Tahj Mowry is reflecting on his relationship with Naya Rivera.
The 34-year-old actor opened up about the connection he had with his first love in a recent interview with Glamour. When asked who his first celebrity crush was, it prompted the Smart Guy star to admit that it was Naya from the beginning.
"Well, that's easy for me," he shared. "Naya Rivera. 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. 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."
"It's a hard thing to talk about," the actor continued, acknowledging that her family's feelings remain at the forefront of his mind when it comes to discussing their past relationship.
"Because 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."
The two stars first met as kids when Naya appeared in a guest role on the ‘90s sitcom, Smart Guy, but reportedly, it wasn't until a few years later, from 2000 to 2004, that the two dated. Tahj confirmed his relationship with the star in a touching tribute dedicated to her once reports surfaced that she went missing after a swimming trip with her 4-year-old son, Josey. The actress was tragically confirmed deceased a few days later in July 2020.
"We grew up together," Tahj wrote in his heartwarming post at the time. "We became adults together. We experienced so many firsts together. 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. I've never liked to admit it, but I have never stopped loving you."