The 32-year-old actor, who played Artie Abrams on Glee, shared a sweet video of his late costars interacting with fans on Monday, July 13, via Twitter.
“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,” McHale wrote. “So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people.”
Earlier on Monday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Rivera’s body was recovered in Lake Piru five days after the 33-year-old actress didn’t return the pontoon boat she rented with son Josey, 4. (Rivera’s son, whom she shared with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, was found unharmed in the vessel on Wednesday, July 8.)
“We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey,” the sheriff told reporters. “It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
After news broke that a body was discovered in the water, several former Glee stars, including Heather Morris and Amber Riley, were spotted at the California lake with members of Rivera’s family. Monteith, for his part, died of an accidental overdose on July 13, 2013. In a lengthy tribute to Rivera on Monday, McHale revealed they were together when they learned the news of Monteith’s death.
“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,” he penned alongside a black-and-white photo with Rivera. “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.”
McHale went on to call Rivera “independent,” “strong” and “the single most quick-witted person” he’s ever met.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
McHale added that Rivera’s “most natural talent” was being a mother.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
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