter, the “hell on earth” of those first five days Rivera was missing and the family’s continuing sorrow a year later.
“Sometimes we’re afraid of the sorrow being so heavy that we’re afraid for our own self, ’cause this is hard. There are no words to describe what we’re going through,” Previtire said told ABC News’ Juju Chang. “All we know is we have each other.”
Rivera’s younger sister Nickayla sat alongside Previtire, at one point reflecting on the Glee star’s legacy.
“I honestly don’t think that she even knew the impact that she had,” Nickayla said on GMA. “My sister, even though she was acting, was touching people’s real lives and helping them become who they really are, and not being ashamed of that.”
Nickayla also shared a number of videos featuring her and her sister to Instagram Stories, writing, “one year without my chef. I love you and miss you every day.”
See more tributes below.
🙏🏻❤️ and every day 🙏🏻❤️ https://t.co/NWawNaEK27
— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 8, 2021
Thank you for making the world a much better place. pic.twitter.com/RwA8Bl0LJZ
— Michael Hitchcock (@hitchmichael) July 8, 2021
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.