Glee’s Lea Michele and Cory Monteith were costars first, but as they spent years together playing love interests, a real life romance began to develop. We've compiled a detailed timeline of their relationship in four parts. This is the tale of their not-so-happy ending.
On March 31, Cory shocked everyone when he checked into rehab for substance abuse issues. The Glee star stayed in treatment for just under a month. He then reunited with girlfriend Lea, and their lives appeared to be getting back to normal for most of the summer.
On June 8, Cory makes his first red carpet appearance since rehab, a little over a month after leaving treatment. It’s at the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball, an event that he and Lea have attended before, and she’s there by his side the entire night.
In early June, co-star Matthew Morrison says he thinks that Cory and Lea “have what it takes to last,” and that he wants to sing at their wedding. Lea does a photoshoot for the cover of Marie Claire Mexico, and Cory stops by the set to surprise her.
Lea’s writing a part-memoir, part-advice book, and on June 20, she writes that two of the chapters will be on diet and relationships. Will she talk about her relationship with Cory?
Lea and Cory take a trip to NYC to visit Jonathan on the set of his Ryan Murphy movie, and they’re spotted holding hands and looking adorable at the airport on their way back home. The date is June 21.
On July 2, Lea goes to a Beyonce concert with her friend Stephanie, but Cory’s not there. On July 7, Cory tweets that he has “Paris” by Friendly Fires,“basically on repeat.” Its a song about a couple who wants to run away together to the City of Lights. On a plane headed Canada from Japan, Coryrecords a video for the daughter of a flight attendant’s friend. He tells her to “stay out of trouble and stay in school.”
Back from his trip to Japan, Cory he heads home to Canada to visit his mom and friends. It’s one last trip before he has to return to Los Angeles and begin filming Glee Season 5 that Monday, July 15. He has dinner with his agent on July 11, and she posts a photo of him on Twitter.
He never made it back to Los Angeles. On July 13, Cory is found dead in his Vancouver hotel room. Many suspect that he may have overdosed.
Lea hadn’t seen Cory since he left for Japan, and she almost learned the news of his passing on Twitter, along with the rest of the world. Thankfully, a friend who had been “desperate to reach her,” finally got a hold of her by phone at 10 p.m., just a half hour before the news broke. People reports that Lea was having a girl’s night with friends when she got the call, and that she "started screaming, she was distraught. No one knew what to say. It was horrible.”
Hollywood takes to Twitter to react in shock and horror. Rumored ex Taylor Swift writes that she is "Speechless. And for the worst reason." Out of respect, Cory’s name is later removed from a joke T-shirt that lists the names of all of Taylor’s exes. We look back over Cory and Lea’s cutest momentsand basically sob our eyes out,
Glee executives contemplate whether or not they should cancel the show. If it does continue, what will Cory’s death mean for Season 5, which he reportedly was supposed to be a fairly big part of?
On July 14, the coroner begins an autopsy, and Vancouver Police start their investigation into Cory’s death. Lea Michele’s rep calls this a “devastating time,” and asks that people respect Lea’s privacy. Fox and Glee release as statement saying “Cory was an exceptional talent and an even more exceptional person.”
On July 15, reports emerge that Cory had reportedly been "partying with his friends" at a "least one club" in Vancouver on the night of Friday, July 12. Hotel staff discovered his body the next day after Cory failed to check out of his room on time, and alcohol and substances were reportedly both present in his room.
A memorial for Cory springs up outside the Fairmont Pacific hotel, filled with flowers, cards, letters and stuffed animals. Darren Criss wears a black ribbonin honor of Cory at a screening for his film, Girl Most Likely.
The autopsy is complete, and a report is expected to be released in 2 or 3 days. Westboro Baptist Church says it will protest Cory’s funeral; spews hate. We can’t stop watching his best performances and bawling our eyes out.
Some wonder if Cory and Lea had been headed for a breakup, but reports say they were in love, planning to move in together as soon as he got back to L.A., and though they hadn’t talked about marriage yet, they seemed headed in that direction.
On July 16, reports emerge that Cory lived a sort of double life: totally sober in L.A., but would return to his partying past every time he went back to Vancouver and saw his old friends.
Glee writers are frantically re-writing the first two episodes of Season 5, since Finn was supposed to play a big part in them. His on-screen parents reactto the news of his death. We here at Wetpaint shared our thoughts and reactions.
Lea’s in Vancouver, grieving with Cory’s mother. She visits the hotel where Cory died, but doesn’t get out of the car, and quickly drives off when she spots a photographer nearby. Cory’s cousin asks fans not to judge the results of his autopsy, saying Cory was a “beautiful person” and a “hero.” A celebrity addiction specialist stresses that addiction is a disease, and that even if a person tries very hard to fight it, they might ultimately lose that batter.
British Columbia Coroners Office releases it’s initial autopsy report, revealing that Cory died of "a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.” Based on previous reports, many had suspected cocaine, so news that it was heroin that killed Cory came as a surprise. The news is revealed in a YouTube video put out by the Coroners Office. His death was an accidental overdose. It was not a suicide, and there was no foul play involved.
Cory’s body is cremated, at his mother’s request. She, Lea, and Cory’s brother hold a private viewing of the body beforehand. His father, with whom he’d previously been estranged, is not invited to the viewing. Lea helps Cory’s mother by taking care of the arrangements and planning.
On July 17, reports emerge that at Glee is definitely not getting cancelled after Cory’s death. Glee writers are meeting to decide how to write Cory’s character off the show (Finn’s away at college, so they could just never mention him again), or if they should have him pass away, too.
Reports surface that Lea “can’t stop blaming herself” for Cory’s passing, and though she should have been able to save him. She seems to have had no idea he’d relapsed. Other reports say fame was difficult for a laid-back guy like Cory to handle, and he never quite knew how to react to it. Cory’s former roommate issues a statement: "Cory was a wonderful person and a truly great friend."
Dianna Agron releases a statement. “My heart goes out to his family, to Lea [Michele], to everyone that is struggling with the loss of our friend. We will miss you Cory. We will always carry a piece of you with us.”
Cory was actively involved with three charities, and fans rush to donate as a way to honor him. A clip is released of McCanick, the first of Cory’s two final films, both unreleased. He plays a drug addict in the film.
On July 18, an emotional Jane Lynch talks about Cory during an interview with Jay Leno. Lea is back in Los Angeles, but she hasn’t appeared in public yet. She’s grieving by herself. The core Glee cast breaks their five-day Twitter silence, reacts to the news of Cory’s death. Some people begin to wonder if a month was too short a time for Cory to be in rehab.
On July 19, Cory’s father speaks about the loss. A friend calls Cory “clean-cut,” caring, and upbeat; not a typical addict in any way. Glee’s Season 5 premiere pushed back only a week, much shorter than most people were suspecting.
On July 20, Glee creator Ryan Murphy speaks out about the tragedy, saying that Lea is “one of the strongest people I know.” Some had speculated that Lea might quit Glee, instead of having to work every day and be reminded of the man she lost. However, Ryan confirms that she is sticking with the show. He says that the Glee cast and crew are like family to her. However, he adds that if Lea had wanted to leave the show, he would have allowed it to be cancelled.
He also reveals that the show has decided to have Finn Hudson pass away, instead of just writing him off the show. Later that day, Harry Shum Jr. tweets a photo collage of Cory. That evening, Chord Overstreet performs a concert in L.A. Many Glee stars attend, and Chord dedicates a song to Cory. Pretty much everybody cries.
On July 21, Cory’s cousin, Richard, reveals that Cory’s mother will likely have the Glee star’s ashes scattered in various places that were important to him. Reports emerge a so-called “friend” of Cory’s in Vancouver is the one who gave him the heroin that night, but no follow-up information about this individual has yet come to light.
On July 22, Jenna Ushkowitz issues a statement and says Cory will be “in my heart forever.” It’s announced that day that his second final movie, All the Wrong Reasons, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Former Glee star Damian McGinty calls Cory “one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met,” and former guest star Charice remembers a time when he was particularly kind on her birthday. In a touching tribute, Glee fans ban together to name a star after Cory, a reference to a beloved Finn and Rachel moment on the show.
The song list for Glee’s Cory Monteith tribute is being kept tightly under wraps, but we already have plenty of ideas for which songs we would like to see. And by the way, the majority of fans say they’ll keep watching Glee. They’re not going to give up on it without Cory.
Lea’s Marie Claire magazine is released, and the Glee star is quoted saying that Cory makes her life “so incredible.” Reports emerge that Cory had a big surprise planned for Lea’s birthday, August 29, but it’s unclear what that surprise was. Meanwhile, Lea is talking to Cory’s Vancouver friends, trying topiece together what happened in his final days.
On July 25, the show’s cast and crew hold a memorial for Cory on the Glee set. It’s a somber event, “beautiful,” but “really sad.” Chris Colfer (Kurt) breaks his silence, saying, “Love and miss you, buddy.” It’s announced that a special tribute for Cory is being planned to air during the 2013 Emmy Awards. Meanwhile, we take a look back over Finn’s best moments on Glee.
That same day, Cory’s dad says he’s “torn apart” that Cory’s mom left him out of the family viewing: “I have no closure.”
On July 28, Cory’s on-screen stepdad, Mike O'Malley (Burt Hummel) remembers what a “remarkable” actor Cory was, and what “depth of emotion” he was able to portray. The next day, a handful of Cory’s co-stars announce that they are creating an arts scholarship in his name. Kevin McHale (Artie) says he will miss Cory every single day.
It’s now been two week’s since Cory passesd, and Lea finally breaks her silence on Twitter. “Thank you all for helping me through this time with your enormous love & support. Cory will forever be in my heart,” she writes.
On July 30, the very first photos of Lea since Cory’s death emerge. The Glee star is seen sitting in the passenger seat of a friend’s car in Los Angeles, looking very somber. What’s more, she’s wearing her silver “Cory” necklace. Don’t mind us... our hearts just broke into a million pieces.
On July 31, Lea’s friend Sophia Bush speaks about Cory’s passing, saying he was “such a light” in Hollywood. Lea continues to spend her time surrounded by friends. Ryan Murphy takes to Twitter to share moving fan art of Finn Hudson, while Fox president Kevin Reilly praises “wonderful” Cory and “pillar of strength” Lea. He confirms that Glee has decided to make Season 5, Episode 3 a tribute to Cory, and adds that Glee has decided that Finn Hudson will not die of a drug overdose.
On August 1, Lea heads back to work on Glee. It’s only been 20 days since Cory died, but Lea seems committed to making sure that life goes on. Darren Criss is interviewed about Cory’s passing, and says that he thinks the Glee star would want everyone to try to start smiling again. That same day, Cory’s mother, Ann, breaks her silence on Twitter.
The next day, Matthew Morrison reveals that he called many of his co-stars the moment he heard that Cory had died, and that they all stayed up most of the night trying to process. Glee releases an emotional video clip to remember Cory.
On August 4, Lea steps out for her first public appearance since Cory’s death. She’s attending a baby shower for her friend Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Chris Colfer acknowledges that returning to work on Glee after Cory’s death is going to be very difficult. The next day, the majority of the cast has their first day back to work. Former Glee guest star Cheyenne Jackson remembers what a kind person Cory was, while another former guest star, Nolan Gerard Funk (Hunter), calls the whole thing “really upsetting.”
Fox boss Kevin Reilly has recently said that he does not expect that Glee will be renewed after Season 6 finishes in 2015. Chris Colfer says he agrees with that assessment. We hear initial reports that footage of Cory might appear in the October 10 tribute episode. However, Glee ultimately decides not to include it.
On August 6, Lea posts the very first photo of Rachel Berry in Glee Season 5. It’s also revealed that when Lea first heard news of Cory’s death and needed to escape from the public eye, she camped out at (of all places!) Kate Hudson’s house. Cory’s friend Kevin Zegers opens up about the tragedy, saying that it’s been a “a heavy and weird month,” and calling addiction a “a f—king horrible disease.”
As people wonder what happened on Cory’s last night, report emerge saying that though Cory partied on the night of his death, he was with “sober friends” that evening.
On August 9, we get a truly heartbreaking story. According to the National Enquirer (so take this with a grain of salt), Cory’s mysterious big surprise for Lea on her birthday was that he planned to propose to her. Tears. Sobbing. Don’t mind us.
Lea does indeed show up at the August 11 awards, despite the fact that life without Cory is incredibly painful for her. It’s her first public event since Cory’s passing. She wins Choice TV Actress: Comedy, and Glee wins Choice TV Show: Comedy. The Glee cast is all there, too. Lea comes out on stage to give an emotional tribute to Cory. They all tell her how proud they are of her. It’s heartbreaking to watch. We know, we’re using the work heartbreaking a lot. But what can we say? This entire saga just makes our hearts break. There’s no other way to put it.
On August 12, Cory’s belongings are removed from his Hollywood apartment. Soon after, Mark Salling holds an early 31st birthday party, and his co-star and close friend Cory’s presence is “definitely missed” at the event. Co-star Blake Jenner shares his fond memories of Cory. On August 13, we see the first photo of Cory in his movie, McCanick, and the movie trailer. Oh, and did we mention he’s wearing a wig of long hair? Later, we see a first clip of his other movie, All The Wrong Reasons.
Lea’s slowly finding things that make her smile again, plus Ryan Murphy casts two of her friends on the show. Meanwhile, Glee’s writers finish the script for the Cory Monteith tribute. Jane Lynch says that it’s “beautiful.” However, don’t expect to see Rachel in much of the episode. Her role is said to be small, but also very powerful. And you know what? We’re okay with that.
On August 23, we get our first look at Rachel in the episode... and she’s wearing a silver “Finn” necklace, just like the one that Lea has for Cory. It’s clear that she still misses him every day. On the 26th, we learn the title of Glee’s Cory tribute: “The Quarterback.” No doubt filming the episode is extremely emotional. In fact, Naya Rivera calls it the “worst week ever.” Everyone can’t stop marveling at how strong Lea is staying through all of this.
Glee re-designs the cover art for the Season 4 DVD set in order to include a photo of Cory.
On August 27, Amber Riley (Mercedes) performs a very emotional solo for the tribute. We’ll later learn that she’s singing, “I’ll Stand By You,” and that shebroke down and cried while filming it. But though Amber and many former Glee stars are coming back (including Finn’s mom and stepdad), both Heather Morris (Brittany) and Dianna Agron (Quinn) will be missing. Heather’s absence makes sense. At this point, she’s still heavily pregnant with her son, Elijah. Dianna, meanwhile, is off in New York City doing press for her new movie, The Family. She’ll later say that she was not asked to appear in the tribute. In fact, she’s not sure if she’ll be asked back for any of Season 5 at all.
On August 29, Lea turns 27 years old. Lea doesn’t feel much like celebrating, but she does decide to have a low-key night in with her girlfriends. Soon after, she decides to give back by joining with pal Jonathan Groff do contribute to a charity event. Over Labor Day weekend, she and J.Groff rush off to the mountains to get some much-needed time away, and to give Lea time to work through her grief.
More spoilers trickle out about the Cory tribute. Apparently, some of the New Directions won’t take the news of Finn’s passing well, and some of them willbe in denial about it. On September 5, Glee release the first official promo of Season 5. And thank goodness, Rachel is smiling in it. But just in case you’re wondering, she won’t be getting a new love interest anytime soon.
Harry Shum Jr. assures us that the Cory tribute is beautifully done. The tracklist for the episode is currently still being kept under wraps, but we hear that at least one song will be something Finn has sung on Glee before.
It’s now been about two months since Cory’s death, and Lea is again spotted out wearing her “Cory” necklace. At the Toronto International Film Festival,All The Wrong Reasons wins a $10,000 award. At the same festival, McCanick debuts to good reviews, and soon gets a U.S. theater premiere date.
On September 9, Lea is back in New York to film a song performance for Glee’s Season 5 premiere. She films at Bow Bridge in Central Park, the same place where Finn and Rachel rekindled their romance back in the Season 2 finale. Knowing that Cory is gone now, these photos are very difficult to look at.
On September 12, Naya posts an Instagram photo from her emotional “If I Die Young” performance. Director Brad Falchuk says the Cory tribute has been “brutal” to film. The Emmys officially announce a tribute for Cory, and a former movie co-star says that he wanted to expand his acting resume and move beyond just Finn. Some people criticize the Emmys for honoring Cory, who never won an Emmy, including the son of a recently-passed Emmy winner. Cory’s mom says she’s glad her son is getting a tribute, but it will be too emotional for her to watch. Jane Lynch reacts to the situation, too.
The song list for the Cory tribute is released, and we realize (once again) that we’re going to bawl our eyes out. We remember some of Cory and Lea’s cutest moments as a couple, and we know this time is incredibly hard for her.
On September 23, Jane gives the Cory tribute at the Emmys, and co-stars praise the her emotional tribute on Twitter. Carrie Underwood performs “Yesterday” at the Emmys, but we think that Rachel’s Glee version was better.
Back on Glee, Rachel Berry is still chasing down a Broadway career, though her most recent audition wasn’t exactly promising. At least she and Kurt are still super-close. Rachel’s singing a ton of songs. Her acting and musical performances are all as good as ever. Considering all the emotional turmoil she’s been going through, we don’t know how she does it.
Rumors fly that Glee might be cancelled after Season 5, instead of Season 6, if the show isn’t able to recover after Cory’s death. Cory’s tribute will air on October 10, and Glee will go on a month-long hiatus after that. We search down all the spoilers about the episode, and find a few photos that tease what to expect.
On September 26, Glee has it’s Season 5 premiere, which includes and emotional song performance by Lea. She tweets about how excited she is, and fans seem to love the episode. That same night, Ryan Murphy tweets the first photo from the Cory tribute: a simple black and white poster that reads “The hardest word to say is goodbye.” Friends tweet photos of Cory to remember him. Lea tweets inspirational quotes about staying strong during hard times.
On October 1, she’s spotted out with friends for a girls’ night. Episode 2 airs on October 3, and Rachel gets some huge news: She’s landed the starring role in Funny Girl! We see the promo for the Cory tribute, and our eyes instantly well up with tears. Lea’s singing “Make You Feel My Love,” in the episode, a song she chose because it had a personal meaning for she and Cory as a couple. Ryan Murphy says the show was extremely rough for Lea to film. Somehow, we get the feeling that that was the understatement of the century.
Lea won’t watch the Cory tribute. It’s just too emotional. On Glee, Rachel will struggle with Finn’s death for the rest of the season. On October 7, she’s spotted wearing a diamond ring on her engagement finger. If the rumors are true, and Cory really was going to propose, perhaps she’s wearing his ring as a way to remember him.
On October 9, Lea gives her first interview since Cory’s passing. “I woke up every single day feeling like I was in some sort of spell or something, that I was lucky enough to have him in my life,” she says. “There was no greater man than Cory, so for the time we spent together, I consider myself very lucky.”
Part 1: Before They Were Dating
Part 2: Romance Rumors Fly!
Part 3: They’re Finally Together!