TODAY | December 13, 2013
>> first but we want to start with lea michele speaking on ellen for the first time about the tragic death of cory monteith .
>> yeah, it's been a pretty rough year but i have been surrounded by such great people and such great family.
>> reporter: in her first sit down interview since the death of cory monteith in july, lea michele opened up about losing her boyfriend and costar.
>> it's really hard. there's so many different emotions.
>> reporter: michelle defended her decision to return to work on glee where the couple met and fell in love .
>> but people also don't understand is that going to work is no harder than being at home and being in the house and opening up a closet and seeing a pair of shoes. grief goes with you every day. whatever you're doing.
>> reporter: last december with reports the two were dating.
>> you're a couple.
>> yeah, of course.
>> reporter: monteith appeared on ellen and confirmed that he and michelle were a couple.
>> i remember when he came home last night he puffed out his chest and said i talked about you on ellen today and i was so happy. he was such a private person and i literally lived every day of my life feeling like the luckiest girl in the whole world. i just thought he was the greatest man. and so, you know, at that moment, that memory it means so much to me.
>> i think you have been so strong.
>> thank you.
>> anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what that feels like. you have been really, really brave.
>> i really feel like i'm still trying to figure out all of it. it's been only a few months but my mom experienced a lot of loss in her life. she told me there's an empowerment that comes with grief and at some point you find it. it's hard but you will find it. i'm trying to do my best for him because i know that's what he would have wanted.
>> michelle also thanked actress kate hudson who opened her house to michelle as a place to hide out for the paparazzi and get the privacy she needed.
>> hard enough to grieve. but hard in public. let's take a turn and get the check of the weather from