“It just breaks my heart,” Teperman, who worked with Rivera from 2009 to 2013 before founding ZTPR, told Us Weekly exclusively on Monday, July 13. “One of her birthday parties, we’re in Vegas and Cory really wanted to be there. I remember it was Naya, Heather [Morris], Amber [Riley] … We were all partying and out of nowhere we got a call that Cory, he was filming something in L.A. I don’t know what he was doing, but he wanted to be there for Naya on her birthday, just as a friend.”
Teperman recalled Monteith, who died of an overdose in 2013, flying to meet the group in Vegas and renting “his own penthouse suite” for the birthday girl.
“He said, ‘Naya, this is for you,'” the publicist added. “Cory was completely sober then, which is, looking back, even harder to think about. But everybody was in the room having a good time. … He wanted to be there and wanted to do that in person for her and for everybody else, because there was so much love there between everybody and just that sign of somebody flying, taking time — he paid his own flights, paid for the room, everything — just so that way she could have an even more special birthday.”
Rivera was reported missing on July 8 after a boating trip on Lake Piru in California. Five days later, authorities recovered her body from the water and she was confirmed dead at age 33. She was found on the seventh anniversary of Monteith’s passing.
Shortly after news of the Step Up: High Water actress’ tragic death made headlines, tributes from her Glee costars and other celebrities came rushing in. On Tuesday, July 14, Monteith’s mother admitted she was “truly heartbroken” to hear of another glee club member’s life being cut short.
“For the last 7 years, the 13th of July has shattered our hearts beyond repair,” Ann McGregor wrote via Instagram alongside photos of her son and Rivera together. “There aren’t enough words to describe the pain we are feeling, we are truly heartbroken at the loss of @nayarivera.”
McGregor currently runs a social media account dedicated to keeping her son’s legacy alive and noted that the actor was “in awe” of Rivera’s “incredible talent” during their six seasons on Glee.
“Naya, Cory loved you so so much. He cherished your friendship more than you will ever know. From the laughs you shared, to the strength you gave him when he needed it the most. Cory truly adored you,” she wrote. “You once said Cory was like a member of your family; you will always be a part of ours. We’ll carry you in our hearts forever. We miss you. Friends reunited for eternity. We send all our love and strength to your beautiful boy, your family, friends and fans.”
With reporting by Marc Lupo