Lea Michele has been living under a microscope the past four months. After her boyfriend Cory Monteith passed away suddenly this July, there’s been a lot of public interest in how Lea’s doing. The same goes for Glee fans and their interest in her alter-ego, Rachel. The show has now aired a couple of new episodes since Finn’s death was announced, and we’re starting to get a picture of how Rachel’s been handling her boyfriend’s passing.
As it turns out, Lea and Rachel are dealing with the death of their loved one in very similar ways.
1. Memorial Tattoos
2. Personalized Necklaces
3. Throwing Themselves Into Work
After Cory’s death, Lea took about three weeks off before returning to work on Glee. Though she could have taken longer, Glee creator Ryan Murphy says Lea wanted to get back to filming. She’s been going nonstop since: Her Glee role is full-time, and Lea’s been busy finishing her solo album and doing various photoshoots. As for her alter-ego, Glee’s Rachel just booked the starring role in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl, and the grueling rehearsal schedule has kept her extremely busy.
4. Surrounded By Their Loss
For Lea, having to go to work on the set of Glee everyday cannot be easy. It’s the place where she and Cory met; where they fell in love. Everywhere she goes, she must see constant reminders of him.
In Episode 4, Glee’s Rachel commented on just how difficult it had been to sing Funny Girl’s “My Man” all day. “Oh, my man, I love him so, he'll never know / All my life is just despair, but I don't care / When he takes me in his arms/ The world is bright, all right...” It’s a constant memory of the love she once had, but then suddenly lost.
5. Leaning on Friends, One BFF in Particular
In the months after Cory’s death, Lea has been leaning closely on her friends and family. In particular, her former Broadway co-star and longtime BFF Jonathan Groff (Jesse St. James) has provided a great deal of support. Jonathan reportedly rushed across the country to Lea’s side as soon as he heard the news of Cory’s passing, and the two have spent tons of time together in the months since.
Rachel, too, is leaning heavily on her GBF to help get through the pain of losing a loved one. She and Kurt were almost inseparable in Season 5, Episode 5: Talking, getting tattoos, and otherwise just being together, trying to process the loss of a man they both cared for so dearly.
6. Both Want Privacy
Though Rachel has opened up to Kurt, it’s clear that she doesn’t want to share her struggles with everyone. Even though Rachel got a tattoo to remember Finn, she didn’t tell anyone — and even lied to Kurt about it.
Similarly, Lea has stated that “this whole journey” is very “personal.” She says there are things that the public is just “not invited to know.” Lea says that she and Cory “had a full life,” and with that, there are many “different details that will be ours forever, for only us to know."