Naya Rivera and her fellow Glee castmates were said to be close like a "family" before her death. Rivera's former publicist, Zack Teperman, spoke with Us Weekly about the last actress and shared some endearing information about the final months of her life. "Everybody got along, and I think everybody respected each other," he said. "I think she respected them. They respected her. I think of them all growing together; it was a family."
Teperman is now the owner and president of ZTPR, but from 2009 to 2013, he worked with Lexicon Public Relations and was on Rivera's team during the height of her success with the musical series. "I think that's how it is on a lot of sets, with a lot of people, but something about Glee, it was just different. It was a different type of show," Teperman told Us Weekly. "[There were] all different types of personalities, but they were a family, and they made me, being a young guy in Hollywood, even feel part of that family."
Melissa Benoist pays tribute to Glee costar Naya Rivera:
“She was kind and open to me when she didn’t have to be when I was a naive, clueless, and insecure newcomer. Bravely authentic, genuinely kind, incredibly talented” pic.twitter.com/fy5XBzcsoT— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) July 15, 2020
Teperman also stated that the whole cast "felt that strong bond" while working on the show. "That's why even years later, after not even speaking to her for years after we stopped working together, I still feel that bond," he continued. "I still feel that connection to her. That's why this is even more heartbreaking and tragic to me."
The former publicist commented on the Glee cast showing up at Lake Piru, where Rivera went missing last week, saying, "They're a family. They've been through a lot of things, that cast, that a lot of [other] casts can't even imagine. It's just sad." He added, "It's those moments that make everybody much stronger, and that love is just there, and it was seen today. Everybody gathered around — it just shows that as much as everybody can go in different directions, and different things happen in life, you're always there for your family, and those guys are all family."
Rivera was reported missing on July 8, after she took her 4-year-old son, Josey, out in a rented boat on the Ventura, California lake. The pontoon was discovered with Josey aboard, but Rivera was nowhere to be found. Authorities searched for more than five days, eventually finding Rivera's body on Monday morning. Her death had been officially ruled an accidental drowning.