'Glee': Will Brittany and Sam Drive Santana to New York? Naya Rivera Weighs In

The actress talks with THR about going in a new direction on the Fox musical and responds to criticism about the new couple.
"Glee's" Naya Rivera, Heather Morris and Chord Overstreet

Naya Rivera could be the latest McKinley High graduate heading to the East Coast on Fox's Glee.

The actress, who along with co-star Lea Michele (Rachel), has been vocal about wanting her former Cherrio to head to New York, said Santana would need a big reason to get her to leave the University of Louisville and stop hanging around McKinley to make that happen.

"It would take courage, as cheesy as it sounds," Rivera told The Hollywood Reporter at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "There has to be some catalyst back at McKinley that really would have her realize there's nothing left there for her."

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The likely push, she hinted, could be seeing her now ex-girlfriend, Brittany (Heather Morris), already having moved on with Sam (Chord Overstreet), with the writing on the wall between the New Directions duo since the start of season four.

"She's not going to like it," Rivera teased of the upcoming confrontation, set to take place in the "Diva" episode (scheduled for Feb. 7), in which she's poised to sing three songs, including a "show-stopping" Tina Turner track. "In that episode, everything gets wrapped up. One door is closing for her, and she opens another one. It's a good thing -- she's growing."

While the "lesbian blogger community" Brittany referred to in the episode in which she and Sam officially began their romantic courtship was unhappy with the pairing, Rivera defended the new couple.

"Fans are very passionate about Brittany and Santana, as we hoped that they would be, being one of the first teenage lesbian couples to be taken seriously on television -- it's a big deal," she said of the reaction to Santana and Brittany's split and the latter's new romance. "I understand how they feel. Brittany and Sam have their cute moments, and at the end of the day, I think they should know it's good for everyone to grow. There's always hope for Brittany and Santana. Every single time you watch them, they have this longing. So, we'll see."

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Rivera noted Santana's recovery from the shock of seeing Brittany with Sam could go one of two ways. "When you get your heart broken, you either lash out or you deal with it," she teased. "You either lash out or you deal with it; it's like the seven stages of grief. I'm sure she'll do a little bit of everything."

The ex-Cheerio also said that "we're really close" to seeing Santana in New York -- "Rachel and Kurt have a really big loft and a couch!" She played coy about whether the character would begin to explore a new romance of her own. "If she went to New York, I feel like she'd have so many things to figure out -- where to live, first and foremost," she said with a laugh. "I think anything could happen."

Meanwhile, Rivera said her solo album is on hold. "Creatively, there's some things to work out," she said. "We might go in a different direction. But rest assured, one day you will have an album from me."

Glee returns Jan. 24 on Fox. Hit the comments with your thoughts about Brittany and Sam and Santana's future.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit