The Truth About Lea Michele And Cory Monteith's Relationship

The following article references addiction issues. 

Lea Michele and Cory Monteith appeared to have the fairytale romance most people dream of. The couple first met on the set of their hugely popular Fox show "Glee" and secretly dated for a little while (more to come on that later) before really embarking on a loved-up romance around 2011; their on-screen love as Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson became a real life love.

The two seemed pretty much inseparable after that, jetting off across the world on lavish vacations and gushing about one another in interviews (plenty more to come on that too), but their movie-worthy romance tragically turned into a nightmare. Monteith died of an accidental drug overdose in July 2013, leaving Michele devastated. Two weeks after her boyfriend's sudden death, she shared a sweet photo of them together by the water on Instagram alongside a heart-wrenching message: "Thank you all for helping me through this time with your enormous love & support. Cory will forever be in my heart."

But while things ended heartbreakingly tragically for this once happy couple, they certainly packed a lot of love into their all too short time together. We're taking a nostalgic look back at TV's one-time golden couple.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Lea Michele and Cory Monteith's secret split

Lea Michele and Cory Monteith officially went public with their romance in August 2012 when they made their red carpet debut at that year's Do Something Awards, but it was actually quite a while before that when they started dating for the first time. Michele admitted to Elle in 2013 that she and Monteith actually first got into something romantic when "Glee" first began in 2009, but kept their relationship — and subsequent breakup — a secret. So much a secret that the two actually flat out denied the romance rumors and they also dated other people, as Michele actually started seeing Theo Stockman around the same time (but seemingly after cooling things off with Monteith).

She was asked during a joint 2010 Teen Vogue interview (which they did together alongside a pretty cuddly accompanying photo shoot, by the way) if Stockman ever got jealous of her on-screen chemistry with Monteith, to which she said he "understands" because he too is an actor. Monteith, for what it's worth, said he was single, while Michele revealed of their close relationship, "We're such good friends that we've passed that level of weirdness. Cory farts in front of me." Charming!

As for the big reunion two years later, Michele told Elle that they just both knew it was time to give things a proper go. "One day we just looked at each other and we were like, 'You wanna do this?' We knew," she said.

Cory Monteith wanted to keep things private

While Lea Michele is a little more open about her life behind closed doors, Cory Monteith always wanted to keep their relationship more private. Michele opened up about her boyfriend's desire to be a little more under the radar on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in December 2013, around five months after his death, as she recalled how much it meant to her to have him speak about their romance on the show a year earlier. "It's one of my favorite memories," Michele told DeGeneres. "I remember when he came home that night, he kind of puffed out his chest and was like, 'I talked about you on 'Ellen' today.' I was so happy. He was such a private person."

The year prior, DeGeneres had asked Monteith on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" if he knew what the term "Monchele" meant. He admitted that he did, noting it was the couple name given to them by their fans. He confirmed that they were indeed an item and spoke about a snowboarding trip they'd gone on together.

Monteith previously opened up about his desire to keep his private life just that in his 2010 Teen Vogue joint interview with Michele, admitting, "I stay private about that stuff. I don't want to be like, 'I'm seeing this girl...'" to which Michele interjected, "And then we'd be like, 'What happened to that sweet girl?'"

Lea Michele felt 'lucky' to be with Cory Monteith

Lea Michele didn't exactly shy away from speaking about Cory Monteith in interviews after they went public with their romance, with her even sweetly gushing during her 2013 appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where she opened up for one of the first times in detail about his passing. Michele shared sweet insights into their life together with the comedian, telling her, "I woke up every single day feeling like I was in some sort of spell or something, that I was lucky enough to have him in my life. There was no greater man than Cory, so for the time we spent together, I consider myself very lucky."

The Broadway actor also had nothing but sweet things to say about her late boyfriend to Elle in 2013, admitting she had heart eyes from the first time she crossed paths with him. "From the minute I met Cory, I was like, 'This is the most handsome man I've ever seen in my whole life,'" she shared.

Michele shared a sweet sentiment in memory of her man to Seventeen in 2014, too. "I only have happy memories of Cory. He was not his addiction — unfortunately, it won. But that wasn't who he was," she said. "Cory made me feel like a queen every day. From the minute he said, 'I'm your boyfriend,' I loved every day, and I thank him for being the best boyfriend and making me feel so beautiful."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Lea Michele's has Cory Monteith tattoos

Lea Michele has multiple tattoos in honor of Cory Monteith, including an inking she got with the actor before his tragic death. During a 2013 interview with "Extra"'s Terri Seymour, Michele admitted she'd told a little white lie the year prior when Seymour asked her at the Teen Choice Awards if she and Monteith got matching tats. While on the red carpet at "The X Factor USA" (remember that Simon Cowell brainchild?), the "Cannonball" hitmaker confirmed they did in fact head to the tattoo parlor together. "I turned beet red," Michele recalled to Seymour in the followup chat. "How did you know?" She didn't go into detail about the tattoos or what they are, though she has been a little more forthcoming about the tattoos she's gotten for Monteith in the wake of his death.

One of Michele's most notable is the word "Finn" on her upper thigh, which was the name of Monteith's character in "Glee." As Vanity Fair noted, fans initially saw her character Rachel Berry get the same ink on the show while Michele showed off the permanent version on Instagram in 2019.

In another "Glee"-related symbol, Michele also has the number five tattooed on her skin, the number of Monteith's character Finn's football jersey on "Glee." The star debuted that one on Instagram in April 2016, posting a black and white photo of the inking alongside the caption, "And one more.. for my Quarterback.. #5" with a red heart emoji.

Lea Michele's songs for Cory Monteith

It's not just tattoos that help Lea Michele to remember Cory Monteith, as the star also has multiple songs directly inspired by the late actor or that remind her of him.

One of the first the star released was the heartbreaking ballad "If You Say So" from her 2014 album, "Louder," which shares in detail the grief she experienced in the wake of his death. Speaking to Billboard in 2014, Michele shared that the song — which was co-written by Sia — was "therapeutic and difficult" for her to listen to as it "will always represent the most devastating thing that's ever happened to [her] in [her] whole life."

That album also features a song called "You're Mine," which Michele admitted reminds her of her late boyfriend. "It makes me so happy, this song. It makes me think so much of Cory. It was ours. When I think of him, I play this," she told Elle in November 2013.

Michele co-wrote another song for Monteith on her second album, 2017's "Places," titled "Hey You." Speaking to Pride Source that year, Michele admitted she didn't initially plan to put the song on the album because it was so personal. "It's sort of a sensitive subject for me that's hard to talk about, and I didn't want anything on the record that I couldn't talk about," she explained. "But it just felt so beautiful."

Lea Michele thought she'd marry Cory Monteith

Lea Michele has been pretty open about the fact that she thought she was going to marry Cory Monteith before his death. The star got very candid about the future they'd planned out in a 2014 interview with Glamour, heartbreakingly admitting that they'd very much discussed spending the rest of their lives together. "We talked about a lot of things. We talked about children and what we would look like when we grew old, and who would be fat and how we would stay thin. We talked about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do," she shared less than a year after Monteith's death. "We were done. We were it."

It seems like pretty much everyone wanted it to happen that way, too. In paparazzi footage recorded just days before his death, Monteith was told by a shutterbug that the world was waiting for his and his co-star's wedding. He didn't reply, but did give a coy smile.

Though he kept quiet in the candid clip, it seems Monteith was open with his family about his desire to have children and settle down. "Cory wanted a wife and kids," his mom, Ann McGregor, told People in 2018. "He would have made a beautiful father. He had accomplished so much. He was ready to step out of Hollywood and really live. He had so much to look forward to."

They faced publicity stunt rumors

In a fate that many couples in Hollywood face, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith weren't exempt from allegations their relationship was a publicity stunt when the gossip columns first began to speculate that they were dating.

Many fans and blogs suggested the two could have been peddling rumors to promote "Glee," with outlets like Blind Gossip and Lainey Gossip dropping hints that everything may not have been as it seemed between the two. Others shared their unfounded two thoughts on social media, with several tweets suggesting their romance was a stunt.

However, the two made it pretty clear their romance was very much the real deal with Michele constantly gushing about Monteith in interviews, while they also had former E! News correspondent Marc Malkin on their side. Malkin confirmed the two were very much an item, saying (via Marie Claire), "Yes, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith are definitely dating. I saw them this weekend, they were definitely a couple. If for some reason this is fake and it's a PR stunt, they are doing a great job."

Lea Michele supported Cory Monteith

Lea Michele stood by Cory Monteith's side through thick and thin. Monteith entered treatment in 2013 after sharing with Parade that he was addicted to drugs in his youth. His rep confirmed to People that the "Glee" star had "voluntarily admitted himself to a treatment facility for substance addiction."

Michele issued her own statement about her boyfriend's rehab stint, telling People, "I love and support Cory and will stand by him through this. I am grateful and proud he made this decision." The two were spotted together in paparazzi photos following his return from rehab, jetting out of Canada into Los Angeles where they both flashed smiles. Michele also took to Twitter to celebrate their reunion, writing, "Today is a great day Love you all! Xo" (via E! News). The message, along with her account, have since been removed.

In the days after Monteith's death, "Glee" producer Ryan Murphy confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Monteith was urged to enter treatment following an emergency intervention by the cast and crew on the show, likely including Michele.

Speaking to Elle in 2013 about her late boyfriend's struggle with drug addiction, Michele shared, "I can only imagine what it looks like from the outside... but there are so many personal aspects of this whole journey that people are not invited to know." She added that she was "of course" worried about him after finding out that he had begun using substances again, noting, "Who wouldn't be worried?"

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Cory Monteith and Lea Michele vacationed in style

One thing's for sure, Cory Monteith and Lea Michele loved a vacation, and rightly so. With Michele's net worth being set at $14 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, and Monteith's estimated to be $2 million at the time of his death, per Celebrity Net Worth, it's probably no surprise to hear that these two liked to go all out when it came to some time away.

The couple were regularly spotted at the airport together by the paparazzi, with People sharing a shot of the couple sunning it up in Mexico in May 2013 in the wake of Monteith's rehab stint in what would become their final international vacation together. Five months before that, E! News published candid snaps of the lovebirds after they headed west for the winter, sunning it up together in Hawaii as they welcomed in the New Year together. Tragically, it would become Monteith's final year.

But it wasn't just the New Year that Michele and Monteith celebrated together in the sun. April 2012 saw them jet off to Mexico to celebrate Easter together, while Daily Mail saw the duo holding hands and looking very much in love in Paris that July.

Naya Rivera believed Lea Michele changed Cory Monteith

When Cory Monteith and Lea Michele went public with their romance, one of the couple's fellow "Glee" stars claimed that the actor began changing. Naya Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on the Fox hit, wrote about their romance in her book, "Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up." In the memoir, Rivera also opened up about her infamous drama with Michele.

"The more serious they got, the less Cory hung out with us, and the more he seemed like a different person," Rivera shared. "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."

In a tragic twist of fate, Rivera was found dead on the seventh anniversary of Monteith's passing. Rivera drowned after taking a pontoon out with her son on July 7, 2020. She wasn't found until July 13, 2020. After fans pointed out the eerie coincidence, their "Glee" co-star Kevin McHale wrote on Twitter, "I'm not religious by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn't help find our girl today. These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people."

Lea Michele's many tributes to Cory Monteith

Lea Michele has made no secret of her grief in the wake of Cory Monteith's tragic death and continues to pay tribute to him every year, even after moving on and finding love with Zandy Reich.

Michele's first annual tribute came in July 2014 when Michele shared a selfie Monteith took of them cuddling at the beach as she nuzzled her head into his shoulder. "We hold you in our hearts today, and every day we remember your smile. We will love you and miss you always," Michele captioned the Facebook upload. The following year, she posted a snap of him driving on Instagram, writing, "I hold you in my heart always and love and miss you so..." In 2017, Michele shared a photo of her hand holding a black and white Polaroid of the two as she wore his letterman jacket from "Glee." "Hard to believe it's been 4 years... We miss you C... love you more," she tweeted in a tribute that has since been removed along with her account (via BuzzFeed).

In 2020, things became even more heartbreaking in the wake of her other former "Glee" co-star Naya Rivera being found on the seventh anniversary of Monteith's death. The star shared that she was thinking about her late boyfriend and friend by posting black and white photos of the two to her Instagram Story (via Vulture).

Lea Michele broke the news to Cory Monteith's mom

In one of the most heartbreaking moments from Lea Michele and Cory Monteith's years-long — platonic, to romantic, to platonic, to romantic — relationship, it was actually Michele who told Monteith's mom, Ann McGregor, that her son had died. McGregor had not yet been informed about the tragic accident when Michele called her after hearing the news. McGregor recounted the heartbreaking series of events to People in 2018. "I got a call from Lea and she was screaming on the phone," she remembered. "She was yelling, 'Is it true, is it true about Cory?' and I said, 'What about Cory?' I had heard nothing. And then police knocked on my front door."

As for whether or not Michele still keeps in touch with Monteith's family today we're not so sure, but the two did stay in contact for at least a little while in the wake of the actor's death. McGregor shared during a 2014 appearance on "Good Morning America" that she and Michele would correspond via emails and texts, adding that they were there for one another following such an imaginable loss. "She's hurting, too," she added of the time of Michele. "I mean, you see the sadness. I know her pain." 

Michele has since gone on to find love again and start a family of her own. She married Zandy Reich in 2019 and they welcomed their first son, Ever, in 2020.