'Glee' Actress Naya Rivera Feels Regret Over Co-Star Cory Monteith’s Overdose Death

By Keri Blakinger 09/19/16

“A lot of us have spent time wondering and talking about what would have happened if someone had stepped in or confronted him about what was going on." 

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'Glee' Actress Naya Rivera Feels Regret Over Co-Star Cory Monteith’s Overdose Death

Well, maybe she is sorry. In her newly released memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, actress Naya Rivera dishes on everything from boob jobs to secret abortions—but she also delves into her regret over Glee co-star Cory Monteith’s overdose death in 2013.

"I doubt I'm alone in feeling a lot of regret about his death,” she wote, according to E! News. “Since he died, a lot of us have spent time wondering and talking about what would have happened if someone had stepped in or confronted him about what was going on. Or what if he'd been trying to talk to someone about what was going on and just thought no one cared?”

Monteith first started drinking and smoking pot at 13, and things got progressively worse until he finally managed to get clean at 19, as The Fix reported in 2013. He stayed sober for years, but in her tell-all, Rivera recalled seeing him drink again at a cast party and wondered whether she should have worried.

"He noticed that we noticed," wrote the 29-year-old who played Santana Lopez on Glee. "He explained that he wanted to be able to drink in moderation, that he could do it and be just like everybody else. He seemed calm and confident about it, so we all just accepted it. To be honest, I don't think many of us really understood how addiction worked, nor did we fully realize the extent of his former addiction."

They also may not have realized the extent of his harmful anti-drug treatment, as detailed by Maia Szalavitz in a 2013 piece for The Fix. Over a three-year period in the mid-1990s, Monteith had suffered through a variety of "troubled teen" programs now considered counterproductive and even abusive.

More than a decade later, when Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy learned that his star had relapsed, he staged an intervention—and packed Monteith off to rehab at an old-school 30-day program that didn’t allow for the use of medication-assisted therapy, like Suboxone. That was in the spring—and by mid-summer the young celeb was dead at 31, felled by a fatal mix of alcohol and heroin.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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