'Glee' Star Heather Morris Remembers Naya Rivera and Their "Most Beautiful Friendship" in Emotional Tribute

Morris, who portrayed Brittany S. Pierce, the love interest of Rivera's Santana Lopez on the Fox musical comedy series, took to social media Wednesday to detail her close friendship with the late actress, as she shared photos of Rivera's son with her children.

Glee star Heather Morris wrote an emotional tribute to her co-star and close friend Naya Rivera, who was declared dead at the age of 33 on Monday after her body was recovered at the lake where she went missing at last Wednesday while boating with her 4-year-old son.

Morris, who portrayed Brittany S. Pierce, the love interest of Rivera's Santana Lopez on the Fox musical comedy series, took to Instagram on Wednesday to detail her close friendship with the late actress, as she shared photos of Rivera's son alongside her children.

"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," Morris wrote. "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."

Morris went on to say that she continues to listen to Rivera's EP "on repeat" and she "always wished the world knew more" of Rivera's voice. She continued to share how the two consistently kept in touch, whether it be Rivera sending over videos on SnapChat or sharing recipes. "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," she said.

The Glee star said that the novel coronavirus prevented them from spending Easter together, which is a holiday they "vowed" to spend together every year. "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 explained that Rivera taught her "lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a fuck (but still somehow respectful )." She added, "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," she continued. "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."

Morris then ended her tribute saying she'll forever cherish her moments with Rivera: "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."

Morris and Rivera both played cheerleaders on Glee, but their characters' romantic relationship cultivated a fandom, with fans dubbing the pair "Brittana." 

During the recovery operation for Rivera, Morris requested to join the search and asked law enforcement in Ventura County if she could help "conduct a foot search and rescue mission along with a small group of friends" at Lake Piru, where Rivera was last seen.  

Following the tragic news that Rivera died of an accidental drowning, Rivera's Glee co-stars and other Hollywood figures took to social media to pay tribute to the actress. Rivera's career broke out in 2009 on Murphy's mega-hit Fox musical dramedy. Following her role on the musical comedy-drama series, Rivera had a recurring role on the Lifetime drama show Devious Maids. She later starred opposite Ne-Yo on the TV update of Step Up, which recently moved from its former home at YouTube to premium cable network Starz for its second season.

To honor Rivera's legacy, Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan announced that they "are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all." 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

A post shared by Heather Morris (@heatherrelizabethh) on