Naya Rivera's Ex Tahj Mowry Shares A Heartfelt Message

UPDATE: On July 13, 2020, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office confirmed Naya Rivera's body has been recovered at Lake Piru. In a press conference, Sheriff Bill Ayub said, "We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera."

The original story follows below.

On July 8, 2020, Naya Rivera disappeared at Lake Piru in California. In the days following, the search has continued for Rivera, though she has been presumed dead, per CNN. Tributes from friends and family keep pouring in, including a heartfelt one from Rivera's ex, Tahj Mowry

According to CNN, Capt. Eric Buschow, Ventura County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said in a statement, "We don't know if she's going to be found five minutes from now or five days from now, so we're still going to be continuing this effort." Officials are now using sonar equipment to look for her body and have a specially trained dog on hand that can reportedly sniff on the surface of the water and tell handlers if they sense a body in the water. 

Rivera and her 4-year-old son, Josey, were out on a boat they rented on July 8. Josey was on the boat with a life jacket on when it was found, and there was another life jacket, along with her purse and identification onboard, but the actress was missing. It's been an extremely difficult week for her family and everyone who got to know her, judging by the outpouring of love and support that they have shared on social media. 

Tahj Mowry says he's always been in love with Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera's ex, Tahj Mowry, shared a heartfelt message on Instagram in the wake of her disappearance. He wrote that he's "holding onto hope" that she will be found, and that he's devastated as every day "gets harder." He went on to say that they grew up together and shared many "firsts." Mowry wrote, "You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak. We broke each others hearts and then mended them back together...more than once. I will never not think of you." 

The Smart Guy alum went on, writing, "I've never liked to admit it but I have never stopped loving you. 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." Mowry then offered support to Rivera's family, saying that they are like his own family. "I ask everyone reading this to please lift up, along with the entire Rivera family, Ryan and Josey in prayer and to respect what they are going through during this time," he concluded. It was a fitting, yet devastating way to pay tribute to the Glee actress during this difficult time.

Naya River and Tahj Mowry dated back when they were just kids

Naya Rivera and Tahj Mowry were both child stars whose mothers were friends. They grew up together and ended up dating from 2000 until 2004, per Vice. Mowry told the outlet of their relationship, "Our families were very close, so it was almost like an arranged marriage. 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."

It does sound like their relationship wasn't always easy, though. Rivera wrote in her memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up that Mowry was her first kiss, but that he supposedly broke up with her because he "needed to date someone more on his financial level." Still, she wrote that they "continued to 'date' off and on for the entirety of [their] teenage years," per KIRO-7.  Whatever the details of their relationship were, the two were obviously very close, which must make this all so, so hard for Mowry to process.

Naya Rivera's ex-husband went into Lake Piru during the search

Tahj Mowry hasn't been the only ex reaching out to Naya Rivera after she went missing in mid-July 2020 on Lake Piru in California. Rivera's ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, who's the father of her son Josey, went out to the lake days after her disappearance.

The lake is obviously closed to the public because of the ongoing search, but Dorsey and the former Glee actress' family members, including her father and brother, were able to pay a visit. The men waded into the lake and then sat by its side, per TMZ. As Page Six reported, Rivera's mother also visited the lake and road along on a search boat.

In her 2016 memoir, Rivera wrote that she wanted to have more children with Dorsey. "Years from now, when I'm still married and Ryan and I have all these kids and grandkids running around, I can sit back and think, 'Yeah, I lived. I really lived,'" per The Daily MailHowever, the pair split in 2018 after four years of marriage, People reported.

According to TMZ's report, there is a ton of debris in the lake and that visibility is very low. But hopefully authorities find Rivera very, very soon. 

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