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Why Glee’s Kevin McHale Started Lea Michele-Cory Monteith Rumors Before They Confirmed Relationship

Why Glee s Kevin McHale Started Lea Michele Cory Monteith Rumors Before They Confirmed Relationship 398
David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Kevin McHale revealed that he once started a rumor about Lea Michele and Cory Monteith dating — before the Glee stars told anyone they were together.

“Our ratings had started to dip a little,” McHale, 35, explained on the Monday, December 18, episode of iHeartRadio’s “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” podcast, during which he and Jenna Ushkowitz recalled shooting the season 3 Christmas episode.

“We had enjoyed two very solid years of success and really great ratings, and it was the first time they had started to go down in a significant way. Because I was the one who was always checking, I was reporting back and we all knew.”

While they were filming the final number of the episode — where the glee club serenades a homeless shelter with the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” — they had a lot of time to sit around and think of ideas. “I don’t know who came up with it, it might’ve been a group thing,” McHale said. “So I talked to Lea. I don’t know if I talked to Cory, I think we did. And you [Jenna] were part of it.”

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Though Ushkowitz, 37, had trouble recalling the details, McHale remembered all the tea and spilled during the podcast. “I was like, ‘I’m sitting across the room. What if I pretend to take a picture of Jenna and in the background, the very edge of frame, are Cory and Lea being a little extra snuggly?'” he recalled. “I said, ‘I’ll put it up and wait a little bit for people to notice, and then I’ll delete it, like I did something wrong.’ Because the intention was we were gonna get rumors started that Cory and Lea are dating, and people will watch the show.”

McHale added, “We were all very nervous. Lea was like, ‘Yes, absolutely, let’s do it.'”

Why Glee s Kevin McHale Started Lea Michele Cory Monteith Rumors Before They Confirmed Relationship 399
Courtesy of Kevin McHale/Twitter

The actor posted to Twitter, and his cast mates immediately wanted updates. “Everyone’s like, ‘What’s going on? Have people noticed?’ I’m like, ‘No, no one’s noticing. No one’s saying anything.’ And then at the first reference, one person said something — I deleted it … and then it got picked up and was all over.”

Any Gleek who spent all their time on social media in November 2011 will remember what fans called the “Monchele riot” after the photo was posted. While Damian McGinty and Ushkowitz smiled for the camera, Monteith and Michele sat with their faces close together in a seemingly candid moment.

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While fans may be shocked to learn the snap was orchestrated, McHale was even more shocked when Michele told him the following January that she and Monteith were actually dating.

Why Glee s Kevin McHale Started Lea Michele Cory Monteith Rumors Before They Confirmed Relationship 397
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

“We were at the [SAG Awards] afterparty and Lea sits me down and is like, ‘Did you know? We had actually started dating then.’ Nobody knew!” McHale shared. “Of course, everybody found shortly thereafter. But she’s like, ‘We started, like, dating that week again.'”

“We didn’t know at that point,” Ushkowitz added. They estimated that it was another two months before the cast knew that Monteith and Michele were together.

Michele dated the actor from late 2011 until the actor’s death at age 31 in July 2013 after an accidental drug overdose.

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Glee went on for two seasons following Monteith’s death. Michele, now 37, married businessman Zandy Reich in 2019, and they share son Ever, 3.

The actress still marks the anniversary of Monteith’s death via Instagram each year. “Hey you. 10 years,” Michele wrote alongside a throwback photo of herself and the late actor in July. “It feels like only yesterday that you were here and yet a million years ago all at the same time. I hold all of our memories in my heart where they will stay safe and never forgotten.”

She continued: “We miss you every day and will never forget the light you to brought to us all. I miss you big guy. I hope you found Taylor [Hawkins] up there and are playing the drums together. 🤍.”

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