Always in her heart. Lea Michele makes a point to pay tribute to her late boyfriend and Glee costar, Cory Monteith, every year on the anniversary of his death. Whether she writes a heartfelt note or shares a sweet throwback photo, she does not let the day pass without honoring him.
The Monte Carlo star died at age 31 of an accidental mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol. He was found in a Vancouver, Canada, hotel in July 2013. The actor completed a stay in rehab months prior to his death.
Michele and Monteith, who played Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson, respectively, on Glee, met on set in 2009. The pair dated from 2012 until his death.
The Scream Queens alum remembered her late beau with multiple tattoos. She inked his character’s jersey number on her side in April 2016, writing on Instagram at the time, “And one more.. for my Quarterback.. #5.” The actress also had “Finn” written on her lower back.
Michele opened up about the couple’s previous plans for the future in February 2014. “We talked about a lot of things. We talked about children and what we would look like when we grew old, and who would be fat and how we would stay thin,” she recalled to Glamour UK. “We talked about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. We were done. We were it.”
She added: “When you’re at that place in your life with someone, you talk about everything. But today I feel like I was given the best part of Cory, and I’m thankful for that.”
Later that year, Michele gushed about her romance with Monteith and defended his memory. “I only have happy memories of Cory. He was not his addiction — unfortunately, it won,” she told Seventeen. “But that wasn’t who he was. Cory made me feel like a queen every day. From the minute he said, ‘I’m your boyfriend,’ I loved every day, and I thank him for being the best boyfriend and making me feel so beautiful.”
Looking back on her time filming with the late actor still makes Michele “emotional,” she revealed on a January 2020 episode of the “Showmance” podcast with Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, who also starred on Glee.
“The moments that made me so emotional were not anything that ever has made me emotional before about the show,” she explained after rewatching the series pilot. “One of them was when [Finn] took [Artie] out of the Porta Potty. There were so many moments that you see the whole arc of a character for a whole season in one moment. Him taking you out of the bathroom, and you see Finn’s heart. Oh, my God.”
Scroll to see the songstress’ tributes to her late boyfriend through the years: