Inside Naya Rivera’s Relationship With Tahj Mowry

As the search for Naya Rivera continues, more of her close friends and family are speaking out about the tragedy. Smart Guy star Tahj Mowry took to social media in an emotional post calling for Rivera’s safe return. Mowry also revealed that Rivera was his first love.

Tahj Mowry and Naya Rivera
Tahj Mowry and Naya Rivera via Twitter

Tahj Mowry and Naya Rivera’s relationship

Mowry and Rivera met as child stars on the set of a print shoot. At the time, the young actors were just 4-years-old and their mothers were friends. The two formed a lifelong connection, that at one point was romantic, and according to Mowry, he never stopped loving Rivera. According to fans, the former couple dated from 2000-2004. Rivera also appeared on Smart Guy alongside Mowry.

Tahj Mowry and Naya Rivera
Tahj Mowry and Naya Rivera via Twitter

He opened up to VICE in an April 2020 interview about his time with Rivera. “Our families were very close, so it was almost like an arranged marriage,” he said. “She’ll say it was just a kid thing, but I think differently. There were three times we dated, and the last time was probably from age 20 to 23ish. Third time wasn’t the charm, but I wish her the best.”

Rivera revealed in her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, that Mowry was her first kiss. He allegedly ended things because “he needed to date someone more on his financial level.” Still, she said the two remained friends.

Tahj Mowry posts a heartfelt tribute to Naya Rivera

Mowry took to Instagram to mourn the loss, and presumed death, of Rivera. He let his followers into his long and complex history with Rivera, dating back to when they both met as children. 

“We grew up together. We became adults together. We experienced so many firsts together. You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak,” he captioned a black and white photo of Rivera in part. “We broke each others hearts and then mended them back together…more than once.”

Source: Instagram

Related: The Cast of ‘Glee’ Reacts to Naya Rivera’s Tragic Disappearance

Mowry hinted to some level of estrangement between the two exes, though he expressed regret for not making his feelings for Rivera known as often as he felt he should. For Mowry, he kept the door open for a possible reconciliation with Rivera.

“I’ve never liked to admit it but I have never stopped loving you,” he admitted. “A part of me always wished for the day where God would bring us back together to be what we dreamt we could have been.”

Though experts are presuming Rivera will not be found alive, Mowry is holding out hope and asking for prayers and well wishes for Rivera’s safe return, and for the comfort of her family.

The Mowry sisters have also shared emotional tributes to Naya Rivera

Tahj was not the only Mowry sibling to express his heartache. Both Tia and Tamera shared touching messages about Rivera. All four grew up in the business together and with Rivera dating their brother at one point, they formed their own bonds with the Glee star.

“My Naya! My Naya. I can’t sleep. #prayers please. My Naya,” Tia captioned a photo of her with Rivera. She followed it up with a solo photo of a smiling Rivera, captioning the post, “My sweet Naya. I still have hope.” She also shared Tahj’s post to her Instagram story, writing, “Please come home.”

Source: Instagram

Tamera shared a photo of Rivera lovingly embracing her son Josey. “My heart is aching. I have no words,” she wrote. “Let’s pray they find her,” she added along with praying hand emojis.