The Truth About Lea Michele And Naya Rivera's Relationship

When Glee was airing, it seemed like Lea Michele was destined to be a superstar. She has so much talent, but her other projects haven't had the same level of success. Sure, she could just be particular with the projects she chooses, but there could also be a more personal reason for the lack of high-profile gigs.

For years, there have been reports about her supposed poor attitude and difficult behavior. In June 2020, new accusations emerged that were far worse than the (many) previous claims about diva antics. Actress Samantha Ware accused Michele of making her life "a living hell" when she had a role on Glee. In response, other former co-stars jumped in the conversation with accusations of racism and other claims about the way Lea treated them. In a statement on Instagram, Michele denied that race played a role in her decisions, but apologized for her past behavior. Unfortunately, feuding with co-stars isn't new for the singer/actress... at least allegedly.

There have long-been rumors that Michel and actress Naya Rivera were at odds when they both starred in Glee. In June 2020, Just Jared reported Rivera unfollowed Michele on Instagram, claiming she was following her on the app up until June 2. Quite frankly, it's surprising that Rivera followed Michele at any point — both actresses have commented on the rift throughout the years. At times, they've both slammed the rumors. However, Rivera and other people from the Glee set confirmed such reports a few times as well.

Things got heated between Lea Michele and Naya Rivera on set

In April 2014, TMZ reported that Lea Michele and Naya Rivera got into a fight while filming Glee, which resulted in one of them leaving the set. One source said the cast and crew were bothered by Michele's "diva antics," which apparently included making everyone wait for her to shoot a scene. Rivera reportedly went to the producers with complaints "on behalf of everyone."

However, other sources told the website that "Lea was totally unaware of any complaints about her" and Naya was actually the one who got thrown out. That same month, E! News confirmed that Rivera's character was written out of the Glee finale. Some claimed that it had to do with Michele, with others denying that. Fox did not comment on the matter.

In September 2016, Rivera addressed the feud rumors in her autobiography Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up. She wrote, "One of the Glee writers once said that Lea and I were like two sides of the same battery and that about sums us up. We are both strong willed and competitive—not just with each other but with everyone—and that's not a good mixture."

Rivera also claimed, "As the show progressed, though, that friendship started to break down, especially as Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time. I think Rachel—erm, I mean Lea—didn't like sharing the spotlight."

Naya Rivera says she and Lea Michele didn't speak for an entire season of 'Glee'

In her autobiography, Naya Rivera claimed that Lea Michele "had a hard time separating work from our outside friendship, whereas it was a lot easier for me." She explained, "I'm not offended when people offer feedback or criticism, and if things get heated on set, I try to keep perspective. We're all stressed, yes, but we're all working toward the same goal, so laugh it off and keep it movin'. Lea was a lot more sensitive, though, and it seemed like she blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong."

That's not all Rivera wrote about her co-star. She also claimed, "If I'd complained about anyone or anything, she'd assumed I was b***hing about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn't say a word to me for all of Season 6." How awkward! Even so, Rivera concluded, "Lea and I definitely weren't the best of friends, and I doubt we'll ever sit on her couch and eat kale together again, but the rumors of our 'feud' were blown out of proportion." 

Since when does not speaking to someone at work for an entire year not amount to a feud? But, apparently, Michele feels the same way about what constitutes a "feud."

Lea Michele and Naya Rivera downplayed their issues

In February 2017, Glee creator Ryan Murphy talked to E! News about the actresses' supposed drama, saying, "I think a lot of that was informed by their youth and being involved in a phenomenon. And I know for a fact that [Lea Michele and Naya Rivera] admired each other's work, 'cause I directed them both in scenes."

Murphy also pointed out, "There were many boys on our show that didn't get along. And you never hear about that. You never hear about that in our culture." That's a very fair point, which Michele addressed during a May 2014 interview with David Letterman. International Business Times reported that she remarked, "It's really unbelievable the amount of the things that can just be completely made up." She added, "I think the way people like to pit women against each other... it's really annoying, and it's really sad." She described the rumored feud as "really frustrating."

In February 2019, a Watch What Happens Live viewer asked Rivera if she had spoken to Michele since she "liked" an Instagram post featuring Michele's engagement ring from husband Zandy Reich. She admitted, "I did not speak to her, but everyone sees Instagram, right?" Rivera added, "I don't think there was like any beef" before she stated, "it's a good ring."

While it will always remain unclear just how heated things got between the two actresses, there's no denying that, at the very least, they are not friends.