12 January 2022

Ryan Dorsey says Naya Rivera would be ‘so proud’ of son Josey in emotional tribute to tragic Glee star

12 January 2022

Ryan Dorsey has paid tribute to actress Naya Rivera on what would have been her 35th birthday and says she would have been “so proud” of their young son.

Rivera, who was best known for playing cheerleader Santana Lopez in the TV show Glee, died in 2020 aged 33 as a result of a boating accident.

Big Sky star Dorsey, who was married to Rivera from 2014 to 2018 and shared son Josey, six, admitted that he still finds it difficult to accept that she is gone.

“At least once a day I find myself shaking my head, like it’s still unbelievable, so surreal that she’s gone,” he told People in a statement to mark her 35th birthday on Tuesday. “She’d be freaking out today, I could almost hear her: ‘OMG, I’m almost 40!’”

In July 2020, Rivera and Josey rented a boat at Lake Piru in Southern California. When the boat was not returned on time, staff found it on the north side of the lake with the young boy sleeping in his life jacket on board, but Rivera was nowhere to be seen.

Her body was discovered five days later on July 13 with an autopsy later determining her cause of death to be accidental drowning.

Authorities determined that she likely saved Josey by putting him back on board the boat before she died.

Reflecting on how Josey is doing now, Dorsey said: “She knew how willing Josey was to share his things but she’d be so proud to see how he’ll give things he loves away to friends or donate them.

“He has this unique literal laugh-out-LOUD cackle of laugh when he’s watching TV that’s kind of obnoxiously endearing like hers was, but his even more so,” he added. “No matter your mood, it would make anyone smile if you heard it.”

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