Naya Rivera didn’t just wake up one morning to find her life filled with, well, glee. Like most, it took plenty of ups, way more downs, heartbreak and a whole lot of OMG moments.
Now, in her new memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up,, the Glee actress opens up about all aspects of her personal life. The 29-year-old, who has a son Josey, nearly 12 months, with husband Ryan Dorsey, candidly discusses her time on the Fox hit. She dishes on Lea Michele and Mark Salling, among others, as well as her decision to get an abortion, her struggle with anorexia and much more.
Here, Us Weekly rounds up 11 shocking revelations from the bombshell book, out now.
1. She had a playdate at Michael Jackson’s Neverland
Thanks to her child-acting gigs, Rivera became pals with Michael Jackson’s niece — and scored an invite to her birthday party at his famous Neverland Ranch. But parents were not allowed. “The girl’s mom assured us that there were chaperones and that Michael was not one of them,” she writes. Also at the bash: Nicole Richie, who she sat next to on the bus ride over. “I got sleepy and laid down and took a nap on Nicole’s lap,” Rivera recalls. “When I woke up, I saw that I’d drooled all over her leg.”
2. Tahj Mowry was her first boyfriend-ish
Though Rivera calls Tahj Mowry her “almost boyfriend,” she still experienced plenty of firsts with Tia and Tamera’s younger brother. For starters, he was her first kiss. (Of course, it went down at the movie theater with their moms sitting in front of them!) Another: She walked her very first red carpet with him at the NAACP Image Awards. Dressed in all white, “that also happened to be the day I got my period for the first time,” she reveals. The pair’s romance continued on through their teens until Mowry ended it for good. “He thought he needed to date someone more on his financial level,” writes Rivera. “Dick. We’re still friends.”
3. She struggled with anorexia
“One day I just decided to see how long I could go without eating,” Rivera recalls. Soon, the game went too far. She began avoiding food and secretly jogged in place to burn off the few calories she consumed. By sophomore year of high school, she couldn’t even force herself to eat an apple. At her worst, the 5-foot-4 actress weighed just 98 pounds. But when she made new friends toward the end of that year, girls who “had no desire to be skin and bones,” Rivera writes. “I gained 15 pounds and never looked back.
4. She passed on her high school’s glee club
Joining the choir would’ve made sense, but it wasn’t a fit for this aspiring singer. For a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment her freshman year, Rivera was a member of the club, but “all the good solos and parts kept going to my arch nemesis Nazanin Mandi,” Rivera writes. ”Because I was totally insane at the time (and, let’s be honest, probably really hungry), I decided it was a good idea to challenge her to a sing-off.” That competition never went down and Rivera adds, “I had enough of playing second soprano and quit.”
5. Fox’s glee club members became her second family
After 20-hour rehearsals, the cast would retreat back to someone’s trailer to play truth or dare and spin the bottle. During the show’s second season, Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz shared a pad, which became the go-to spot. “When Chord Overstreet joined the show, we brought him to this sex den of a house and initiated him by making him play spin the bottle — while wearing a onesie,” she writes. “The Love Nest was also where we got one of our castmates high for the first time, or at least tried to. We fed him a whole bag of weed gummy bears on New Year’s Eve, and he still didn’t feel a thing.”
They were at their wildest while on the road together for the Glee tour. On McHale’s birthday, “We all gathered in his room to celebrate,” she writes. “Heather [Morris] did a dance in her panties, and I’m pretty sure Cory [Monteith] had a hard-on the entire time.”
6. Cory Monteith drank in front of her
Rivera admits she and her late costar, Cory Monteith, had a siblinglike relationship, “which is rare in a cast that had the sex drive of bunnies and the bed-hopping skills of a polygamist cult.” And Monteith, who died from a drug overdose in July 2013, was open about his past struggles with addiction. To her knowledge, he was sober up through season 3. Then, the gang went out to dinner to celebrate filming their last episode. “When he decided to order a cocktail, it was the first time we had ever seen him drink,” she writes. “He explained that he wanted to be able to drink in moderation, that he could do it and be just like everybody else. He seemed calm and confident about it, so we all just accepted it. To be honest, I don’t think many of us really understood how addiction worked.”
7. Lea Michele had a jealousy issue
Sure, in the beginning, the gals were pals. But as the show became a pop culture phenomenon, their friendship hit a snag, especially when Rivera’s Santana earned more screen time and pushed Michele’s Rachel to the sidelines. “I think Rachel — erm, I mean Lea — didn’t like sharing the spotlight,” she reveals. “On top of that, she had a hard time separating work from our outside friendship.”
On set, Michele wasn’t one to take criticism well, Rivera reveals: “It seemed like she blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong. If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she assumed I was bitching about her. Soon she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of season six.”
8. Michele also put a strain on her relationship with Monteith
Rivera was shocked when Monteith and Michele started dating in 2011. “The more serious they got, the less Cory hung out with us and the more he seemed like a different person,” she reveals. “One year he came back from the break between seasons super skinny. He said he’d been spending a lot of time at the gym and was trying to be responsible — not spending money all the time and buying crazy cars like he used to.” But fitness guru Michele had positive impact on Monteith too. “My personal feelings for Lea aside, I knew that she wasn’t a partier, so I felt like maybe their relationship could actually be good for him,” continues Rivera. “I was happy for Cory to have a stable influence in his life, wherever it was he found it.”
9. Mark Salling tried to hide their romance
Per Salling’s publicist, “it would be better for his image if he pretended to not have a girlfriend,” writes Rivera, who dated her costar on and off for three years. (While high on Ecstasy, he said “I love you” just four weeks into the relationship.) Though she said it was OK, “I had a feeling his pretending to be single had … more to do with his dick,” Rivera admits.
While he was out of town, Rivera learned Salling — who on June 3 pleaded pleaded not guilty to two counts’ receiving and possessing child pornography, according to the Associated Press — had cheated on her. She and a pal picked up dog food, Coca-Cola, eggs and birdseed then poured it all over his car. And, admits Rivera,”that’s how I got my first media scandal.”
10. She regrets calling ex-boyfriend Big Sean out on Twitter
Six months after meeting in April 2013, the pair were already engaged. And, the rapper became standoffish. “We’d been fighting for five straight days while he was traveling, and then on the one day that he was back in L.A., he said he didn’t want to see me. ‘Well, a–hole, I’ve got a key to your house,'” Rivera writes. “I walk in, go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? … It rhymes with “Smariana Schmande.” (That same “little girl” went on to date the rapper for eight months.)
It wasn’t a pop star that broke them up for good, but rather a Rolex. On their third date, the rapper gave her his watch to wear every day. Then, without warning, he took it out of her drawer. Naturally, she accused him of stealing. “In my weakest moments OF ALL TIME, I tweeted about it,” she reveals. “And, alas, between our millions of combined followers, such a tweet did not go unnoticed — even when I realized what I had done and deleted it as fast as I could. That tweet shall henceforth be known as ‘The One Time I Showed My Ass on Twitter.’”
Big Sean’s response wasn’t the most mature either: His publicist released a statement saying he decided to call off the wedding. “So I learned that I was no longer getting married from THE INTERNET, and at the same time as the rest of the world,” continues Rivera. “Not only were we no longer getting married, but apparently we weren’t even together anymore.”
11. She had an abortion — then went back to the Glee set
Weeks after breaking up with now-husband Ryan Dorsey, Rivera took a pregnancy test. At this point in her life, this was common practice: She often took them just to be sure. This time, however, it came back positive. She was already four weeks along.
Rivera and her mom drove to Planned Parenthood in Pasadena, California, where they figured they were far enough away from everyone they knew. Being extra cautious, they also wore wigs, hoodies and sunglasses. Admits Rivera, “We paid cash, leaving no paper trail, like it was a drug deal.”
She was given an “abortion pill.” “It was the worst experience of my life,” she writes. “It was incredibly painful — your body is basically in labor with strong, frequent contractions. I was nauseous and kept going in and out of consciousness because of the pain.” She continued to bleed for two and half weeks, but the show had to go on. “When I got up to work the next day, a little more than 12 hours after having a medical abortion, I had to put my cheerleading uniform back on,” reveals Rivera, “and hope that the skimpy bloomers covered the giant pad I was wearing.”
In the aftermath, she became addicted to MTV’s Teen Mom. “I was so jealous that they got to keep their kids,” writes Rivera, who eventually told Dorsey years later and only after he signed a confidentiality agreement. (They wed in July 2014.) “Watching it over and over was a way of punishing myself. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I’d ask myself.”
The traumatic experience remains with her today. “I don’t think I ever emotionally healed from the abortion, which is why it is so mind-blowing that some people think having an abortion is the carefree girl’s No. 1 choice to keep on partying,” Rivera reveals. “In reality, it is anything but an easy choice. In some ways, I think choosing to have an abortion is almost harder than choosing to have your child, because you make that choice knowing, or at least suspecting, that many moments of your life will no be tinged with regret.”
Pick up a copy of Rivera’s new book, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, on shelves now.
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