Glee’s Kevin McHale Recalls Jenna Ushkowitz and Naya Rivera Confronting Him Over Steroid Use

Glee’s Kevin McHale recalled being "sick as a dog" while on steroids in 2011, which prompted his co-stars Jenna Ushkowitz and Naya Rivera to hold an "intervention" over the drugs.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez Jun 29, 2023 2:46 AMTags
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Kevin McHale is sharing how his Glee family helped him during a dire time of need.

The actor recalled that his co-stars Jenna Ushkowitz and the late Naya Rivera staged an "intervention" after becoming concerned over his steroid usage.

McHale said on the And That's What You REALLY Missed podcast, per People, that he had been prescribed prednisone, a type of steroid, amid a stressful filming period in 2011. However, McHale, who played Artie Abrams on Glee, said the steroid "turned me into a monster."

"We had just started filming the Super Bowl episode at this time. I think we were filming two episodes at the same time [and] in the middle of it, flying to England," the 35-year-old told Ushkowitz on a recent episode of the podcast. "I was sick as a dog on all kinds of medicine including prednisone."

During a flight back to England, McHale said Ushkowitz and Rivera addressed his steroid usage while he was having dinner with late co-star Cory Monteith, who died in 2013 at age 31.

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"You were all like, 'So, hey, why are you taking these steroids?' I'm like, 'Well, because I'm sick; I'm supposed to take them,'" he recalled to Ushkowitz. "You were like … 'I think you should stop taking them.' And I was like, ‘Why?'"

That's when his co-stars let their worries be known, as they told him, "You're not sleeping. You're acting crazy. You need to stop taking them."

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Looking back on the moment, McHale said he understood where Ushkowitz and Rivera—who drowned in July 2020 at age 33—were coming from. "I hadn't slept in days," he said. "I was losing my mind."

When Ushkowitz added that the steroids were, at the beginning, "needed" and "necessary" to take, McHale noted that he stands by his decision to step away from the drugs.

Overall, McHale said the experience "was a hard lesson to learn."

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