Lea Michele has made her first public appearance following boyfriend Cory Monteith's July 13 death. The 26-year-old actress attended the Teen Choice Awards in Universal City, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 11, and paid tribute to the late actor with the rest of her Glee family while accepting the award for Choice TV Actress: Comedy.
A very emotional and appreciative Michele was greeted by loud cheers when she walked out on stage moments after the rest of the Glee cast accepted an award for Best TV Comedy.
"Thank you, guys. Thank you. I just wanted to be here today to personally thank all of you and tell everyone out there how much your love and support has meant to me over these very difficult past few weeks. Not that I had any doubt before, but you guys are most certainly the greatest fans in the world," she tearfully said.
"I wanted to dedicate this award to Cory. For all of you out there who loved and admired Cory as much as I did, I promise that with your love we're going to get through this together. He was very special to me and also to the world. We were very lucky to witness his incredible talent, his handsome smile and his beautiful, beautiful heart."
She added, "So whether you knew him personally or just as Finn Hudson, Cory reached out and he became a part of all of our hearts and that's where he will stay forever. So thank you guys so much. Thank you."
Michele opted out on walking the turquoise carpet beforehand, but was joined by co-stars Jane Lynch, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Jayma Mays, Lauren Potter, Melissa Benoist, Harry Shum Jr., Naya Rivera, Matthew Morrison, Chord Overstreet, Amber Riley, Jacob Artist, Blake Jenner and Alex Newell at the event.
"We just want to say, although we lost someone that we really love, and that all of you guys love too, we are very fortunate to come back to a show where we feel the love of family, Cory was like a brother to us, like a dad," Riley previously said about Monteith during the Best TV Comedy acceptance speech. "He was always ready to sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan, and he loves you Gleeks. And he loves his fans."
Ushkowitz added, "So on behalf of our brother and our castmate, we know that Cory would've wanted to dedicate this award to you guys, so our condolences to all of you as well, and we love you so much. Thank you guys."