GLAAD Media Awards: GLEE Stars To Reunite In Tribute To Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez in GLEE
Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez in GLEE
Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez in GLEE (image via Fox)

The cast of iconic series GLEE will reunite for a special tribute to the legacy of the late Naya Rivera’s character Santana Lopez.

Jacob Artist, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Vanessa Lengies, Jane Lynch, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Alex Newell, Amber Riley, Harry Shum Jr., Becca Tobin, and Jenna Ushkowitz will come together during the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards to honor the 10th anniversary of Santana’s coming out on the show.

And that’s not all – the cast will be joined by global superstar Demi Lovato, who played Santana’s girlfriend on GLEE, to introduce the special tribute.

Tune in for the premiere on April 8th at 8:00 P.M. on YouTube, or stream on Hulu starting at 10:00 P.M.

Remembering just a little bit of the fabulous Ms. Rivera as Santana in GLEE.

(via press release)

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.

News Round-Up: July 13, 2020

Jwan Yosef (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

ManCrush Monday: That time when Ricky Martin’s other half, Jwan Yosef (above), showed off his ‘baby lifting arms.’ #dang

Gold Derby: Openly gay former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been entered for Emmy consideration in the category of Best Comedy Guest Actor for his guest-hosting stint on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

CNN: The body of former GLEE actress Naya Rivera, 33, who was missing since Wednesday, has been found floating in a Southern California lake. Rivera’s role on GLEE gave queer Puerto Rican representation to millions. She is the third original GLEE cast member to die. In 2013, Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose and Mark Stalling committed suicide in 2018 after being found guilty of possessing child porn.

TheaterMania: Hamilton has become the first cast recording to reach the top two on the Billboard 200 albums chart since 1969 thanks to the musical’s premiere on Disney+. In 1969, the original cast recording of Hair spent 13 weeks in the no. 1 slot. Hamilton had previously peaked in the no. 3 position back in 2016, tying with The Book of Mormon.

Miami Herald: Florida resident Joseph Fucheck is facing criminal charges for waving a pistol at a Black homeowner in North Miami-Dade while claiming to be a 35-year Navy SEAL veteran. Except – it was a decades-old lie perpetrated by Fucheck. The Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, which maintains paperwork for all SEALs since World War II, has no record of him.

CBS17: An Arkansas police officer told a colleague he would ‘shoot any protesters’ who might come to his door. But Calvin Salyers, 33, has now been charged with manslaughter after shooting through his door on June 3 killing a fellow police officer who dropped by to pick up a patrol car.

Podcast of the Day: A podcast about gay TV,  Gayest Episode Ever, explores LGBT+ themed one-off episodes that classic sitcoms (like The Golden Girls, Frasier, and Cheers) would do back in the day when it was rare to see queer characters represented on broadcast television.

The podcast – hosted by Drew Mackie, a journalist, and Glen Lakin, a screenwriter – offers insight into the evolution of queer visibility, gay rights, and how culture can both affect — and BE affected by — what we see on TV.

The episode below dissects a 1977 episode of Maude when Bea Arthur’s title character argued with her neighbor Arthur over the opening of a gay bar in town.

Out Actor Kevin McHale Reveals Washboard Abs After 12-Week Transformation

Former GLEE star Kevin McHale

Whoa.

For years, Kevin McHale played wheelchair-bound TV geek “Artie Abrams” on the hit series, GLEE.

Well, check him out now.

McHale surprised folks this week as he revealed he’s gone from ‘high school geek’ to gaining pounds of muscle and shedding layers of fat.

In an interview with US Magazine, the 30-year-old says he was struggling with an intestine and digestion issue that left him “constantly in pain.”

After trying several elimination diets, he found his weight ballooning as his confidence began to spiral down.

The actor, who came out earlier this year, eventually found his way to a personal training studio in Los Angeles called Ultimate Performance.

Powering through 4-5 workout sessions a week, McHale was soon on the road to an amazing physical transformation in only 12 weeks.

Key to the amazing progress McHale made was having a personal trainer who pushed him past his perceived boundaries in the gym and into results mode.

(image courtesy of Ultimate Performance)

And, nutrition became a new obsession. In addition to learning to eat a balanced diet of healthy fats, vegetables, complex carbs and proteins, McHale learned to keep a food diary, tracking every bite he took.

“I became obsessed with logging my food,” McHale told US. “I’d also be rating my energy, sleep and digestion each day.”

Sundays became “meal prep day” as McHale would take the time to plan for the week ahead, ensuring there would be tasty food at the ready.

Happy with his new physical condition, McHale echoed the sentiments of many who have put in the work to get on the road to better health.

“[Before,] I felt bad about my body,” he shared. “When you’re investing your time and energy into yourself in this way, it changes so much of your life.”

Check out the report from EXTRA below.

News Round-Up: May 13, 2018

(via Instagram)

Some news stories you might have missed:

TRR InstaHunk fave, David Faulón (above), celebrated his birthday in his (almost) birthday suit!

• A mother who is “against people being gay” wrote to Dear Abby saying her 43-year-old daughter just came out as lesbian. Abby knew just how to handle this one…

• A Texas teacher was accused of “promoting a homosexual agenda” when she showed students a picture of herself and her wife dressed up as Disney characters on the first day of school.

• Starbucks has now adopted an open-bathroom policy following an incident in Philadelphia last month were two black men were arrested while waiting for a business colleague.

• An Oregon school allegedly forced an LGBT student to read the Bible as punishment…?

GLEE star Kevin McHale says of his recent coming out: “I think there was zero surprise. People knew.”

• The Trump administration continues its attack on the trans community by rolling back prison protections.

• And how about one more from the woofy Mr. Faulón:

(via Instagram)

Is GLEE Star Kevin McHale Flirting With Coming Out Or Just Flirting With The Inter-Webs?

Kevin McHale (image via Instagram)

GLEE star Kevin McHale has the folks on the inter-webs wondering if he just came out?

Or he’s simply being mysterious?

Yesterday, he shared a photo on Instagram of two male hands captioned by the American Sign Language symbol for “I love you.”

Many fans have speculated the other hand belongs to McHale’s When We Rise co-star Austin McKenzie, who starred in the Deaf West Theater production of Spring Awakening which featured ASL extensively.

Was McHale trying to come out?

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on Mar 12, 2018 at 12:19am PDT

Today, McHale shared a shirtless pic of him reading a book with another guy facing away from the camera in the background captioned: “My favorite way to be anti social #tb“.

I remember in my college days when folks were confused they would jokingly say, “It’s meaning is the same.”

I don’t know what the meaning is here, but McHale has certainly has folks attention.

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on Mar 12, 2018 at 10:08pm PDT

GLEE Star Mark Salling Dead At 35 Of Apparent Suicide By Hanging

Mark Salling

GLEE star Mark Salling, who recently plead guilty to possession of child pornography was found dead in a baseball field near his home, according to TMZ.

Police say it appeared he had been dead for some time.

A family member went to a Los Angeles Police Department station at 3AM reporting Salling as missing.

The 35-year-old actor was awaiting sentencing in March. He was expected to receive 4-7 years in prison. Prosecutors had shared that he had over 50,000 photos of prepubescent children on his computer.

In August, TMZ reported that Salling had cut his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.

Former GLEE Star Mark Salling Agrees To Plead Guilty To Child Pornography Charges

Mark Calling agrees to plead guilty to child pornography charges
(image via Flickr – Kristin Dos Santos)

Former GLEE star Mark Salling is facing 48 to 84 months in prison after agreeing to plead guilty on charges of possession of child pornography.

From Billboard:

Under the plea deal, Salling will register as a sex offender and participate in counseling or psychiatric treatment.

Salling admitted to using the Internet over several months in 2015 to download thousands of images of child pornography. Investigators executed a search warrant on Dec. 26, 2015 and found about 25,000 still images and 600 videos of child pornography and 29,000 images of child erotica.

Salling will pay $50,000 to each victim seeking restitution and also agreed not to have any communication with any person under the age of 18 unless the legal guardian is present or has been notified of this conviction. (This doesn’t include waiters, cashiers or other vendors that he’d encounter in public.)

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 48 to 84 months imprisonment followed by 20 years of supervised release and a fine in an amount to be determined by the court.

Out Music: GLEE’s Alex Newell “This Ain’t Over”

GLEE’s Alex Newell, who played the ground-breaking trans character “Unique,” drops this lead single from his upcoming EP POWER.

The video, “This Ain’t Over,” opens with a bit of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” homage as Newell’s voice cuts like a laser through the disco/dance/pop tapestry.

The lyrics also speak to personal power:

“No doubt you wrote me off long ago / But now I won’t give up / This ain’t over / And each time you let me off, cut the rope / I just come back harder / This ain’t over.”

The single is out now; POWER will be available February 19th.

Newell hits the road with Adam Lambert February 23rd in Huntington, NY.