Naya Rivera mother opens up about the day she learned her late
Naya Rivera's mother and sister remember star one year after her … Thu, 08 Jul 2021 07:00:00 -0700-Naya Rivera's family is honoring her memory and who she was as a daughter, sister, mother and artist on the one-year anniversary of her tragic death.
RELATED: Fans attend vigil honoring Naya Rivera at Lake Piru Yolanda said she remembers the last time she saw her daughter, via a video call, on the “beautiful morning” Naya and Josey set out for their adventure on the lake, the day her family's lives changed forever.”I missed two of her FaceTime calls, and I called her back. And we had a beautiful conversation. The sun was kissing her face and she was just beautiful,” she said, her voice breaking. “She had a white, beautiful swimming suit on and she was glowing.”Yolanda said she was taking screenshots of Josey fishing from the boat during the call. These photos would end up being useful later, as search teams scoured the area for Naya.”Thank God I took the pictures, because they were able to look at the topography of the land to locate where they were,” she said.Yolanda recalled not being able to take a clear screenshot of Naya and she told her daughter “the water's gettin' choppy” and told them to go to a cove as the water tends to be “a little bit calmer” there. Before hanging up, she told Naya to call her when they got off the water.Later that day, two detectives showed up at Yolanda's house to tell her that Josey was safe, but Naya was missing.”It was almost like a force. I don't know what it was, but I literally was just pushed backwards. I just ran backwards, if you can imagine, just screaming and I ended up in the bathroom. I slammed the door, I was on the floor and I had to gather myself,” she said.Nickayla said the next five days of searching for Naya were “absolute hell” and called the moment they found Naya “a relief, in a way.”For the first few days, Yolanda would wake up early in the morning, go to the lake and stay until late at night each day, saying her “faith” told her to be there for Naya and she pleaded with God to “bring her back to us.”Yolanda said she was unable to go for the last day of search because of everything she was putting her body though and she asked for Josey to come over so she could make him pancakes.”Josey was at the house literally probably for no more than 30 minutes, and he was sitting there eating his pancakes, 'cause that was his favorite thing to do at Grandma's house,” she remembered. “And the phone rang.”This was the call they had been waiting for. Naya's body had finally been found.Yolanda said she wanted to thank everyone who helped in the search, recalling how they were “just overflowing with kindness” and how her family “really felt the love.”In particular, Yolanda shouted out Naya's fellow “Glee” castmates for showing up and supporting her family during the tragedy, noting that Naya may have been part of the cast, but that they all “became a family.”Thinking back to when Naya was a little girl in elementary school, Yolanda said she could always find Naya “in the backyard on her swing, just swinging back and forth and just singing, hitting high notes.”This passion for entertaining blossomed in Naya from an early age, from being a child star to when she landed her career-making role on “Glee.””Her work ethic was impeccable, and she just dived into it. She had this cool swag about her,” Yolanda said.Nickayla said she doesn't think Naya even realized how monumental her character, Santana Lopez, was when it came to providing a rare example of queer Latinx representation.”It was really awesome to hear the personal stories,” Nickayla recalled, adding that people would come up to Naya “all the time” and say she saved their lives or helped them come out to their family. “My sister, even though she was acting, was touching people's real lives and helping them become who they really are and not being ashamed of that. It was just really amazing to see that she had that impact.””She persevered, she motivated herself and she got to where she needed to be to inspire all of those people around the world,” Nickayla said.Yolanda called Josey “a boy version” of his mom “in every sense,” pointing out “his tenacity, his drive, his zeal, his adventure for life.”Nickayla said she also sees a lot of Naya in Josey, describing him as “such an outgoing boy” who “doesn't take anything from anybody — and neither did Naya.””And the biggest thing is he loves entertaining,” Nickayla chimed in. “He loves singing at the top of his lungs.”Yolanda said the family doesn't tiptoe around discussing Naya around Josey, admitting that “he misses his mom” and that she is part of every conversation they have because “he recalls their life together.”Nickayla and Yolanda said they're “honest” with Josey when he says he misses Naya, telling him they do too.”It's almost like we're feeding off each other and lifting each other up. Josey has lifted me up so many times,” Yolanda said, noting that he will tell her they'll all see Naya again one day. “He's comforting that way, and we do the same for him.”At Josey's request, Nickayla moved in with him and his father and Naya's ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, to be there for him as he grows up.”I'm very grateful to be able to help him transition into whatever he's going to be next,” he said. “I knew right when it happened, right when we got him, I knew the role that I had to take. That was a big change, and something that I had to get used to too.”As for Naya's legacy, Yolanda said she hopes who she was as a person — her whole self, from her home life to the people she played in her roles — to stand the test of time.
“I would like my daughter Naya's legacy to be one that teaches people to love, to care. If something is not right, try to fix it or speak up,” she said. “And to just live life. God has given you one life. You are your own person. Love who you are, 'cause you don't get another life.”
Naya Rivera's mother opens up about the day she learned her late … Thu, 08 Jul 2021 07:00:00 -0700-Naya Rivera's family is reeling with grief one year after the "Glee" star's tragic death.
July 8, 2021 | 9:27am
Naya Rivera’s family is reeling with grief one year after the “Glee” star’s tragic death.
The late actress’ mother, Yolanda Previtire, told “Good Morning America” that there are “no words to describe what we’re going through” as the family deals with day-to-day life, which includes helping to care for Rivera’s 5-year-old son, Josey.
“Sometimes we’re afraid of the sorrow being so heavy that we’re afraid for our own self, ’cause this is hard,” she said in the interview, which aired Thursday, adding that the family is in therapy to deal with the trauma.
Previtire said she feels her late daughter’s “energy” telling her to be happy and have fun with her grandson, yet, “I literally wake up every morning, and it’s almost like a restart button, and I have to shake it off … one foot at a time. And here we are.”
Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on the hit series “Glee,” went missing on July 8, 2020, during a boating trip with her young son on Southern California’s Lake Piru. A days-long search for the actress ended on July 13 when her body was found and she was confirmed dead — a period Naya’s younger sister, Nickayla Rivera, called “absolute hell.”
Naya’s death was ruled an accidental drowning. She was 33 years old.
Josey was found unharmed on the boat, with officials saying they believed Naya had been able to hoist her son onto the pontoon after they went swimming in the lake but became too exhausted to help herself get back on.
Naya’s mother spoke to the star and Josey via FaceTime from the boat before the tragedy and was able to share images from that call with authorities to help search for her daughter’s body.
“And we had a beautiful conversation,” Previtire said of their final talk. “The sun was kissing her face and she was just beautiful. … She had a white, beautiful swimming suit on and she was glowing.”
But she said she did warn Naya that the water looked as though it was “gettin’ choppy” during the call.
These days, Josey is cared for by Naya’s ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, as well as her 27-year-old sister. Nickayla moved in with Dorsey following her sister’s death to help out with her nephew — a move that raised eyebrows among some fans and led Dorsey to blast the “absurd narratives” circulating last year about the nature of their relationship.
“I knew right when it happened, right when we got him, I knew the role that I had to take,” Nickayla said.
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– July 8, 2021