'Glee' star Amber Riley reveals how she honors Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith 'every day'

On Thursday, Riley paid tribute to Rivera and promised to keep her memory alive the same way she honors Monteith.
"GLEE" 300th Musical Performance Special Taping
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/ Source: TODAY
By Alyssa Newcomb

Amber Riley will never forget the fun moments she shared with her late “Glee” co-stars Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith.

Riley, 34, paid tribute to Rivera, who drowned on July 8, and promised to keep her memory alive the same way she honors Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in 2013.

“I say your name everyday and hold you in my heart, just like I do Cory,” she wrote on Instagram.

Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on “Glee,” shared a few of her favorite photos with Rivera. She added that she and Rivera had the “best duets on the show! PERIOD!”

“Miss you baby girl and I love you #NayaRivera I’m so mad the world will never see how high you could have soared,” she wrote. “Her brain was brilliant. She was smart and as quick as a whip. Always had me in stitches, we would be in tears laughing so hard at one another.”

Riley said there was never any competition, shade or intimidation between the two of them, just “pure adoration and mutual respect.”

"You deserved better. You were so much more than just this show. Your talent outshined us all so many times!" she wrote.

The cast of "Glee."Everett Collection

She also shared a favorite memory with Rivera from their time on tour in London.

“Naya greasing her scalp with Doo Gro oil, a plastic cap and a silk bonnet. My sister said ‘oh Naya you blackity black black,’” she wrote. “We burst out into laughter! We needed it too because we just wanted to get home to our families.”

Riley asked fans to keep Rivera’s family in their prayers and said “we are working as a cast and crew and a family to come together and show love, and it’s all because of you.”

“Your presence brought so much excitement, so much passion, so much joy, and in your absence you’re STILL holding us accountable and getting us together,” she said. “I’ve cried until my tear ducts have dried out, now it’s time to celebrate the fact that us mere humans got to experience walking through life with an earth angel. Rest well. I pray you found the peace we all are searching for.”

Many "Glee" cast members have taken to social media over the past few weeks to pay tribute to Rivera. In an essay, Chris Colfer honored his late friend and revealed that motherhood was always high on her list of goals.

"For as long as I’ve known Naya, the thing she wanted most in life was to be a mother. She spent hours telling us what she was going to name her kids, how she was going to dress them and all the free babysitting she’d bamboozle out of us," Colfer recalled.

Rivera's long-awaited dream of becoming a mother came true when she welcomed her first child at the age of 28.

Colfer wrote, "When her son Josey was born in 2015, it was like a missing piece of Naya had finally arrived. Their connection was magnetic, their affection was radiant and I’ve never seen a person look happier than when Naya gushed over her little boy."

Heather Morris wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram remembering her late friend as well.

Morris remembered her relationship with Rivera fondly, despite a “bit of a rocky phase,” and said they built a “beautiful friendship” out of “love and understanding.”

She added that Rivera and Josey had left succulents on her doorstep during the pandemic as a socially distanced thank you for oranges Morris had left outside her house.

“I planted those succulents and I look at them everyday and think of you,” she added. “You are and always will be the strongest and most resilient human being I know, and I vowed to carry that with me as I continue to live my life.”