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Who is Naya Rivera? A peek into former ‘Glee’ star’s life

Actress is missing in California

Naya Rivera arrives for the "March Of Dimes: Imagine" event on Nov. 9, 2017.
Naya Rivera arrives for the "March Of Dimes: Imagine" event on Nov. 9, 2017. (2017 Getty Images)

Former “Glee” star Naya Rivera is missing, authorities have said, and the search is on for Rivera at a Southern California lake, according to The Associated Press.

Late Wednesday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Rivera, 33, was the person being searched for in the waters of Lake Piru, which is approximately 56 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Rivera rented a pontoon boat at the Lake Piru reservoir Wednesday -- and then her son was found on the boat wearing a life vest, the AP reported.

Rivera’s identification was discovered on the boat.

The search was set to continue Thursday.

“We’re going on the belief that she did go in the water and we have not been able to locate her. So this may well be a case of drowning,” Captain Eric Buschow said during a news conference.

If you need a reminder about who exactly Rivera is, we’ll refresh your memory -- or teach you a thing or two.

1.) The ‘Glee’ years

Rivera played Santana, a cheerleader in the musical-comedy “Glee,” that aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015.

Mark Salling and Naya Rivera attend the celebration of Glee's Golden Globe nominations with InStyle and 20th Century Fox held at Sunset Tower on Jan. 9, 2010 in West Hollywood.
Mark Salling and Naya Rivera attend the celebration of Glee's Golden Globe nominations with InStyle and 20th Century Fox held at Sunset Tower on Jan. 9, 2010 in West Hollywood. (Getty Images for InStyle)

She appeared in 113 episodes of the series and dated co-star Mark Salling, who died by suicide in 2018 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

2.) She’s a mom.

Rivera’s 4-year-old son is from a marriage with actor Ryan Dorsey. The couple finalized their divorce in June 2018 after nearly four years of marriage.

Dorsey has appeared on shows including “Ray Donavan” and “Justified.”

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just the two of us

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In her 2016 memoir “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up,” Rivera called her son “my greatest success,” and said, “I will never do any better than him.”

3.) Rivera was engaged to Big Sean.

The actress was engaged to rapper Big Sean in 2013, but their relationship ended a year later.

Big Sean and Naya Rivera arrive at the 15th Annual Trevor Project Benefit held at Hollywood Palladium on Dec. 8, 2013.
Big Sean and Naya Rivera arrive at the 15th Annual Trevor Project Benefit held at Hollywood Palladium on Dec. 8, 2013. (2013 FilmMagic/Getty Images)

The pair met on Twitter and collaborated musically, with the rapper appearing on Rivera’s debut single “Sorry.”

4.) Her split with Dorsey didn’t appear to be simple.

The former “Glee” star first filed for divorce in November 2016, but withdrew her petition nearly a year later after she and Dorsey reconciled.

Then on Thanksgiving weekend 2017, Rivera was arrested in West Virginia on suspicion of domestic battery against Dorsey. The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said Dorsey later asked that Rivera not be prosecuted.

Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey at the UNICEF Dia de los Muertos Black and White Masquerade Ball.
Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey at the UNICEF Dia de los Muertos Black and White Masquerade Ball. (Getty Images for U.S. Fund for UNICEF)

In December, Rivera filed again for divorce. Again, that was finalized in 2018.

5.) Her book told us a lot.

Rivera wrote about a number of personal subjects, but said one of the hardest was discussing the death of her “Glee” co-star Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in 2013.

“The Cory chapter really choked me up. I had (co-star) Kevin (McHale) come over and help me edit and we both had our moment,” Rivera said in an interview.

She also shared her story of starting in showbiz at a young age, relationship drama and how she met Dorsey.

With information from The Associated Press.


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