Gloria Estefan is paying tribute to her Glee daughter Naya Rivera.
As fans may recall, the Grammy winner portrayed Maribel Lopez on the series, the mother of Rivera's character Santana Lopez. Estefan first appeared on the show in 2012, and later returned for 2015's "A Wedding" episode. In a new interview on Andy Cohen's SiriusXM radio show, Estefan shared that in addition to working together on-screen, she and Rivera were also working on music together behind the scenes.
As Estefan told Cohen, she and her daughter Emily Estefan were "huge fans" of Glee before she got the call to be a guest star on the musical series. "When I got the opportunity and was invited to be a part of it, I was thrilled beyond words," the superstar recalled. "When I was there, they were at their peak of fame. So, a lot of the kids, you know, were great, a lot of them weren't handling fame that well and didn't have the kind of rapport that Naya had."
"Naya was really down to earth and warm and [it] was a joy to play her mom," Estefan continued. "She had really amazing chops."
As Estefan explained, she and Rivera were going to work together more on new music, but life had other plans in store. "We were gonna do that music, were working on it, and then she got pregnant," the singer recalled. "She married and got pregnant, so she got sidetracked in that respect at that moment."
It was just over a month ago that Rivera, 33, went missing while boating with her 4-year-old son Josey, who she shares with ex Ryan Dorsey, at California's Lake Piru. On July 13, the actress was confirmed dead by authorities after her body was found at the lake, her cause of death was later determined to be drowning and the manner of death was declared an accident.
"When I heard what had happened and I saw that the baby had been on board, even though I was praying beyond words that maybe she'd been caught up in a riptide and somehow ending up landing in some other part around that lake...deep down inside as a mom you know that she would never have left that baby alone on the boat," Estefan told Cohen. "So something terrible must have happened."
"I prayed a lot," the 62-year-old star said. "But I hope she's remembered as a wonderful triple threat. She really was one of our young acting talents and dancing and singing, it's just such a shame."
Rivera was laid to rest on July 24 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Hollywood Hills, Calif.