Glee's Heather Morris Remembers Naya Rivera: 'I Know You're Still With Me'

Naya Rivera & Heather Morris in 'Glee' - Santana and Brittany

Glee‘s Heather Morris is mourning the loss of Naya Rivera, who died in a horrific drowning accident on July 8.

In a series of Instagram photos showing playdates between Morris’ sons, Owen and Elijah, and Rivera’s son, Josey, Morris reflected on “the most beautiful friendship” that she and her co-star developed over the years.

“We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase,” Morris wrote. “However, we stuck by each other’s side and created the most beautiful friendship built out of love and understanding… 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.”

She continued, “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.”

Morris and Rivera played love interests Brittany S. Pierce and Santana Lopez on the Fox comedy, which ended its six-year run in 2015. Their characters tied the knot in the final-season episode “A Wedding,” which also featured the nuptials of Chris Colfer’s Kurt and Darren Criss’ Blaine.

Rivera was first reported missing on July 8 after renting a boat on California’s Lake Piru to go swimming with Josey. The boy was found alone in the boat, with no sign of Rivera, and a five-day search ensued. Her body was recovered on Monday.

After Glee went off the air in 2015, Rivera played housemaid Blanca Alvarez on Lifetime’s Devious Maids, along with a guest voice role on American Dad! and a guest judge appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She also recurred on the YouTube dance series Step Up: High Water and was set to star in the show’s upcoming third season after it was revived by Starz.

Read Morris’ full tribute to Rivera below:

View this post on Instagram

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