Tahj Mowry is reflecting on his relationship with the late Naya Rivera.
In a new Q&A with Glamour magazine, Mowry said she was his "first everything." The two reportedly dated between 2000 and 2004 after Rivera appeared as a guest star on "Smart Guy," the show that made Mowry a teen star. Mowry first met Rivera at 4 years old on the set of a print shoot, she noted in her 2016 memoir.
"She recently passed away, which was really, really rough. I have so much respect for her family. I still am in communication with them, so I just want to make sure I’m respectful of that and what her family is going through," the 35-year-old actor told Glamour. "She was definitely my first everything. I think subconsciously it’s why I never really date like that because no one really ever ... I know someday someone might, but it’s hard to measure up to the type of girl and woman she was."
Mowry said it's hard to talk about Rivera.
"To think about her mother and her ex-husband and her child and her sister and her brother … the height of what they went through is times a thousand. I almost feel like I can’t even talk about my feelings because they don’t even measure up to the pain that they went through and are still going through. But yes, much love to her entire family — her brother, her sister, her child, and her ex-husband as well."
Following Rivera's disappearance last year, Mowry penned an emotional tribute on Instagram.
“This is a nightmare. Everyday gets harder. ... You were my first experience with everything; love, intimacy, heartbreak. We broke each other's hearts and then mended them back together... more than once. I will never not think of you. No woman has ever measured up what you gave me or how you made me feel," he wrote at the time.
The former "Glee" star went missing while swimming with her son, Josey, in Lake Piru, in California, on July 8, 2020. Rivera's body was found five days later.
Her father, George Rivera, recently spoke with "Entertainment Tonight" about the support Josey has received from his family.
"We handle him and we talk to him just like he's a 5-year-old going on 6," George Rivera said in the interview. "It's no different but when he wants to talk about his mother, we talk about his mother, in conversation. He's growing up and handling it really well."