Heather Morris Details Her Friendship With Naya Rivera In Touching Tribute

Glee Santana Lopez Naya Rivera Brittany Pierce Heather Morris FOX

Glee Brittany Pierce Heather Morris Santana Lopez Naya Rivera FOX

(Image credit: Adam Rose / FOX)

Heather Morris is joining her co-stars in paying tribute to her former Glee co-star and close friend, Naya Rivera. Rivera passed away in what was a tragic swimming accident. The Glee standout, who starred as Santana Lopez throughout the Fox series’ six-season run, went missing July 9 after taking her son boating on Lake Piru in California.

The Glee cast sent out hopeful messages before Naya Rivera’s passing was confirmed, and now they are in mourning for one of their brightest stars. Heather Morris played Brittany, Santana’s best friend and eventual love interest. Santana and Brittany got married during Glee’s final season. In an Instagram post paying tribute to Rivera, Heather Morris has detailed their friendship off-screen, taking to Instagram to write:

We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase. However, we stuck by each other’s side and created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding. The last I had the chance to see you in person, I had left oranges outside our home for you to take. I wanted to say hi through the window but my phone didn’t ring when you called (which it never does, f*cking T-Mobile), so instead you and Josey left two succulents on our doorstep as a thank you. I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you. I still listen to your EP on repeat because from the moment I heard it, it struck me and I always wished the world knew more of your voice. You sent me over 5 dozen SnapChat videos when you and Josey woke up in the morning and I kick myself that I didn’t save one of them. You always shared recipes and I admired your love for food. We vowed to spend every Easter together, even though Covid stole this last one from us. You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life.

In one of the tragic twists shared by Heather Morris, she and Naya Rivera got deprived of a final phone call due to technical issues. Rivera still found a way to do something lovely for Morris, which she really appreciated. Morris also revealed that she listens to her Glee co-star’s EP on repeat.

The EP is just one of the many things that Naya Rivera did beyond Glee. Before her untimely death, Naya Rivera had auditioned for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. Rivera also had a role on the YouTube-turned-Starz show, Step Up. Throughout all of these things, Rivera had her friendship with Heather Morris, who continued her message, writing:

You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a fuck (but still somehow respectful). Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend. You were the first to check in, the first to ask questions, the first to listen...you cherished our friendship and I never took that for granted.

Heather Morris went on to say that she and Naya Rivera never took pictures together, opting for one of their children hanging out together for the Instagram tribute instead. Morris added that she and Rivera both shared in the “pride and joy” of their kids playing. The bereft Glee star finished off her message with the following words:

I speak to you everyday because I know you’re still with me and even though I’m feeling greedy that we don’t get more time together, I cherish every moment we had and hold it close to my heart.

It is a tragic end to a remarkable friendship. Heather Morris and Naya Rivera had grown quite close over the years. A tribute for Rivera had drawn several Glee cast members to gather around Lake Piru to honor the late actress. Heather Morris and Amber Riley were among those believed to join Rivera’s family at the fateful site.

The area is known to locals for its dangerous conditions, which has led many to speak out about changes. When this tragedy began to unfold, Naya Rivera’s son was found safe and sleeping on the boat, but she remained missing. Aided by a picture taken by Rivera during the boat outing, divers were able to center their search for the actress’ remains.

On July 13, Naya Rivera’s body was recovered in Lake Piru. The actress was 33-years-old. It is believed that her last act while alive was saving her son by getting him back onto the boat, using her remaining strength to do so. Rivera’s cause of death has subsequently been confirmed to be an accidental drowning.

Heather Morris is among those in her Glee cast mourning Naya Rivera. Chris Colfer and Lea Michele are some of the many others who have also paid tribute to their former co-star. The mother of late Glee star, Corey Monteith, also honored Rivera with a heartfelt message on social media. Rivera will be missed.

You can currently stream Naya Rivera’s incredible performances as Santana on Netflix, which is now streaming alongside new 2020 content.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.