Naya Rivera: Glee screen wife Heather Morris remembers ‘loving friend’

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Rivera and Morris’s characters got married in the sixth and final season of Glee

Glee star Heather Morris has paid a heartfelt tribute to her screen wife Naya Rivera, following the actress’s death on a boating trip.

The pair had “the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding”, Morris wrote.

“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.”

Rivera, 33, drowned while on Lake Piru in California with her son last week.

The actress and singer played Santana Lopez, who ended up marrying Morris’s character Brittany Pierce in the hit TV show. Rivera also launched a music career in 2013.

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Morris and Rivera with co-stars Kevin McHale and Josh Sussman at 2010’s Emmy Awards nominees’ party

Her death has led to an outpouring of grief from fans and co-stars from the hit TV show.

Morris recalled their last contact in her Instagram post, when Rivera and her son left two plants on her doorstep.

“I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you,” she wrote. “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.”

She wrote that Rivera “constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong [and] resilient”.

“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.”

She concluded: “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.”

Fellow Glee star Matthew Morrison added his tribute, describing Rivera as “a such a powerful force, in both her personal life and in her work”.

Gwyneth Paltrow posted a video of one of her appearances on the show, in which she performed Stevie Nicks’ Landslide with Rivera and Morris. She wrote: “Getting to sing in this trio with her was such a special moment.

“I am in utter shock and disbelief that someone so full of life and passion and talent is no longer with us. And completely heart broken for her family.”

Rivera was first reported missing last Wednesday, after she had rented a pontoon boat with her four-year-old son at Lake Piru, north-west of Los Angeles.

The boy told police she pushed him back into the boat before disappearing beneath the surface.

On Monday, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub suggested the lake’s currents could have caused difficulties.

“The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting – it was unanchored – and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” he said.

The child was found alone and asleep in the boat by a leasing agent after it was not returned. He was wearing a life jacket, but his mother was not.

Glee, the musical comedy TV series, ran on the Fox network from 2009 to 2015.

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