"Glee," "Step Up: High Water" Co-Stars and Other Celebrities Remember Naya Rivera

Tamara Fuentes
Photo credit: FOX - Getty Images
Photo credit: FOX - Getty Images

From Seventeen

Naya Rivera's family and friends are mourning her death after her body was found at Lake Piru, where she disappeared several days before.

According to officials, the actress accidentally drowned after going out swimming with her son, Josey. "She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said, according to CNN.

The actress was only 33 at the time of her death and was starring in the YouTube original series Step Up: High Water. The series was announced to move to Starz with the next season, which was set to start filming after restrictions were lifted. Rivera is also well known for her role as Santana Lopez on Glee. She first started her career as a child actress with roles on Full House and Family Matters.

Many of her former and current cast members have shared messages online after her death was confirmed.

Max Adler

Jacob Artist

"I remember how intimidated I was meeting Naya for the first time. I was not even 20 yet and felt like a fish out of water. Her warmth and charisma were disarming. She made anyone feel included and seen and I could see why she was loved by so many around her. When she sang 'Songbird', it was one of my favorites ever done."

Photo credit: Instagram
Photo credit: Instagram

Melissa Benoist

"She has not left my mind this last week. It’s difficult to find words. There was an undeniable beauty that she radiated inside and out, and I consider myself incredibly lucky that I got to witness that up close even for the short period of time that I did. I was so intimidated by her, yet she had a way of disarming that just made you want to be around her, hear what she had to say (because it would undoubtedly be the sharpest and most real thing you would hear all day). She was kind and open to me when she didn’t have to be, when I was a naive, clueless and insecure newcomer. Bravely authentic, genuinely kind, incredibly talented and deeply loved by so many. Thinking of her family and loved ones. Rest In Peace, Naya."

Lesley-Ann Brandt

Ally Brooke

Kristin Chenoweth



Chris Colfer

"How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post? How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can’t. Her brilliance and humor were unmatched. Her beauty and talent were otherworldly. She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness. She could turn a bad day into a great day with a single remark. She inspired and uplifted people without even trying. Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be.💔Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son."

Darren Criss

"She played by her own rules and was in a class of her own. She had a brashness about her that I couldn’t help but be enchanted by. I also always loved her voice, and savored every chance I got to hear her sing. I think she had more talent than we would have ever been able to see.⁣"

Viola Davis

Meg Doyle


View this post on Instagram

I was an assistant on the Glee tour in 2009, and then I moved to LA in 2010. I ran into Naya at a bar - we hadn’t seen each other in a year. I didn’t really have any friends in LA yet. She was wearing overalls and a bra. That’s it. And she was killing it. Obviously. She said, “Let’s hang out,” grabbed my phone and punched her number in. And so it began. She took me under her wing. Brought me into her crew. It didn’t matter that I was a lowly assistant at the time. When I think of my first four years in Los Angeles, I think of Naya. Being in Naya’s presence made me feel larger than life. It was like anxious Megan absorbed Naya’s fearless spirit by osmosis. When you were around her, you just . . . bloomed. Anyone in Naya’s crew had a feisty, witty, 110 pound bodyguard on their side. She always had a mischievous glimmer in her eye and she always knew more than she let on. She was the rock of her family. She had a knack for seeing through someone’s bullshit, and she knew if I was lying when I said I was okay. She also had a knack for dropping a filthy one-liner, exiting the room and leaving us with our jaws on the floor. She didn’t know how fucking beautiful she was, but I believe she knew how talented she was, and I loved that about her. Watching Naya perform everyday, whether she was on set knocking out a 3 page monologue in one take, or belting Amy Winehouse in her car, or performing a lazy striptease during our talent shows - it never grew old, she always took my breath away. People grow apart, drift in and out of your life. I always figured she would drift back into mine. Naya was a force. I feel lucky to have known and loved her. Tell your people you love them. Let shit go. Life is short.

A post shared by Meg Doyle (@meg_doyle) on Jul 13, 2020 at 4:50pm PDT



Terrence Green

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🕊💔 @nayarivera 💔🕊

A post shared by Terrence Green (@rawswagger) on Jul 13, 2020 at 2:22pm PDT

Kathy Griffin

Kehlani

Khalid

Vanessa Lengies




Demi Lovato

"RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee. The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time.. ❤️🕊"

Jane Lynch

Kevin McHale

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My Naya, my Snixxx, my Bee. I legitimately can not imagine this world without you. • 7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii. This doesn’t make sense. And I know it probably never will. • She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend. She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim. The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more. • I’m thankful for all the ways in which she made me a better person. She taught me how to advocate for myself and to speak up for the things and people that were important to me, always. I’m thankful for the times I grew an ab muscle from laughing so hard at something she said. I’m thankful she became like family. I’m thankful that my dad happened to have met her weeks before I did and when I got Glee, he told me to “look out for a girl named Naya because she seemed nice.” Well dad, she was nice and she became one of my favorite people ever. • If you were fortunate enough to have known her, you’ll know that her most natural talent of all was being a mother. The way that she loved her boy, it was truly Naya at her most peaceful. I’m thankful that Naya got that beautiful little boy got back on that boat. I’m thankful he will have a strong family around him to protect him and tell him about his incredible mom. I just hope more than anything that her family is given the space and time to come to terms with this. For having such tiny body, Naya had such a gigantic presence, a void that will now be felt by all of us - those of us who knew her personally and the millions of you who loved her through your TVs. I love you, Bee.

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on Jul 13, 2020 at 4:52pm PDT

"She was so independent and strong and the idea of her not being here is something I cannot comprehend. She was the single most quick-witted person I’ve ever met, with a steel-trap memory that could recall the most forgettable conversations from a decade ago verbatim. The amount of times she would memorize all of those crazy monologues on Glee the morning of and would never ever mess up during the scene… I mean, she was clearly more talented than the rest of us. She was the most talented person I’ve ever known. There is nothing she couldn’t do and I’m furious we won’t get to see more."

The Glee star also pointed out the significance of Naya's body being found on July 13th, which is also the day that Cory Monteith died in 2013.

"I'm not religious by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn't help find our girl today. These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people."

Lea Michele

The Glee star shared photos of both Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith on her Instagram stories.


Ne-Yo

Photo credit: neyo - Instagram
Photo credit: neyo - Instagram

Alex Newell

Lauren Potter

Bebe Rexha

Amber Riley



"My favorite duet partner. I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything."

Adam Shankman

People keep asking me what was @nayarivera like and how will you remember her.
This post answers both questions.

Harry Shum Jr.

"You were a beast on the show. I admired you as I watched you nail multi page monologues that you learned moments before and pour your heart into every performance with an energy that had that snick special written all over it. Our deep conversations about life in-between scenes are some of my favorite moments with you," the Glee star wrote. "Getting to hear about your hopes and dream for the future and with Josey's arrival, 'Your greatest success' I was so happy to see your dream turn into reality."

Josh Sussman

Becca Tobin




"Naya was insanely talented, breathtakingly gorgeous, and one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met, but the legacy she left behind for me is her kindness. I joined the cast of Glee in the third season and as the newcomer, I was intimidated and terrified. The cast was already such a tight-knit group who had been working incredibly hard together for over three years to make it a hit show and I never expected any of them to have time for me. To my surprise, Naya, one of the most beloved by the rest of the cast (and the entire world), showed me instant warmth and kindness. She invited me to parties and gatherings and was always there to give advice. She was a superstar who had nothing to gain from being kind to the new girl, but she was and that changed this new girl’s entire experience on that show. I will forever be grateful to that beautiful human. My heart goes out to her family and her sweet boy. ❤️"

Carlito Olivero



Jenna Ushkowitz

"There are no words and yet so many things I want to say, I don't believe I'll ever be able to articulate exactly what I feel but... Naya, you were a ⚡️ force and everyone who got to be around you knew it and felt the light and joy you exuded when you walked into a room. You shined on stage and screen and radiated with love behind closed doors.
I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you. I can not believe I took for granted that you'd always be here. Our friendship went in waves as life happens and we grow, so I will not look back and regret but know I love you and promise to help the legacy of your talent, humor, light and loyalty live on.
You are so loved. You deserved the world and we will make sure Josey and your family feel that everyday. I miss you already."


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