Naya Rivera, who made her name through "Glee", was a mom-of-one and she inspired him to follow in her footsteps.
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on July 14, 2020.
Glee actress Naya Rivera went missing on July 8th, 2020, and her body was foundon July 13th. She had gone boating with her 4-year-old son Josey at Lake Piru in California. They were swimming in the lake and only one of them made it back on the boat.
"There was a picture sent to a family member that showed the boy on the boat by a cove. We found where that cove was," Robert Inglis of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team told Us Weekly. As per Daily Mail, he had previously said, "What I suspect is that the winds kicked up. Those pontoon boats are very light, and when you push them, it can get away from you. She might've tried to swim after the boat. But that's all speculation. Once we do locate her, that'll answer a lot more questions."
The mom-of-one seems to have sacrificed herself for her son. As per CNN, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said, "She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself."
The child was initially found on the lake, asleep alone on the boat, and rescued. The 4-year-old told them that his mother did not get back on the boat. He told investigators that when he turned to look back he saw her disappear under the surface of the water. When he was found, one life jacket was in the boat and the other one was worn by the boy.
During the search, her family and ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, had also joined. Photos from the search show that Rivera's father George and Dorsey had swum across the lake looking for her.
Rivera was a fierce talent and a fiercer mom, who loved spending time with her boy. Her friend and colleague, Amber Riley, shared a video of the mother and son singing together as an Instagram post. She captioned it, "My favourite duet partner. I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings."
One of the last things Rivera had tweeted was a photo of herself and her son. It said, "Just the two of us."
In a 2016 interview with ET, Rivera had spoken about how motherhood was her biggest priority. "I'm a mom now, and what I love more than acting is being Josey's mom. So, I want to be here for him. And I don't want to miss anything," she said at the time. "I'm going to navigate the right way to do that."
She opened up again in 2016 saying, "The love I get from him. Little things like the two kisses he stood up and gave me last night to say thank you for making him mac and cheese from scratch. It’s a love never found anywhere or with anyone else."
She had written a memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, which was a tell-all. She had hoped her son "would take away that growing up has its challenges, but behind every cloud is a silver lining."
On his 4th birthday, she said, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be. Happy birthday Josey! Love Mommy." She made sure to make time for him even when she was working, as per EOnline. In a March 2019 interview with ET, she opened up about him visiting her on the set of Step Up: High Water series.
"He was in Atlanta with me, so he went to work a few times. He had like a little trailer attached to my trailer, so he could open it up, and he kept calling it a 'work house,'" she shared. "He thought it was a house. He kept going, 'I want to go to my house.' And he got to ride in the golf cart, which he loved because he loves cars."
In 2019, she also told Us Weekly about how her son was inspired to be an actor already and that too after watching her perform on Glee. "He told me the other day because we were watching a song from Glee -- he had never really seen it -- and he goes, ‘Why I aren’t I on the TV?’” the actress mused. “I’m like, ‘You weren’t born yet!’ And he’s like, ‘But I wanna be on TV,’ and I was like, ‘Dun, dun, dun!’ … He’s like, ‘OK, I want to do that too.'" She added, "He loves to sing, he loves music, he loves to dance and he’s really, really funny."
Her son was inspired by her and might even follow in her footsteps one day but for now, it's a difficult time for him and her family. Losing one's mom can be one of the hardest things anyone has to go through and Josey is only four.
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images; (R) Naya Rivera Instagram | Photo by Emma McIntyre