Love after loss. Lea Michele has grown a lot since the death of her boyfriend Cory Monteith in July 2013, and she’s also found love again. The Glee alum opened up about her model beau, Matthew Paetz, and how she handled the Canadian actor’s passing in Flare magazine’s October 2015 issue.
“I wanted to make sure that I was okay with me, feeling strong and feeling happy on my own. I didn’t want anybody to fill any holes for me—that sounds sexual! I wanted to make sure that I was a whole person again and that no one was coming into my life to put me back together,” Michele, 28, said of coping after Monteith died of a heroin overdose at age 31.
“I needed to do that on my own. I worked very, very, very hard and I got back to that place where I was genuinely happy and strong and ready to live again and see the world and, you know, bring in more beautiful experiences,” she continued. “And that’s when someone miraculously came into my life.”
Michele indeed took some time for herself after the tragic loss. (The pair had been dating for two years at the time of his death, and had talked about marriage and spending their lives together.) She leaned on famous friends like Kate Hudson and Amber Riley, and released her debut novel Brunette Ambition and album Louder. Amid the changes, she met Paetz, 30, while filming her music video “On My Way” in June 2014, and wrapped Glee’s sixth and final season. Now, she’s re-teaming with the show’s creator Ryan Murphy for the upcoming series Scream Queens.
“I think that the feminist message in Scream Queens is that girls are f—king badass. Ryan was saying the show is totally girl power. It’s mainly a female cast, all of whom are incredibly talented, strong and successful women,” Michele told Flare. “But also, think of any scary movie: it’s not the strong man that survives in the end; it’s the girl. Girls are so much stronger than they know, and especially more than society makes them believe they are.”
One strong female in her life just so happens to be Scream Queens costar Emma Roberts. “Emma speaks up for herself, she stands up for herself, she takes care of herself,” Michele explained, “and those are the kinds of girls I want to be around.”
The Spring Awakening star — who is working on a new album — is proud to be friends with the actress, and also proud of herself. “I’ve kept my head on my shoulders to get to where I am. You’re always going to run into critics. The only people I care about are the people that are close to me,” she said. “It’s a tough business, it’s a tough town, and you really have to have a thick skin. I’m constantly learning, but I’m really proud of where I am.”
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