Big Sean Found It ‘Hurtful’ When Fans Associated ‘IDFWU’ with Naya Rivera – ‘It Wasn’t a Diss to Her’

Big Sean is opening up about the death of his ex-girlfriend Naya Rivera, who died in a tragic boating accident earlier in 2020. He dated the Glee actor early in his career and is rumored to have written the breakup anthem “IDFWU” about her. Big Sean faced criticism over the song after Rivera’s death and used a new interview to clear the air about the intent of the song and how he felt seeing the reactions it recently generated. Ahead, find out more about their romance and what Big Sean said exactly.

Big Sean and Naya Rivera
Big Sean and Naya Rivera in April 2013 | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

A quick timeline of Big Sean’s relationship with Naya Rivera

Big Sean’s relationship with Rivera began in 2013 after they met on Twitter.

Reflecting on the earlier days in their relationship in a 2013 interview with Access Hollywood, Rivera said: “I had followed him, and he sent me a little message like, ‘I’m a fan. We went to dinner and the rest is history.”

The pair went public in the spring of that year and went on to get engaged that October. A representative for the actor confirmed the engagement to E! News after Rivera was seen wearing a massive ring on that finger at an event for Latina Magazine.

Naya Rivera and Big Sean
Naya Rivera and Big Sean arrive in May 2013 | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

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However, they broke up just a few months later. Big Sean confirmed to Billboard in April 2014 that he had called off the engagement, without giving any reason for doing so.

Though it seemed like a drama-free breakup, fans came to believe otherwise in 2015 when Big Sean released “IDFWU.” Though he did not name Rivera in the song, the timing of the song and some of the lyrics convinced fans it was indeed inspired by their split.

Naya Rivera died six years after her breakup from Big Sean

Rivera died on July 8, after she drowned on a boating trip at California’s Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son, Josey Dorsey.

Because there are no witnesses, there’s no way to say what exactly happened. However, Dorsey told law enforcement that he and his mom had gone for a swim and that she never got back on board. Officials told CNN they believe Rivera became distressed in the water and “mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

The news of her death generated thousands of tributes on social media, including one from Big Sean. In a note shared to Instagram, he expressed appreciation for “everything that ever happened between us, for making me wiser and a better person.”

He added: “I’m still grieving and in shock, I can’t believe this is real. I’m praying for you and your family and I know your family and I know your watching over them and protecting them. Rest In Peace Naya 💙🙏🏾.”

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just the two of us

A post shared by Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on

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Big Sean talked more about Naya Rivera’s death in a new interview

Big Sean opened up a little more about the actor in an interview with Vulture that was published on Sept. 1. He had been talking about her life when he mentioned the way people associated his song with her.

“She’s made such an impact on people, and she’s done so many great things in her life and her career that it was hurtful to even have that [song] be associated with her. It wasn’t a diss to her. I truly made the song and played it for her. She knew about it, and she liked it,” he shared.

He also mentioned how public their relationship was and how they had truly moved on past whatever had caused them to split. “We had a breakup that was very public, and we were young and we forgave each other and moved on from that. If I would have known something this tragic would have happened, I would have never made the song,” he continued.

Rivera showed that it was no hard feelings in 2018 when she went on Lip Sync Battle and performed the song. The audience bopped along and cheered her on as she rapped and danced to Big Sean’s lyrics.