Demi Lovato pays tribute to Naya Rivera, whose body was found Monday morning following a Ventura, California, boating trip with her 4-year-old son Josey.
Monday on Instagram, the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer posted a series of images of Rivera, including ones of the two of them from “Glee.”
In the fifth season of the musical comedy-drama, Lovato portrayed the character of Dani, who had a short-lived romantic relationship with Santana Lopez, played by Rivera.
“RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on ‘Glee,’” the musician wrote on her page. “The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time..”
Aside from Dani, Santana was also in a same-sex relationship and then marriage with Brittany Pierce, played by Heather Morris.
Lovato — who identifies as sexually fluid — recently opened up about coming out to her parents during a January interview on SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy.”
“I didn’t officially tell my parents that I saw myself ending up possibly with a woman until 2017,” she revealed to host Andy Cohen, adding, “It was actually emotional, but really beautiful. After everything was done, I was, like, shaking and crying. I just felt overwhelmed. I have such incredible parents. They were so supportive.”
While Lovato said her dad knew — referencing her 2015 song “Cool for the Summer” which many believe is about a same-sex hookup — she wasn’t sure how her mom would react.
“My mom was the one that I was super nervous about, but she was like, ‘I just want you to be happy.’ And that was so beautiful and amazing. I’m so grateful,” she added.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub described the possibility that Rivera spent her final moments rescuing her son from drowning.
“We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey. It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind,” he told reporters. “He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
The sheriff added, “The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”
Rivera’s autopsy will be performed at the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.