Celebrity

Heather Morris' Tribute To Naya Rivera Celebrates Their Friendship

"You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know."

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Two days after Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru, many fans and friends are still struggling with how to pay tribute to the actor. After taking a day to herself, on Wednesday, July 15, Heather Morris paid tribute to Naya Rivera, sharing photos of their sons playing together and remembering their friendship. Morris, who played Rivera's onscreen girlfriend-turned-wife on Glee, had previously told fans that she would be "taking a moment to honor my grief" before speaking more about the shocking loss of her friend.

Morris was reportedly on the scene at Lake Piru when Rivera's body was recovered on Monday, July 13. The actor had been missing since July 8, when she disappeared while out on a boat with her four-year-old son (who was found safe), and was confirmed to have died by accidental drowning on Tuesday, July 14. And, though she had been one of the more vocal Glee cast members when Rivera disappeared — even offering to lead a search of Lake Piru on her own — she didn't rush to release a statement right away, telling followers on Instagram, "Taking care of myself and my family comes first." Now, after a few days, it seems Morris is ready to pay public tribute to her old friend.

"We started out as the closest friends and then like all new things, we went through a bit of a rocky phase," she wrote. The two both started on Glee in Season 1 before eventually being promoted to series regulars, in part thanks to their undeniable chemistry as Brittany (Morris) and Santana (Rivera), cheerleader BFFs who would turn into one of the key love stories of the entire series. Just like their onscreen characters, it seems that the two had their ups and downs over the years, but ended up close. So close in fact, that her tribute to Rivera isn't full of old press photos or even pictures of them together at all, but photos of Rivera's son, Josey, and her own boys Elijah and Owen. Explaining her photo choice, Morris revealed that both she and Rivera hated having their pictures taken — "our relationship meant more than proof" — and she was sharing these memories "because I know that meant more than anything and they remind me of you and I."

The actor noted that she and Rivera had remained close even after Glee stopped airing in 2015, even promising to spend every Easter together (until the recent pandemic made that impossible). Recalling the last time they saw each other in person, Morris wrote, "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... so instead you and Josey left two succulents on our doorstep as a thank you." She went on to reveal that she had planted the succulents, adding, "I look at them everyday and think of you."

She concluded her post, writing, "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."