Save for a few tweets and her heartfelt appearance at the Teen Choice Awards, Lea Michele has said very little about her late boyfriend, Cory Monteith. That all changed on Tuesday, Oct. 8, when the actress addressed his death during a Glee panel with costars Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch, as well as show creator Ryan Murphy.
Speaking to TV Week Australia, the 27-year-old actress described the Oct. 10 tribute episode to Monteith's character, Finn Hudson, as "perfect."
"I feel like, for me personally, I've lost two people: Cory and Finn," Michele said. "We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic."
Though many wondered if Michele would quit the show after Monteith died of an accidental drug and alcohol overdose in July, she's found comfort in getting back to work. "Everyone is asking, ‘Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?'" she said. "But the truth is, it's no harder at work than it is in life, so we might as well all be together as a family supporting each other to get through this together."
Michele performs the song "Make You Feel My Love" in the episode titled "The Quarterback." Originally written by Bob Dylan, the track has been famously covered by Garth Brooks and Adele.
Morrison was blown away by Michele's touching tribute. "She had one of the first songs we filmed for the episode and she did it so beautifully," he said. "After, she said something like, ‘It can't be harder for anyone else than it was for me.'"
Michele's fortitude was inspirational, according to Morrison. "We knew we had to show up because our leader stepped forward and kind of gave permission to all of us to do it," he explained. "I don't think we could have done it without her."
Asked what she hopes fans will remember most about her late love, Michele replied, "I really woke up every single day feeling like I was being in some sort of spell or something, that I was lucky enough to have him in my life. I feel like what happened with [Monteith's death] was [miniscule] in the scheme of who he was and his life."
"There was no greater man than Cory," she added, "so for the time we spent together I consider myself very lucky."