Naya Rivera Said Cory Monteith ‘Seemed Like a Different Person’ Months Before He Died

Glee stars Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith were not only co-stars but also friends. Here’s what Rivera revealed about the moment she noticed Monteith was starting to act “like a different person.”

Cory Monteith admitted he had a history of substance abuse

Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith | Tasos Katopodis/WireImage for Samsung
Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith | Tasos Katopodis/WireImage for Samsung

In her book Sorry Not Sorry, Rivera said the Glee cast would sometimes have dinner and spend time together. Rivera said Monteith revealed during one of their gatherings he had a history of substance abuse. He assured them he was sober at the time.

“In the beginning, Cory was really open with all of us about his past and the problems he’d had with drugs and alcohol,” wrote Rivera. “He flat-out said, ‘I’m a former addict,’ and he didn’t drink or do any drugs. As far as I know, he was totally sober up through season three.”

The first time Naya Rivera saw Cory Monteith drink alcohol

Rivera said the cast went out to dinner on another occasion, and much to their surprise, they saw Monteith drink for the first time. According to Rivera, Monteith said he wanted to try drinking in moderation. Since most of his cast mates weren’t familiar with addiction, they took his word for it and assumed he would be able to control his tendency to overdo it when it came to substances.

When we were shooting the last episode before going on tour, a bunch of us went out to dinner and decided to celebrate with cocktails because we knew we were going to be working until the wee hours, and there’d be no time to do it later. It was also Cory’s birthday, and when he decided to order a cocktail, it was the first time we had ever seen him drink. He noticed that we noticed.

He explained that he wanted to be able to drink in moderation, that he could do it and be just like everybody else. He seemed calm and confident about it, so we all just accepted it. To be honest, I don’t think many of us really understood how addiction worked, nor did we fully realize the extent of his former addiction.

Naya Rivera in ‘Sorry Not Sorry’

Alcohol wasn’t the only substance Monteith struggled with. He also reportedly had a drug addiction. “I always thought of Cory as a recovering alcoholic, and completely forgot that he had also had a heroin problem,” wrote Rivera. “I guess he hid it well. I thought of heroin as a problem that was relegated to strung-out junkies who lived on the street, not my sweet, smart, talented friend who had plenty of money. He always knew his lines and choreography and was wide awake. Heroin was the opposite of awake.”

Naya Rivera noticed something was different about Cory Monteith  

Cory Monteith | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images
Cory Monteith | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Rivera said she began to notice changes in Monteith after he started dating Glee co-star Lea Michele. “The more serious they got, the less Cory hung out with us, and the more he seemed like a different person,” wrote Rivera. “One year he came back from the break between seasons super skinny. He said he’d been spending a lot of time at the gym and was trying to be responsible—not spending money all the time and buying crazy cars like he used to.”

Although Rivera wasn’t on the best of terms with Michele, she thought she would be a good influence on Monteith. “My personal feelings for Lea aside, I knew that she wasn’t a partier, so I felt like maybe their relationship could actually be good for him. I was happy for Cory to have a stable influence in his life, wherever it was that he found it.”

Naya Rivera said Cory Monteith struggled with ‘the same old demons’

Although Monteith had what looked like a perfect life, Rivera said he struggled. His life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. Sadly, Monteith died on July 13, 2013 from a reported drug overdose.

From the outside, Cory’s life looked perfect, but I guess his same old demons were still there, raising as much mental and emotional hell as they always had. I think this is a common misconception about fame, or any kind of marker of ‘success’ in life, be it landing your dream job, getting married, or having a kid: people think that you have to achieve these goals, you check off certain boxes, and all of a sudden life’s perfect and you don’t have any problems.

That’s not true. You’re still going to wake up every morning, and your problems will still be there unless you figure out a way to make them go away. And more often than not, new ones will show up in their place.

Naya Rivera in ‘Sorry Not Sorry’

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