GLEE’s Heather Morris Shares Touching Tribute To Naya Rivera

L-R Naya Rivera, Heather Morris (image via Fox)

Actress and dancer Heather Morris has shared a touching tribute to her former GLEE costar Naya Rivera, who played her on-screen wife, Santana Lopez, on the hit series.

Santana’s body was found in a Southern California lake where she apparently drowned saving the life of her young 4-year-old son.

Morris, who played out bisexual character Brittany Pierce on the series, honored Rivera in an emotional letter posted to her Instagram on Wednesday.

Noting their friendship had “a bit of a rocky phase” here and there, Morris captures the nuances of what she describes as “the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding.”

What strikes me the most about the personal message is that instead of generic ‘grief and sadness’ tones, Morris shares specific life moments between Rivera and herself like gifts of oranges left at front doors and the reason why she didn’t post a photo of the two together in her tribute.

I won’t do it justice, so I encourage you to read it for yourself.

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 every day 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.

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.

We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures…our relationship meant more than proof. I have countless pictures of our babies playing because we shared that kind of pride and joy.

So I’m showing the world a photo of our little goofballs for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I.

I speak to you every day 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.

 

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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. 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. We never took photos together because we mutually hated taking pictures…our relationship meant more than proof. I have countless pictures of our babies playing, because we shared that kind of pride and joy. So I’m showing the world a photo of our little goof balls for you, because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I. 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.

A post shared by Heather Morris (@heatherrelizabethh) on

It’s important to note that Rivera’s performance as the tough-as-nails Santana gave LGBTQ Puerto Ricans a rare moment of proud representation on television.

The 33-year-old actress had also appeared on the CBS sitcom “The Royal Family” and in the comedy film “The Master of Disguise.” Her most recent role was in the YouTube Red series Step Up, based on the movie franchise.

Other castmates have offered their messages of sympathy via social media as well.

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